Harling Farm workers plead guilty to abuse

Two men have been told they could face jail after admitting to throwing and beating pigs at a Norfolk pig farm.

Geoffrey Towell and James Dove, both former workers at Harling Farm, pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Norwich Magistrates’ Court in Norfolk last week, six months after Animal Equality released footage of alleged animal welfare abuse at the farm.

Towell pleaded guilty to five counts of cruelty to pigs and piglets, including hitting five sows with a plastic pipe – one 35 times, unlawfully killing three pigs by hitting them on the head with a metal bar, and using unnecessary force to handle piglets. He also admitted one count of failing to protect pigs from pain and suffering, by lifting pigs by the ears and dropping them from waist height.

Dove pleaded guilty to two charges of cruelty for hitting sows with a plastic pipe and throwing pigs over a barrier. He also pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to protect pigs from suffering by lifting them with excessive force, lifting pigs by the ear and leg, dropping them to the ground and kicking them while moving them.

A third man accepted a formal caution. The judge adjourned the case for sentancing until 17 August, so that probation reports can be prepared.

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