Teenager given suspended jail sentence after sickening footage revealed cruelty to cattle

A teenager from Somerset has been given a 12-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, after covert footage showed him kicking cows and calves at a dairy farm.

The RSPCA brought the case against Owen Daniel Patrick Nichol (dob 2/11/1998) after Animal Equality released video footage which showed him assaulting the livestock at Pyrlands Farm in Taunton in December last year. (2016)

Nichol, (18) of Buckland Road, Taunton appeared at Taunton Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday) where he was also banned from keeping and working with livestock for two years and given a 150 community order. He was also ordered to pay a total of £415 in costs and victim surcharge.

The footage showed the part time stockman kicking a cow, who had recently given birth, in the face and then kicking her newborn calf.

He was also seen throwing a newborn calf to the ground before stamping on it seven times and can be seen slamming a metal gate roughly into a cow.

Expert evidence from a vet confirmed that the animals will have suffered considerable pain and distress during the 25-minute long ordeal.

Nichol had previously appeared in court when he admitted two offences. He pleaded guilty to, on or around 8 December, causing unnecessary suffering to one or more cows by kicking and hitting said animals, contrary to Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

He also admitted, on or around 8 December, causing unnecessary suffering to one or more calves by throwing, and kicking and stamping said animals on to the floor, contrary to Section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

He had worked on the farm for a year as part of an apprenticeship scheme through college and blamed his cruelty towards the animals in his care on the fact he had split up with his girlfriend four months earlier and said his grandmother had been unwell.

RSPCA inspector John Pollock said: “We believe that all animal cruelty is unacceptable and are pleased that the film footage was brought to our attention by Animal Equality.

“It showed a prolonged attack on defenceless animals who should not have been subjected to such treatment. The cows and calves in the footage were in the care of Nichol who instead of helping them directed anger and violence towards them.”

Dr Toni Shephard, Animal Equality’s UK Director, said: “We thank the RSPCA for prosecuting this case so swiftly. Our only frustration is that UK law does not permit stronger sentences for animal abuse.”

The owner of the farm dismissed Nichol after the footage was released in December 2016.