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HomeFarming NewsFarmer (72) with previous disqualification caused unnecessary suffering to sheep
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmer (72) with previous disqualification caused unnecessary suffering to sheep

A 72-year-old farmer has been found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Keith Barber, Joys Green, Lydbrook appeared at Cirencester Magistrates’ Court on Monday, June 7th, 2021.

He pleaded guilty to five charges, brought by Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards service, relating to his sheep’s welfare and a failure to dispose of carcasses appropriately.

Sentencing was adjourned to August 201 while a pre-sentence report is made.

Barber will also be sentenced for similar offences brought by Forest of Dean District Council and Herefordshire Council on the same day.

Previous disqualification

Barber had previously been disqualified from keeping pigs and cattle. He was convicted of eight animal welfare offences at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on January 28th, 2019, when he was handed an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

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On December 19th, 2019, trading standards officers visited the farm to investigate allegations that Barber was caring for cattle in breach of his disqualification.

He subsequently admitted breaching this disqualification and, in March 2020, was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

Unnecessary suffering to sheep 

At the same time, the court heard that officers discovered in a shed at the farm “an extremely thin dead sheep on a filthy bed of wet muck”.

Also, they found two other live sheep showing signs of sheep scab, which causes itching and soreness and is painful for affected animals.

Besides, officers found a dead turkey and a dead chicken in other pens on the farm.

The court heard that Barber failed to treat any sheep displaying signs of scab but despite being advised to call his vet to inspect and treat the sheep.

A post-mortem revealed that the animal had been kept in filthy, squalid conditions for some considerable time before its death and had sheep scab.

Sophia Hepple, an Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) vet, said Barber had failed to provide correct nourishment and prompt treatment. His lack of action led to post-mortem findings consistent with starvation.

Barber also pleaded guilty to failing to dispose of the carcasses of two other sheep. Vets from the APHA found these on his land on November 15th, 2019. Furthermore, they discovered sheep and poultry carcasses on the farm on December 19th, 2019.

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