Pig cruelty investigation farmer Stephen Brown found dead

 

A farmer who was being investigated over allegations of cruelty to pigs has been found dead at his home.

The body of Stephen Brown, 52, of Harling Farm, near Thetford, Norfolk, was discovered this morning. Police said his death is not believed to be suspicious.

The RSPCA began an investigation this week after animal rights group Animal Equality produced video footage of pigs being kicked, slapped and beaten with iron bars.

The group sent an undercover investigator to work at the farm for two months last summer and gathered more than 200 hours of footage and 300 photographs.

In an emotional interview with BBC Look East on Monday, Mr Brown said: "It does look bad but the only thing I feel is that some of it has been dramatised."

One section of the footage showed a worker repeatedly beating a pig on the face with a plastic rod.

The same worker is seen using an iron bar to beat a pig to death, raining down repeated strikes until the animal is left twitching on the concrete.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "The footage is some of the most shocking we have ever received and we are taking this most seriously."

Animal Equality said the investigation "marks the beginning of an intensive campaign to reveal the true face of animal farming in Britain".

The farm had been approved by the Red Tractor food quality assurance scheme, which aims to ensure responsible farming methods. The group had suspended the farm from the programme pending an inspection.

A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: "Police were called to a property at Eccles Road in East Harling around 7.30am this morning to reports of a sudden death.

"Officers attended and found the body of a 52-year-old man.

"At this stage there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances to the death and an inquest will be held in due course."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there