A Co. Antrim farmer has been disqualified from keeping animals for five years after he was convicted of three charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

Henry Gerard Kelly, a farmer from Gortgole Road, Portglenone, Ballymena, Co. Antrim was convicted at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

The farmer also received a six-month prison sentence suspended for three years.

Kelly was also convicted of one charge of failing to dispose of a carcase and one charge of failing to comply with a notice.

Disqualification and deprivation orders were also issued by the court, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) says.

Kelly was convicted of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to two bovine animals under section 4(1) of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

He was also convicted of one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a sow contrary to the same Act.

This case came to the Department’s attention from a number of very serious animal welfare discrepancies found during an inspection of Kelly’s farm by Officers from Veterinary Service Enforcement Branch.

In 2003, a burial ban was introduced in all EU Member States to protect the health of humans and animals as well as to safeguard the environment.

DARD says that improper burial can cause pollution especially to groundwater due to gas and leachate production. This can increase the risk of transmission of disease to man, animals, birds, and insects, it says.