Health officials visited a farm after concerns of animal protesters about the welfare of livestock.

Inspectors from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), an offshoot of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, made an emergency visit to Jessops Farm in Honeybridge Lane, Steyning, after a complaint was raised by the Animal Defence Society.

Officials gave advice to the farmer and will reinspect the farm again this week.

Jake Knight, an investigator with the Animal Defence Society, said he found the farm while monitoring a hunt.

Mr Knight filmed a four-minute video showing cows and pigs standing in pens in a shed and also standing in the open and posted it on the society’s website. He said: “It was a very distressing scene.”

A neighbour of the farmer defended the welfare of the animals.

She said: “We don’t have a problem with the owners – they just keep a few pigs and cows and they try to get by.

“I don’t have a lot of time for these animal rights people.

“They need to spend 40 years on a farm in all weathers to find out what farming is all about.”

An AHVLA spokesman said he would not comment on individual cases but confirmed staff had visited a farm in West Sussex.

The spokesman added: “AHVLA takes all allegations of breaches of animal welfare legislation seriously and all are investigated as a matter of urgency.

"Where welfare problems are found, advice or warnings are usually sufficient to bring about satisfactory improvements.”

“However, where evidence is available, the local authority, as the appropriate enforcement agency, may initiate prosecution.”

More news from The Argus

The Argus: Daily Echo on Facebook - Like us on Facebook

The Argus: Google+ Add us to your circles on Google+