Farmer at centre of animal cruelty probe found dead

The pig farmer whose Norfolk farm hit the headlines over animal cruelty allegations this week has been found dead at his home.

Police confirmed that they were called to Harling farm early this morning (Wed 15 Feb) following reports of sudden death, and found the body of a 52-year-old man. They have not yet confirmed an identity, but it is believed to be Stephen Brown.

A police spokesperson said: “At this stage there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances to the death and an inquest will be held in due course.”

A local resident told Farmers Weekly that Brown had shot himself, but the police refused to comment further on the death.

Harling Farm has been the subject of intense media scrutiny after vegan group Animal Equality released undercover footage of pigs being beaten, thrown around and left dying in their pens. The RSCPA, which has launched an investigation, said that the footage showed some of the worst cruelty they had ever seen.

Animal Equality UK refused to comment on Brown's death. Spokesperson Laura Gough, said: "Animal Equality has no comment on any of the circumstances surrounding his death at the moment and we can only comment on our investigation on Harling Farm."

The group has continued to post information about the investigation on its Facebook page, which has attracted a number of offensive comments relating to Brown. When questioned about this, Gough said: "Any insulting or offending comments will be removed, as is our policy."