Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Monday, 15 December 2008

Cruelty trial shown horse images

Spindle Farm horse
An RSPCA picture of an ill horse at Spindle Farm in Amersham.

A court has been shown images of horses allegedly left to starve on a family run farm in Buckinghamshire.

The photographs and video footage were taken by RSPCA inspectors when they were called to Spindle Farm, Amersham.

One photograph shown to Bicester Magistrates' Court showed a pile of skulls and bones.

James Gray, 45, Julie Gray, 41, Jodie Gray, 26, Cordelia Gray, 20, and another person who cannot be named deny charges under the Animal Welfare Act.

They face a total of 12 charges which relate to causing unnecessary suffering to and failing to meet the welfare needs of horses, ponies and donkeys.

'Rotting carcases'

The court was also shown a photograph of a thin-looking horse and another of an animal just before it was put to sleep.

The trial also viewed video footage of collapsed and dead animals in various locations on the property.

The court has heard that there were 140 animals at the farm and many were left with little food or dry bedding and were crammed into pens which were ankle deep in their own faeces.

They were also surrounded by the rotting carcases of other animals which had been left to die of starvation, it is claimed.

An RSPCA inspector told the court he discovered the bodies of 20 animals left rotting among more than 100 horses, ponies and donkeys allegedly left to starve.

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