These two newborn lambs struggling to wade through raw sewage and mud were filmed at a goat and sheep farm located in the north-eastern Spanish region of Catalonia.
The images were among those that greeted animal welfare officials who visited the farm, and proved so shocking that the two Spanish farmers who ran it, a father and son, have now been sentenced for animal abuse.
The court heard that the goat and sheep farm had hundreds of animals cramped together among rotting bodies and faeces on the property in the municipality of Llica d’Amunt in Catalonia.
Animal rights group AnimaNaturalis had raised the alarm after a tipoff from local residents that hundreds of animals were being kept locked up without food or water.
According to a statement on their website: “When a team from the organisation went to the farm, they found a bleak panorama of hundreds of sheep and goats living in deplorable conditions, surviving as best they could among corpses, mountains of mud and manure, and injured animals without any kind of veterinary attention.”
The animal rights organisation filed a complaint which was followed up with an inspection by the police and agricultural department, during which 40 dead sheep and goats were reportedly found in different degrees of decomposition, some buried under mountains of manure.
A judge ordered the confiscation of the herd of about 700 sheep and goats in 2018, after which police took the court order to the owner, who reportedly attacked the officers with his father and they were both arrested.
According to AnimaNaturalis, the defendants reached a deal with the public prosecutor’s office in which they accepted a 12-month prison sentence and ban of four years and eight months from exercising commercial activities related to animals during the trial on 25th January.
As there was no past criminal record or civil liability, the custodial sentence has been suspended, unless they commit another crime in the next three years.
The director of AnimaNaturalis in Spain, Aida Gascon, said: “This is the highest possible penalty under current law, and one of the highest sentences for mistreatment of farm animals in Spain.”
Gascon added: “In the livestock sector, there is a fundamental problem. In 2018, the authorities only carried out 522 animal welfare checks, which represent only 3 per cent of all Catalan farms.
“The authorities prohibit anyone from entering farms with a camera, therefore it is very difficult to document negligence and non-compliance with the law from animal protection groups.”