Activists slammed after farmer's death

Activists slammed after farmer's death
22nd Feb 2012

Shock has turned to anger following the death of a farmer targeted by animal rights activists reports the farmers weekly.

Pig producer Stephen Brown, 52, was found dead on his farm at East Harling, Norfolk, on Wednesday (15 February).

His farm had been the target of an undercover investigation by activists from the campaign group Animal Equality.

According to the group it gathered more than 200 hours of video footage and 300 photographs of animals being abused on the farm last summer.

A Sunday Times exposé on Sunday (12 February) detailed the abuse and included a photo of a pig being attacked with an iron bar.

Mr Brown was found dead three days later.

Police said there did not appear to be any suspicious circumstances to the death and an inquest would be held in due course.

Local farmers paid tribute to Mr Brown, describing him as a decent and caring family man.

The tragedy has thrust Animal Equality's tactics into the spotlight, including questions over why it waited so long before reporting its findings.

RSPCA spokeswoman Catherine Peerless said: "The delay may have cost us the opportunity to mount a successful legal challenge.

"Much of the evidence of cruelty to pigs has been lost along with the animals that have now been culled or moved off the farm.

"It is frustrating for us. We would encourage anyone who has evidence of cruelty to contact us immediately."

The National Pig Association branded the video footage "completely unacceptable" and said animal cruelty had no place in farming.

But it too questioned why Animal Equality activists waited so long before coming forward with the footage

"Any kind of cruelty is completely unacceptable," said NPA general manager Zoe Davies.

"But what is disgusting is that this footage was taken between July and September last year and [Animal Equality] waited until now to release it."

Responding to the criticism, Animal Equality spokeswoman Laura Gould said: "It took us a while to put all the evidence together, to be able to get footage and investigator notes, to draft a legal letter and be able to launch it to the authorities."

Back to the main news page
Visit our partner website