Cornish farmer banned for life after animals were found ‘drowning in muck’

A Cornwall farmer responsible for one of the worst cases of animal neglect seen by a judge has been banned from keeping animals for life and handed a suspended prison sentence.

Rodney Pascoe, 65, of Under Lane, Delabole, appeared at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court to answer 10 charges of causing unnecessary suffering and failing in his duty of care to his animals.

Pascoe pleaded guilty to all charges, which were bought before the court following an investigation led by Cornwall Council, alongside the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), and Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Passing sentence, District Judge Diana Baker told Pascoe that this was the “worst case” she had seen in years.

The court had heard how cattle were found “drowning in muck”, so emaciated they could not stand up, and in many cases close to death.

Pascoe was banned for life from keeping or owning farmed animals to include horses and poultry and was handed a 16-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was also told to either sell, or remove from his land, his remaining cattle within 28 days, and ordered to pay costs of £4,952 to Cornwall Council within the same period. He was also handed an additional victim surcharge of £115.

‘No option but to prosecute’

Jane Tomlinson, Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards manager said: “It is regrettable that prosecution action had to be taken in this case against a farmer based in Cornwall.

“However despite attempts by the relevant agencies to advise him, he failed to provide the most basic needs for his animals.

Consequently, there was no credible option but to prosecute. I want to stress, however, that this situation is not typical of the high standards of farm animal welfare upheld by farmers in Cornwall.

Sue James, Cornwall Council Cabinet Member for the Environment and Public Protection said: “Cornwall Council officers work to assist farmers, smallholders and businesses across Cornwall in complying with the relevant legislation.

“However, where we find repeated non-compliances and a complete disregard for farm animal welfare, we will take formal action to protect animals and the reputation of the Cornish farming industry.”