Decomposing sheep and sick animals are found on farm

One of the sheep found on a farm near Rathfriland. INBLsheep3
One of the sheep found on a farm near Rathfriland. INBLsheep3

A local farmer has been disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years after being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Hopkins William Heslip (Junior), of Brae Road, Ardarragh, near Rathfriland, pleaded guilty to a series of charges at Newry Magistrates’ Court to .

The charges included two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep, one charge of failing to dispose of a carcase, one charge of failing to comply with a notice and one charge of failing to keep medicine records.

A Deprivation Order, depriving him of ownership of all his animals, was also issued. In addition he was fined £1,250 plus £15 offenders levy.

This case arose from a series of welfare inspections carried out by DARD Veterinary Staff.

They encountered a number of problems.

These included a high incidence of lameness in fattening lambs, clinical signs of painful and distressing illness in a number of sheep and sick and dying lambs.

All of these conditions would have caused unnecessary suffering in the sheep.

There were a large number of carcases in various stages of decomposition found in different areas of the farm.

It would be regarded as good practice to remove without delay an animal carcase from a farm to prevent spread of disease and protect public health and avoid detrimental effects to the environment.

A spokesman for DARD Veterinary Services said: “We give high priority to the welfare of animals and operate a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.

Any breaches are investigated thoroughly and offenders prosecuted as necessary.”

The Deprivation Order deprives Mr Heslip of ownership of all the animals.

He must comply within 14 days of the notice being issued. If he fails to dispose of the animals DARD will seize the livestock.