Toggle menu

Devon men prosecuted for animal welfare offences

Wiltshire Council has successfully prosecuted and fined two men for causing unnecessary suffering to livestock.

Published 25 September 2023

Wiltshire Council has successfully prosecuted and fined two men for causing unnecessary suffering to livestock.

At a hearing held at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Tuesday 19 September, Andrew Brock, 55 and William Cleave, 67, both of Beaworthy in Devon, pleaded guilty to animal welfare offences.

CCTV footage, recorded at the time of the offence in November 2022, showed Mr Brock arriving at F Drury & Sons Abattoir, Tockenham in north Wiltshire and unloading a large number of sheep. One of the ewes was unable to stand or walk and is seen crawling to the ramp. Mr Brock attempts to stand the sheep, which immediately collapsed.

After unloading the other sheep, Mr Brock is filmed acting aggressively towards the recumbent sheep, including lifting by the ears and fleece, dragging, shouting and grabbing. Finally, he was seen to move the animal by holding its injured rear leg and leaving her. The rear leg was later found to be broken during the postmortem whereby the Veterinary Investigation Officer stated "the lesions present would have caused considerable pain and suffering in the live animal." 

Overnight the sheep is filmed attempting to stand and falling, resulting in her rear leg sticking out from her body. It did not receive veterinary treatment and euthanasia until over six hours later, when the abattoir's vet was opening the facility.

Veterinary expert Sophia Hepple reported that Mr Brock had the chance to take action at the point of unloading to alleviate her suffering by killing her humanely or liaising with [abattoir] staff to ensure her humane euthanasia. This did not happen, so Mr Brock was responsible for that sheep's unnecessary suffering for more than six hours.

Mr Brock was charged with causing unnecessary suffering contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006, he was given a fine of £1,600, plus costs of £580 and a £640 victim surcharge.

The animals had been transported on behalf of Mr Cleave, who had arranged the journey and provided the transport using his brother's vehicle without his knowledge. Mr Cleave pleaded guilty to acting as a transporter without authorisation issued by a competent authority and was charged with unauthorised transportation and given a fine of £660 with £580 costs and £266 victim surcharge.

Cllr Nick Holder, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said; We work with the farming community to ensure that high standards of animal health and welfare are maintained, and the majority of our farmers and livestock owners go above and beyond for their animals.

However, when this isn't the case, our officers will take potential breaches of animal welfare legislation very seriously and won't hesitate to investigate when called upon.

I would like to thank the officers involved for their work in this distressing case. We're pleased with the court's decision and hope it will act as a deterrent to others that causing unnecessary suffering to animals will not be tolerated in Wiltshire.

Explore the topic

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email