Gruesome pictures of animal neglect shock DARD inspectors
These photographs show the shocking scenes of animal neglect that greeted Department of Agriculture inspectors at a Co Tyrone farm.
Officials were appalled to find decaying carcasses and emaciated livestock on the Caledon farm when they were tipped off in February 2005.
Dead cattle and sheep were left decaying where they lay - conditions which prompted the USPCA to call for courts to reflect the public's revulsion at every case of animal cruelty.
Last month, father and son farmers Joseph and David Reid were fined at Dungannon Magistrates Court after being found guilty on nearly 50 breaches of animal welfare and farming laws.
The pair face further penalties next year for other breaches found during follow-up inspections of their farm at Tannaghlane Road, Caledon.
Stephen Philpott, chief executive of the USPCA, said that while animal welfare standards here are generally high, the breaches that are uncovered are often "shameful".
"The suffering of these animals is evident from the appalling photographs," he said.
" We in the USPCA are familiar with the territory - some of the most harrowing scenes our welfare officers uncover are hidden away from public view in outhouses and isolated farm buildings."
Mr Philpott said the majority of farmers "have respect for the welfare of their livestock" but "when things go wrong the suffering can be on a huge scale".
"In the past year we have encountered dead and emaciated cattle, maggot-infested sheep, cannibalised turkeys and seriously neglected equines," he said.
David Reid (40) was given a suspended jail sentence and fined £1,500 for offences including two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
His father was fined £625 for 24 offences. He was also convicted of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering.
Both men were convicted of failing to deal with carcasses properly and violating a number of farming regulations.
The scenes in the accompanying photographs were captured when Veterinary Service enforcement officers visited the farm after a tip-off.
Livestock at the Reids' farm continues to be monitored by Department of Agriculture staff, and during inspections further breaches were found.
"The Department of Agriculture regards the Welfare of Livestock to be a serious issue and has invested significant resources in communicating this message, and in implementing the legislation," a DARD spokesman said.
" The Department regards this as much more than a 'technical offence' and is determined to ensure maximum compliance by the farming community."