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Pig keeper handed suspended prison sentence

9th Feb 2018 / By Alistair Driver

A Suffolk pig keeper has received a suspended prison sentence after admitting to the mistreatment of his pigs at a farm in east Suffolk.

Christopher Maskery, 24, of The Populars, Spexhall, Haleswoth, pleaded guilty to four offences, including one of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, when he appeared at Ipswich Magistrates Court on Monday, February 5.

Mr Maskery, who kept 25 pigs, had been charged with breaches of the Animal Welfare Act and Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. He also received a prohibitive Activity Order, banning him from breeding pigs or taking in further animals for breeding purposes for the period of the suspended sentence. He was also asked to pay costs of £2555.

This prosecution followed a complaint to Suffolk Trading Standards in May 2017 about some pigs being extremely thin and living in poor conditions at Willow Farm, South Elmham.

Officers visited along with a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency and found there was no feed or water available to the majority of the pigs on the farm, with the water supply disconnected from the building in which the pigs were housed.

Barn doors had sharp edges and a number of the pens had a significant amount of plastic wrappings strewn around from old feed bags, which had the potential to be hazardous if eaten. A number of pigs had no clean, well-drained lying area, which they should have access to and no stored feed was found on the premises.

Two sows were found together in a stall with nowhere dry to lay, no water and no feed. The vet concluded they had not been sufficiently fed and were emaciated. Both were euthanised soon after due to their unnecessary suffering. Mr Maskery also stated he had never administered any medicines for the pigs, nor sought veterinary advice, despite their thin condition.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Unnecessary suffering of animals is totally unacceptable and action by Suffolk Trading Standards will be taken against animal keepers who do not provide the appropriate conditions and care to animals.

“If anyone has concerns about the welfare of farmed animals please contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06.”