Judge bans Antrim farmer Murphy over 'worst case of animal cruelty'
A judge has described conditions on a Co Antrim farm as "looking like a battlefield, with dead animals lying all over the place" as he sentenced a man for animal welfare and food hygiene offences.
Judge Des Perry described the horrific conditions on 29-year-old Ryan Murphy's farm at Glarryford as "the worst case of animal mistreatment I have ever seen".
And he handed the Tullyreagh Road farmer a sentence of three months imprisonment, suspended for two years, as well as a five-year ban on keeping animals.
The prosecution arose after Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) officials had made a number of visits to the farm and found a catalogue of horrors - including 15 animal carcasses lying among living cattle.
The young farmer had been looking after the spread for his uncle, who had become seriously ill - but it was evident that Murphy was out of his depth, the court heard.
Among the offences discovered were:
- Causing unnecessary suffering.
- Failure to provide appropriate feeding arrangements.
- Failure to dispose of animal carcasses.
- Failure to comply with a food hygiene notice.
- Failure to ensure that milk was protected against contamination.
According to the Ballymena Times, a DARD vet told the court Murphy had failed to carry out even the most basic requirements.
"There was no reaction at all when we were serving notices, or explaining things," the animal welfare professional said. "There was just no knowledge of the seriousness of any illness."
Passing sentence at Ballymena Magistrates Court, Judge Perry told Murphy: "You are not going to be back farming, ever."