Clayhidon farmer Philip Govier vows to keep dogs - despite being banned from keeping animals by a judge in neglect case

The scales of justice.

The scales of justice.

First published in News by

A FARMER banned from keeping animals after he let dead carcasses rot on his land believes he was “singled out” by the authorities.

Philip Govier, of Willtown Farm, Clayhidon, has been given less than a month to get rid of his remaining livestock after vets and welfare officials repeatedly found animals living in disgusting conditions.

Sheep, horses and cattle were kept in muddy fields or barns, and 17 dead livestock were left to rot or be eaten by other animals, Exeter Crown Court Heard.

Govier, 69, was banned from keeping animals by a judge, but remained defiant in an interview with the County Gazette this week.

He said: “I’ve got all the pick-up tickets for the 17 carcasses and none of them were left for more than a week.

“The two cattle weren’t covered up, but when I asked my collector who picks up thousands of these he said they’re supposed to be in a locked shed, but nobody does it.

“I’ve been singled out by them [the authorities]. I don’t mind, but other people are doing the same and I’m being singled out for it. They’ve made an example of me.”

Govier had promised to reduce the number of animals on his 114 acres on the Blackdown Hills, but the court heard he did not do so.

The farmer claims he was not given enough time or help, and in court his lawyer said he had suffered a severe injury when he was gored by a bull in 2009.

Govier, who is considering an appeal, also vowed to keep his three dogs despite the ruling by Judge Francis Gilbert last Friday.

He said: “They’re staying here and not going anywhere. The judge can put me in jail if he wants.

“Those are my personal pets and friends. I’m single here on my own and they’ve been here all these years.”

Govier’s 78 horses will now be re-homed by animal charities, and he will try to sell his ten remaining cattle and 165 sheep.

He said he also hoped to keep a few horses as a hobby.

As reported in January, Govier admitted seven off-ences of failing to dispose of carcasses, nine animal welfare offences and three record-keeping offences.

Judge Gilbert said: “The reality is you can’t make a living out of farming and you no longer have the ability to provide adequate care for your animals. There’s no prospect of that position improving.

“You’re unable to farm wit-hout causing suffering to your animals.

“My primary concern in this case is the welfare of the animals. Since the last hearing there have been further breaches.

“It’s a sad and difficult thing to say to a farmer of many years, but it’s the truth. You’re incapable of being left in control of animals.”

In addition to the disqualification, Govier was given a 12-month suspended sentence, fined £20 and ordered to pay the £9,645.40 costs of the Devon Trading Standards prosecution.

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