Farmer says pig kicking accusation is damaging

JPCT 06-02-13 S13063381X Steyning. Pig farmer, Jo Ledder, at Red Gate Farm -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 06-02-13 S13063381X Steyning. Pig farmer, Jo Ledder, at Red Gate Farm -photo by Steve Cobb
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A Bramber farmer who rears pigs to the ‘highest welfare standards’ says an animal abuse accusation is damaging to his farm’s reputation.

Sussex Police said officers were called to Red Gate Farm, located on the crest of Annington Hill, on Tuesday, May 7, after receiving a call from an informant who claimed to have witnessed a person kicking and swearing at pigs.

Farmer Joe Leddra, who works on the organic farm with his father Tom and younger brother Jack, said the accusations were damaging to their reputation as farmers.

“We have reared pigs for 30 years to the highest welfare standards and never mistreat our animals,” he added.

The informant told Sussex Police that they monitor farms for an animal rights group, the force said.

Animal Welfare Enforcement Agency (AWEA) chief inspector Jake Knight stated that its inspector who claimed to see the person was off duty at the time and hiking through the South Downs.

A spokesperson for Sussex Police said: “The informant says he monitors farms for an animal rights group. He alleges he saw kicking and swearing at pigs at a farm in Annington Road, Bramber.

“Officers attended Red Gate Farm at 10am on May 7 and spoke to the farmer who denied any cruelty. The officers found no evidence of animal abuse and the informant has been advised to contact the RSPCA.”

However, Mr Knight explained that the organisation only reports allegations of animal abuse to the police.

Red Gate Farm has been a source of past controversy with nearby residents complaining of the sight and smell. The Leddra family has co-operated with these complaints.