Pig farmers fined £29k over welfare offences

Pigs at the farm
The pigs were kept in poor conditions, the court heard [Supplied]

A couple from Wiltshire who produced bacon sold at high-end farm shops have been fined after being found guilty of animal welfare offences.

Roger Keen Farms Ltd was accused of keeping pigs in squalid, cramped and inhumane conditions, and initially pleaded not guilty.

After being found guilty on 11 charges under the Animal Welfare Act and Animal By-Product regulations, Roger and Rosemary Keen of Sandridge Farm have been ordered to pay £29,162.

The judge said the punishment was fair and appropriate.

The court heard the offences came to light when pigs from the Keen's farm were taken to slaughter at an abattoir, and workers saw the poor condition of the animals.

Syan Ventom for the prosecution told the hearing the allegations included "a piglet found dead in a trough", "cannibalism" and "pigs having their tails and rear end chewed".

He added: "On at least 10 occasions animals had to be euthanised there and then."

He also alleged staff had not been properly trained.

Defending the couple, Stuart Matthews, was highly critical of the allegations. He said: "To make clear on behalf of Roger Keen Farms, they strongly dispute that any pig was drowned."

He went on to say: "Tail-biting is very common on pig farms."

Lucy Tapper, also defending, said Mr Keen, who is 82, had sustained a brain injury and his poor health, including the combined effect of Brexit and Covid, made it difficult for him to recruit more workers.

Follow BBC Wiltshire on Facebook, X and Instagram. Send your story ideas to us on email or via WhatsApp on 0800 313 4630.

More on this story