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York farmer jailed.

York farmer jailed.

11:51am 18th October 2010

Farmer jailed for animal welfare offences


A farmer from Thorpe Underwood, near York, has been jailed for six months for breaches of animal health and welfare legislation following a successful investigation by North Yorkshire County Council‘s trading standards service.


As well as jailing Michael Hawkswell, magistrates in Harrogate also banned him from keeping any animal for ten years.


The investigation began in January this year following joint working between Trading Standards, North Yorkshire Police and Animal Health (Executive Agency).


Officers visited premises at Thorpe Underwood and found livestock being kept by Mr. Hawkswell in squalid and dangerous conditions. The animals were being kept in an environment that was unsuitable to meet their needs as required by rules on animal welfare standards. They were also not provided with sufficient feed and water to meet their daily needs.


Officers also found open bags on the premises containing pig body parts to which other livestock and poultry could gain access. This breached regulations concerning the correct disposal of livestock carcases and posed a potential risk of spreading disease.


Mr Hawkswell was already serving a disqualification ban for keeping any animal for previous convictions for cruelty to farm animals.


In court, he pleaded guilty to eight charges.   Of those eight, four were for breaching the existing ban on four separate occasions which included trying to sell poultry at a livestock market whilst being banned.


County Councillor Clare Wood, Executive member for Trading Standards & Planning Services, said: “We will continue to take action against those individuals who flout animal health and welfare rules which are in place to protect livestock to ensure they are kept in the highest of welfare standards and to also to reduce the risk of any disease outbreaks.


“The majority of North Yorkshire farmers operate to very high standards and it is our duty to ensure those standards are met by all, and that individuals are not allowed to tarnish the reputation of the county’s farming community“.  

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