Mother and son sentenced following nightmare scenes at Ceredigion farm

A mother and son convicted with serious neglect of 84 cattle in Ceredigion, Wales have been fined and banned from keeping animals for 10 years.

58 cattle were found dead at the farm in Bangor Teifi.

The sentencing hearing was held on April 10 at Aberystwyth Magistrates Court to consider the guilty pleas submitted by Mrs. Margaret Cooper, (80) and Mr. Norman Richard Cooper, (55) of Gilfachwith Farm.

The prosecution follows an investigation by Ceredigion County Council animal health officers, who visited the farm in May, together with officials from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

Image source: Ceredigion County Council

Officers said they encountered scenes of “utter devastation” on the property with dead cattle decaying in the livestock sheds.

Some surviving cattle were found housed with the carcasses, and found to be suffering from neglect, several of which had to be put down during the investigation.

As a result, the decision was made to take the remaining live cattle into the possession of the council to prevent further suffering.

Ceredigion County Council’s corporate lead officer for policy and performance Alun Williams said: “The animal health officers involved with this case have never experienced such appalling conditions at any farm in their careers.

Most of the staff are from farming backgrounds, but they faced horrific circumstances in investigating and retrieving the live animals and the carcasses.

“This case does not reflect the usual high standards of animal husbandry that is the norm in the 2,500 farms in Ceredigion.

“Nevertheless, we remain vigilant, as this is, unfortunately, the second such case we have prosecuted in a matter of months.”

In sentencing, the chairman of the Magistrates said: “This was a horrendous case, as you know. We believe that your actions led to the sustained neglect of these animals, in that they were not provided with basic care needs, food, water, and bedding; dying tied to their stalls.

There is clear evidence they have suffered over a long period of time. Also, carcasses of those that had died were mixed in with those that were living – it was horrendous.

Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Cooper were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, and disqualified from keeping any animals for 10 years.

The only exception is that they are allowed to keep their four elderly dogs for the duration of the dogs’ lives.

Mr. Cooper was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work. They were also ordered to pay costs to the council of £2,500 each, with a victim surcharge of £115 each.