West Wales farmer, Lewis Jones, of Ynys Hir Farm, Machynlleth, has been found guilty of two charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep in his care, following an investigation by officers from Ceredigion County Council.
The trial at Aberystwyth Justice Centre was told that a council animal health officer visited land at Tanycastell, Rhydyfelin, Aberystwyth, on December 24, 2015, following receipt of a complaint from a member of the public.
The officer found that the flock was suffering from sheep scab, with one sheep suffering so badly that when later examined by an expert who provided evidence at the trial, it was described as being “the worst case of sheep scab he had ever seen”.
The animal had lost most of its fleece and had little protection to the weather conditions during some of the coldest and wettest times of the year.
During the inspection, the officer also found a ram lamb on its own and separated from the flock, walking around in circles in the field.
On inspection it was found that the lamb’s horns had been allowed to grow into and against the eyes of the animal, meaning it was blinded and causing suffering.
The court was satisfied that the horns had been causing the animal suffering and expert testimony confirmed it would have been occurring for a period of weeks.
In passing sentence, District Judge John Parsons told Lewis Jones: “The inspections of your flock have simply been inadequate. We know that the council inspector was easily able to find and identify the suffering of the ewe and able to identify the ram as suffering from its behaviour.”
Lewis Jones, who is 76 and has been farming all his life, was fined £200 per offence and ordered to pay £2,564 of prosecution costs along with a £30 victim surcharge.
Commenting on the case, head of lifestyle services at Ceredigion County Council, Huw Williams, said: “Our animal health officers work with the local farmers and the agricultural community in general to ensure that good animal welfare standards are maintained.
“The vast majority of farmers work hard to ensure that the highest possible welfare standards for their livestock.
“Unfortunately, there are instances where the husbandry and welfare standards fall far short of what is acceptable and this leaves the authority with little option other than to institute formal proceedings.”