Warning graphic images: Bedfordshire man disqualified from keeping farm animals

editorial image

A Bedfordshire man has been disqualified from keeping farm animals for life after around 100 cows were found in his barns and fields - many of them emaciated, dying or dead.

The RSPCA was called in January with concern about the cows - all British Whites - kept at Green End Farm, Green Lane, Swineshead, Bedfordshire.

The charity arrived, with a specialist vet, and found five of the cows dead, and another nine in such a bad state of health that the vet said they had to be put to sleep to prevent further suffering.

A further 85 cows were taken into RSPCA care.

​Andrew Leishman, 69, of the above address, appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a number of the cattle, by failing to provide adequate nutrition, and to not providing for their need for a suitable environment.

Leishman was given a life disqualification on keeping all farm animals, including equines, was ordered to pay £94,375 costs to the RSPCA and 240 hours of community service.

RSPCA chief inspector Mark Thompson, said: “I will never forget the sight of so many cows lying there dead, or dying, or so ill that they would have gone that way had we not been called to the rescue when we were. It was truly shocking.

“There were many animals lying there so still I thought that I thought they were dead at first. These were effectively starved to death.

“They just had not been given the food they needed to be healthy and survive.

“They had also been kept in filthy, completely unsuitable conditions - with deep litter all around them and in some cases up to their bellies.

“One poor bull in particular was surrounded by so much filth he couldn’t move.

“What made this case worse for me is that this defendant was very knowledgeable about this breed of cows - and knew what they needed, and yet failed miserably to provide it.”

Very sadly, around 20 of the cows taken into RSPCA care were so unwell that they did not survive, despite being under constant veterinary care.

The remaining 66 have now been signed over to our care and will be rehomed.