Published: 17:18, 11 October 2018
| Updated: 09:06, 13 October 2018
Three animal activists have been fined for obstructing workers at a slaughterhouse.
Dartford’s Christine Lancaster, 44, Carly Bax, 29, and Elizabeth Teall, 22, were part of a group of about eight people who went to Forge Farm Meats Ltd, in Southborough, in January to try and record video footage of possible ill-treated animals.
The trio were charged with trespassing on the land and deterring workers from engaging in lawful activity after they surrounded a lorry which had arrived at the site to unload live animals for the abattoir.
Lancaster, of Austin Gardens, Bax, of Claremont Terrace, Sandwich, and Teall, of Larking Avenue, Broadstairs, had all denied the allegation in May, but were found guilty by District Judge Paul Goldspring on Friday.
The court heard the women spent about 20 minutes on the site.
The driver was prevented from unloading his cargo.
Teall was the only one of the three women to give evidence during the hearing and told DJ Goldspring she and others had decide to go to the farm in Power Mill Lane to highlight any neglect or suffering the animals may be going through.
She denied she was there to obstruct, disrupt on intimidate the workers, adding the group entered through an open gate behind the lorry.
The court also heard at the time trading standards officers were at the farm as they were carrying out an investigation into alleged mistreatment of animals after other activists had put up covert cameras in the slaughterhouse.
While in the dock, Teall said she’d spotted a sheep and pig which had abscesses on their faces and she had seen one animal collapse.
She also admitted she was asked to leave the site by staff but didn’t until the police arrived.
The court heard the visit to the farm had been organised via social media, but Teall denied she was part of any group.
The owner of the farm totalled his losses on the day to £358 and said as a result of the actions of the protestors he had lost his best customer.
Bax must pay £750 while Lancaster and Teall were ordered to pay £870.
Judge Goldspring placed a three-year restraining order on the women banning them from entering the farm or communicating with staff who work there.
The farm and two slaughterhouse operators have been charged with animal welfare offences after an investigation into alleged malpractice. The case has been adjourned until next year.