The owners of a Leicestershire pig farm have been fined £4,500 after pleading guilty to breaching the Animal Welfare Act.
Siblings Alan and Rachel Elvidge, appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning, charged with a minor breach of the Animal Welfare Act.
This guilty plea is one of 66 charges following inspections at their father’s farm near Lutterworth in Leicestershire in September 2020, all but one of which were dropped after he died.
The court heard that their father, a pig farmer for 50 years, had been the only operative at the farm during the time of the investigation.
The farm failed to provide suitable flooring, suitable enrichment for the pigs and there was a broken panel on one pig pen.
The Gilmorton pig farm were charged over the care of their pigsCredit: ITV News
How did the pig farm investigation unfold?
In 2020, Flat House Farm, which no longer keeps pigs, was the subject of an undercover investigation by animal rights group Viva! Campaigns.
The animal welfare group released footage it claimed shows “barbaric conditions” at the farm.
Over a four month period, the campaigners placed hidden cameras in sheds at the farm.
They subsequently submitted the footage to the RSPCA, Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards, and Red Tractor.
The farm, which is based in Gilmorton, was then placed under investigation by Trading Standards, with Red Tractor also removing Elvidge Farms Ltd from its scheme and launched its own investigation.
This footage, released by the welfare group, played no part in the court proceedings, which representatives of the charity say is “the perfect example that the law just doesn’t exist to protect farm animals”.
Another representative added: “I was horrified and I’ve been working with animals for a long, long time and you do get used to it.
“The horrors at that pig farm stayed with me for a long, long time.”
Sentencing District Judge Nicholas Watson told the court the case had started with a large number of wide ranging charges against the company, Elvidge Farms Ltd.
- Pigs being kept in unsuitable conditions
- Too high a density of animals in areas
- Dark and dirty conditions as well as insufficient water and stimulus
He said the charges suggested the problems had been long standing but that these had been discontinued at Crown Court because the prosecution had either failed to provide enough evidence or it was no longer in the public interest.
The court heard that Elvidge Farms Ltd had once enjoyed an annual turnover of £1 million, but now no longer trade as a pig farm business as they have no money.
The siblings left court today by a back entrance to avoid reporters, Alan and Rachel Elvidge have been told they have just three months to pay the fine.
Siblings Alan and Rachel Elvidge, appeared at Leicester Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday morning Credit: ITV News