1928 : Pigs starved to death

From the Norwood News of Friday 29th June 1928, via the British Newspaper Archive:

PIGS STARVED TO DEATH.
`APPALLING CRUELTY’ AT MITCHAM.
STOKER SENT TO PRISON.

” The evidence is quite clear. You have been guilty of most appalling cruelty. All the magistrates are agreed that they never heard a more revolting case. You will have to go to hard labour for six weeks.”

Sir Arthur Spurgeon, chairman of the Croydon County Bench, made these remarks on Wednesday to XXXX, of 249, Church-road, Mitcham, who was summoned on four informations for, being the owner of ten pigs, he permitted and caused unnecessary suffering to them by unreasonably omitting to supply them with food and water at Batsworth-road Allotment Grounds on May 12.

Mr. E. B. Knight, prosecuting, said defendant was employed at the Mitcham Gas Works as a stoker, at a salary of £4 13s. 6d. per week. About three years ago he built some pig sties on his allotment plot at Batsworth-road, and began keeping pigs. On May 12, the sties were inspected by Mr. Rabbetts, the Council’s Nuisance Inspector, who found ten pigs in an absolutely starving condition. In addition, there were the remains of three other pigs which had died, or been killed, and the remains had been eaten by the other pigs.

LEGS PARTLY EATEN.

In one sty there were a sow and two small pigs, and the carcase of a small pig with the back legs partly eaten away, and the skin and remains of another pig. There were six small pigs in the second sty, and the bones of another. In the third sty there was one sow. There should have been 14 pigs altogether. The carcases of three were there, but where the fourth was they did not know.

The great probability was that no food or water had been given to the pigs for about three weeks. They had been shockingly neglected. In the tub or tank there were potato peelings covered with scum not fit for pigs or anything else.

” CALLOUS INDIFFERENCE.”

” It is difficult to understand,” added Mr. Knight, “how anyone could let these pigs starve to death in this unaccountable way. The whole of the stock had to be destroyed. Inspector Scott saw defendant, who told him that, some soap had got into the wash and given the pigs scaldings, which had upset them. A more callous indifference to the suffering of animals could hardly be conceived. When Inspector Scott asked defendant when he had last brought food, the reply was, “I do not know. I have been saving the wash from the house to save expense.”

The particulars given by Mr. Knight as to the condition of the pigs were substantiated by Mr. C. E. Rabbetts, chief sanitary inspector for Mitcham U.D. Council.

Inspector Scott also corroborated.

” 3 WEEKS WITHOUT FOOD.”

Mr. Richard Herbert Evans, a veterinary surgeon, said the pigs had been without food or water for quite three weeks. It was possible for the pigs to have killed the weak ones and eaten their carcases. The entire stock were in too weak and emaciated a condition to have been fit for human consumption, and would never have recovered. The five months’ old pigs, which should have weighed about 85 lbs., were only 20 lbs.; and the seven months, which should have weighed about 120 lbs., were only 30 lbs. The animals must have endured intense suffering.

ACCUSED’S STATEMENT.

Defendant said he could only put it down to a long run of bad luck, and to the fact he had been feeling very unwell. He had sustained big losses with pigkeeping, and became so depressed and worried that he did not know what be was doing. He was vary sorry.

On hearing the sentence, defendant exclaimed, ” I hope you will save me from prison for the sake of my wife and children.”

Sir Arthur: You should have thought of that before.

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