Farmworkers’ crimes ‘among worst cruelty’

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A FARMWORKER has been jailed and another given a suspended prison sentence for causing unnecessary suffering to pigs while working on a farm in East Harling.

On Friday, Geoffrey Towell, 54, of Eccles Road, East Harling, was jailed for 18 weeks and banned from working with animals for 10 years.

He had pleaded guilty to five counts of causing unnecessary suffering to pigs, including using unnecessary force to handle piglets and unlawfully killing three by hitting them on the head with a metal bar, and one charge of failing to protect pigs from pain or suffering.

James Dove, 27, of Arundel Road, Wymondham, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for one year, and was banned from working with animals for five years.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to pigs, including kicking and beating them with a plastic pipe and throwing them over a barrier, and two charges of failing to protect pigs from suffering.

He was ordered to complete 180 hours’ unpaid work and pay costs of £300.

The incidents were filmed by an undercover Animal Equality activist between July 21 and September 30 last year.

The men, who were employed at Harling Farm, appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Friday, where animal welfare protestors were demonstrating outside.

District Judge Peter Veits said: “These are among the worst cases of animal cruelty I’ve seen.”

In mitigation, Jamieson Plummer said Towell was looking after 300 pigs on his own and when he asked for help was given the activist, who had a different agenda.

Ian Fisher,for Dove, said the likelihood of his client re-offending was ‘microscopic’ and added that public shaming brought with it its own form of punishment.

A spokesman for Animal Equality said: “We are pleased that the people responsible for the harrowing scenes we documented have been brought before the courts and sentenced for the suffering they inflicted on pigs.”