A FARMER has been locked up after leaving 170 cows in a “vision of hell”.

Edmund Draper Kane, who lives at North End Farm in Ringwood, left his cattle in ‘squalid and filthy’ conditions in March this year leaving three dead, a court heard.

Southampton Magistrates' Court was told how Kane left his cattle in a state of filth for months, lying in their own faeces, unable to stand and without water and bedding.

The 44-year-old, who has been farming for 20 years, pleaded guilty to 13 charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, not meeting the suitable environments for an animal and failing to comply with bovine responsibilities.

He was put behind bars for 12 weeks and made to pay more than £5,000 in court costs, as well as being disqualified from farming, keeping or transporting animals for three years.

Presiding, District Judge Peter Greenfield told Kane how his actions had caused the cattle ‘enormous suffering’ in a ‘vision of hell’.

Prosecuting on behalf of Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards, John Pullen told the court how over several visits to the Ringwood farm in March, inspectors found the cows without water and bedding and lacking enough energy to stand up.

He said: “After a complaint on March 2, a visit was made the next day by inspectors and a vet as to the conditions to these animals.

“What they found were emaciated animals in squalid, filthy conditions, causing unnecessary suffering.

“One cow had died and another had to be put down. Before another scheduled visit on March 7, another calf died. When inspectors went back on March 30, some four weeks later, the conditions had not improved.

“Forty-five cows were left with instruments that could injure them and in some cases, even without water.”

More than 100 cows were also left with no dry line, which is where the udder tissue recovers in between milking.

Mitigating, defence solicitor Neil Hinton said that ‘all dairy farms lose animals’ and that Kane was burdened by his finances.

He said: “He has to care for his 85-year-old mother and look after the farm almost by himself. A report dated in May shows improvements had been made. This was a blip and not the long-standing state of things.”

District Judge Greenfield said: “Every day you knew what condition these cows were left in and you didn’t change anything in at least four weeks.

“Leaving them without water is inexcusable.

“The last evidence of your farm being suitable is autumn 2016, so this lasted at least three months.”

Kane was ordered to pay £5,655 costs.