Wrexham farmers fed cows old mince pies and cupcakes

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Cow genericImage source, Getty Images

Two farmers who fed their cows out of date mince pies and cupcakes have been handed suspended prison sentences for a range of animal welfare offences.

Officials visited Yr Ackery Farm, near Wrexham, following complaints about a dog seen to be eating a dead calf.

Brothers Ian and Wilfred Francis had run the farm since their father's death a couple of years earlier.

They pleaded guilty at Mold Crown Court to a dozen offences and were given 16-week sentences suspended for 12 months.

No water

The court was told Ian Francis, 36, and his 39-year-old brother begun to struggle financially transferring from dairy to beef production.

The first visit by a vet and council trading standards officers was on 5 February following the complaint about the dog.

However, they found four calves in a hutch with poor bedding and no water or food available.

A cow with a broken hip was also found emaciated and suffering, while cattle were being kept in overcrowded conditions.

They were being fed waste food, including mince pies with a use-by date of 2015, ice cream, cupcakes and batter mix, which was not sufficient for their nutritional needs.

'Strain clear'

A month later, inspectors found the condition of some of the animals had improved, but the food quality was still poor.

Other offences included not reporting the death of a cow for 53 days when the time limit is seven.

District Judge Gwyn Jones told the pair "the strain has become quite clear" but it did not excuse the significant failure to comply with regulations.

He said it was also clear "some animals had died and there had been a high level of suffering for other animals".

The pair were not disqualified from keeping animals and each had to pay £3,000 costs to Wrexham council.