A court in Tønsberg sentenced a farmer from Stokke, Vestfold County, to a year in prison on Friday for starving more than 400 of his pigs to death. Another 60 starving pigs also had to be destroyed when authorities arrived on the property.
The court ruled that the prosecutor’s request for seven months in jail was too mild, claiming that the animal neglect was so severe that a stronger legal reaction was in order. The farmer was also barred from caring for animals for the next 20 years and was ordered to pay NOK 8,000 in court costs.
The farmer’s defense attorney had argued that her client suffered psychological problems in 2012 and should either be acquitted or only mildly punished. He had stopped feeding and watering his animals, and then stopped going into his barn at all.
The farmer testified in court that he understood what he’d done but had been “paralyzed” and eventually was afraid to see the dead animals he knew were in his barn. The judge, however, said it was “inconceivable” that the defendant knew what was happening to his animals and did nothing to prevent the tragedy. The neglect of the animals led to the suffering over time of “many hundred animals,” and was of a scope “fortunately seldom seen in Norway,” the court wrote in its ruling.
The farmer has a month to decide whether to appeal his sentence.