Published: 15:51, 14 February 2019
| Updated: 18:58, 14 February 2019
Shocking images have been released by an animal rights group which claims a village farm is continuing to mistreat sheep and calves - despite the RSPCA raising concerns about the site last year.
Members of Kent Animal Defenders photographed dead lambs at Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm in Bethersden outside Ashford.
RSPCA chiefs have described the pictures as "deeply distressing" and say they had raised the concerns with Trading Standards and Defra last year.
WARNING: Graphic images
A member of Kent Animal Defenders - which raised the original complaint last year - said: "We found a dead, rotting calf.
"We also found dead sheep and lambs in different states of decomposition.
"Live sheep were stuck in thick mud.
"They were very emaciated, dehydrated and exhausted.
"They had their nose in the mud and their breathing was rattled.
"They had clearly inhaled the muddy water, and they died shortly after we freed them.
"I'm sure there are more stuck in mud and from what we have seen, there are too many lambs in comparison to ewes.
"Most of the sheep have between three to five lambs trying to feed from them.
"This is in the field with dumped and rotting lamb carcasses. There's also many sheep that are lame, malnourished and in a terrible condition."
When asked who they felt was to blame for the alleged negligence, Kent Animal Defenders said: "Ultimately the farmer.
"But if Trading Standards and Defra had acted correctly last year, this could have been prevented.
"This is a clear abuse/neglect case and they have done nothing.
"This farm should be shut down and the farmer should no longer be able to keep animals after the suffering inflicted."
In a statement, the RSPCA said the images are "deeply distressing".
It said: "These images are deeply distressing. Concerns were raised at this site last year and we passed these on to Trading Standards and Defra.
"We are aware of the current concerns and we'd like to reassure supporters that we are taking this seriously, but we cannot go into further details for legal reasons.
“We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.”
Defra and the owner of Little Oakhurst Brissenden Farm have been approached for comment.
Kent County Council said: "Trading Standards do not wish to comment, other than to say that there is an ongoing investigation into the situation at the farm, and that any new information will be considered as part of that investigation.
"This started after a visit to the farm last March and TS officers visited the farm again today."
More by this authorCharlie Harman