NI farmer banned from keeping animals for life after mistreating pigs

A Co. Antrim farmer was today banned from keeping animals and sentenced to 18 months in prison suspended for four years after he admitted two charges of failing to prevent unnecessary suffering to pigs.

Two sows on the farm had to be euthanised by a veterinary surgeon to prevent them suffering any further.

Michael Agnew (47), Ballynease Road, Portglenone, who had previously pleaded guilty was sentenced at Londonderry Crown Court today (October 23).

He was also disqualified from owning animals, keeping animals, participating in keeping animals or being party to an arrangement under which that person is entitled to control or influence the way in which animals are being kept, as well as from dealing in animals, transporting animals or arranging the transport of animals for life.

The case arose when very serious animal welfare issues were discovered during on-going monitoring of welfare standards on the defendant’s premises.

Agnew was convicted of two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a pig by an act or failure to act contrary to Section 4(1) of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.

A DAERA spokesman said: “The Department gives high priority to the welfare of animals and operates a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements. Any breaches are investigated thoroughly and offenders prosecuted as necessary.”