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Farmer fined following discovery of more than 70 dead animals

A LLANGADOG farmer has admitted several offences relating to animal welfare and by-products following the discovery of more than 70 carcasses on his land.

Teifion Williams, who farms land at Bronallt, will pay over £3,700 in fines and costs, for the offences investigated by Carmarthenshire County Council’s animal welfare team in February and March of 2018.

His case was heard at Llanelli Magistrates court on Friday, April 26.

Magistrates were told that when officers first visited, as the result of a complaint, they counted 32 sheep carcasses in varying stages of decomposition, and fields littered with bones so old they had been bleached by the sun.

Although Williams said he had suffered a lot of sudden losses that year on one particular field, officers had no concerns about the welfare of sheep grazing the land.

They served him a notice requiring disposal of the carcasses within four days.

However, acting on a second complaint, officers visited another of his fields – next to a layby on the A40 – just a few days later.

Accompanied by an Animal and Plant Health Agency vet, they witnessed a further 39 carcasses – including lambs, an ewe who had appeared to die during lambing, carcasses lying in a stream, and a Black Welsh Mountain sheep who had died from exhaustion having got his horn trapped in a fence.

A post mortem on one of the sheep discovered high levels of Trichostrongyle-type eggs and a large number of lungworm.

On further inspection, officers and the vet observed more carcasses, including some that should have been removed on notice, loose bones and fleece that appeared to have been burned, and at least one bovine carcass seen in a slurry pit.

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The court heard how Williams had been distracted from the proper running of his farm due to the terminal illness and death of his mother in July of that year.

His defence pointed out his previously clean character, and subsequent clear inspections of his farm.

He also stated that the Black Welsh Mountain ram was not his animal, but accepted that he had responsibility for its welfare in any event.

His defence team argued against a community order, which would impact on his ability to run the farm, and magistrates agreed a financial penalty.

Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “I am grateful for the thorough work of our animal health team in investigating this upsetting case. We take the welfare of animals, and the safety of animal by-products, very seriously and there was no option but to take this case to court.”