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Sainsbury sister fined for cattle cruelty

The sister of supermarket chief Lord Sainsbury has been fined after pleading guilty to 22 charges of animal cruelty.

Annabel Kannabus, 50, admitted allowing unnecessary suffering to be caused to cattle on her 400-acre farm at West Grinstead, Sussex and was fined £1,000.

Her husband and son, who ran the farm, were each fined £2,000 and disqualified from keeping cattle for two years.

All three were ordered to pay £13,000 in costs.

The case was brought by the RSPCA after 43 cattle were found starving on the farm on two separate occasions in late 1997 and early 1998.

'Very upsetting'

Head groundsman Willie Markey said: "Horsham magistrates heard the cattle were starving and wallowing in filth."

RSPCA Inspector Rob Stevens, who investigated the case, said: "It was very upsetting when we visited the farm for the first time. It was like something out of Belsen - cattle were starving and dying, dead calves were being trampled into the floor.

"It was one of the most appalling cases of large-scale neglect I have ever seen in 10 years of service with the RSPCA.

"Clearly the Kanabus family had failed to feed their cattle. They had the financial resources to do so but simply didn't."

'Policy victims'

Mrs Kanabus, who runs an Aids charity, was only charged with 22 cases because she did not run the farm, which is no longer trading. However, she owns the land and was in partnership with her husband and son.

In a statement, the Kanabus family said they were the "victims of government policy and inactivity arising from the BSE decisions and subsequent developments".

Inspector Stevens said he was happy with the fines and costs but added: "I fail to see how they complained the BSE crisis. This case came about because they failed to feed their cows."

Comment from a local

Here is an incident that happened some time ago. It was quickly hushed up at the time but they were notorious locally for the bad state of the farm and house.

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