Page last updated at 10:39 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 11:39 UK

Amersham horse trader loses cruelty convictions appeal

Rescued horse
One of the horses rescued from Spindle Farm

A horse trader jailed for neglecting dozens of animals at a farm has lost his appeal against his convictions.

James Gray was jailed for six months last June for leaving the animals to starve to death at Spindle Farm in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

His wife Julie Gray, 42, and daughters Jodie, 27, and Cordelia, 21, were also unsuccessful in their appeals at Aylesbury Crown Court.

The RSPCA removed 115 horses, ponies and donkeys from the farm last January.

James Gray Junior, 17, was acquitted on two charges.

All five defendants were appealing against charges of neglect and cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act.

Judge Christopher Tyrer said: "We are satisfied that these horses were neglected and starved.

"It follows that the appellants failed to exercise reasonable care and supervision in respect of their protection and they knew or ought reasonably to have known that this would have that effect."

We were confronted with scenes of suffering animals... and an overwhelming atmosphere of death and disease
Vet Nicolas de Brauwere

The original trial heard many horses living at the farm were found surrounded by the rotting corpses of other animals which had been left to die of starvation.

Nick White, a field officer for international horse charity World Horse Welfare, was one of the first at the scene.

He said: "There were dead horses on the ground in front of me, and to the right.

"I looked across and there was a dead horse in the stalls. It was like walking into another world."

Norfolk-based horse charity Redwings helped remove 80 animals from the farm and brought back 21 to its own care.

Redwings senior vet Nicolas de Brauwere said: "We are delighted with this result, not to mention incredibly relieved.

"As events unfolded on 9 January 2008 we found more and more evidence of untold suffering that shocked us and compelled us to act. We always believed that the evidence would support today's verdict."

He added: "Even though two days of rescue had already preceded our involvement we were confronted with scenes of suffering animals, animal remains, terrible living conditions and an overwhelming atmosphere of death and disease."

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