Poultry business owner given suspended sentence over chicken deaths

The owner of a poultry business in Essex has been given a suspended prison sentence and fined £12,500 following an investigation into the death of more than 6,000 chickens due to heat exhaustion. 

Paul Flatman, of Paul Flatman Farms, was also banned from the poultry business for five years.

He had pleaded guilty to six charges under the Animal Welfare Act at an earlier appearance at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court.

Flatman was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison for each charge, to run concurrently, which was suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and pay prosecution costs of £12,444 and an £80 surcharge.

The district judge granted a disqualification order under section 34 of the Animal Welfare Act, which prevents him from being involved in the poultry trade for five years.

Essex Trading Standards started the investigation after a high level of animal deaths was reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

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