Two people prosecuted for unnecessary suffering of livestock

435 days ago

A mother and son have been prosecuted for the unnecessary suffering of livestock on their farm.

Eirlys Thomas and Dewi Aeron Thomas of Cildywyll, Llanddowror, who have been farming for 38 years, were sentenced at Llanelli Magistrates Court, on February 24. The defendants respectively received a 20 week custodial sentence, suspended for 24 months, concurrent on each charge and will have to complete 200 hours of unpaid work, 25 days of Rehabilitation Activity Requirements and repay costs of £2700.  

Warning – the following information contains details of animal suffering and may be upsetting to the reader.

Following welfare concerns, an unannounced visit was carried out at Cildywyll in February 2022 by Carmarthenshire County Council’s Animal Health Officer and a Veterinary from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. 

As the officers approached the farm from the drive, they came across a very thin, brown cow that was lying down in a field by herself. The cow had just calved. At first, it was thought that the cow and calf were both dead; however whilst the cow was alive her calf was dead. The cow had not been properly observed or monitored during the birthing process, resulting in the loss of the calf. 

In a shed on the farm, officers found another cow lying in muck laying on her right-hand side with her legs tucked up. It was first thought the cow was dead until she was seen to be breathing. The cow was in poor body condition, with no evidence of food or water in front of her and no dry area to lie down. Behind the cow, and against a wall, lay her calf which had died. The cow had been lying in that state, untreated since she had calved 5 days prior. After advice from the farm's vet, the cow had to be euthanised. 

Within the calf pens, was a downer calf that could not get up. After assessing the calf, it was advised to euthanise the calf due to severe pneumonia. Several other calves also needed to be treated for pneumonia but had not received any veterinary treatment. 

In the sheep shed, officers found several untreated lame sheep. Two downer ewes were assessed by a vet and it was advised that both ewes were euthanised.

The cows, calves and sheep had no access to fresh drinking water and drank immediately when the officers gave them water.

There were 19 cattle carcasses and 3 sheep carcasses laying around the farm in various stages of decay where wildlife and farm animals, including pigs, had access to the carcasses. 

Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, Cllr. Aled Vaughan Owen said: “The details of this case are appalling and distressing to read. I must thank our Animal Health Officers for their work on this difficult case and for bringing the perpetrators to justice. We, as a council, will do everything within our power to bring people that mistreat animals to justice.

“It is important to stress that our Animal Health Officers are also here to support farmers and can offer support to those that are experiencing difficulties in caring for their livestock. If you are struggling, then please get in touch with our team on 01554 742249 or e-mail cccanimalhealth@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

Eirlys Thomas and Dewi Aeron Thomas both pleaded guilty to 4 counts of section 4 and 3 counts of section 9 offences of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, by causing unnecessary suffering. 

Eirlys Thomas and Dewi Aeron Thomas also failed to dispose of Category 1 material without undue delay and did not ensure that no animal or bird have access to the carcasses.

Eirlys Thomas and Dewi Aeron Thomas failed to report death within 7 days and therefore failed to comply with The Cattle Identification (Wales) Regulations 2007.