Disease control breaches cost local livestock haulier £15,000
Gilders Transport Ltd, of Marlborough Cottage, Gretton Field were at Cheltenham Magistrates court on Wednesday 6th January to answer to nine offences relating to the handling of animal by products.
The court heard that Gilders Transport Ltd, who were registered as a fallen stock collector, picking up carcasses of dead stock from farms and taking them to a rendering plant, had been combining loads of carcases at their yard without the required approval. The company had also on one occasion left carcases uncovered at the company's premises where they were exposed to birds and other wild animals.
In 2012, Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards Service became aware that Gilders were combining loads of dead stock at their premises without the required approval from the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) and subsequently sent a warning letter to the company.
The company applied for approval in June 2012 but this was refused by the APHA due to the proximity of their livestock haulage and farming enterprises. They were advised that additional structural measures would be needed to their premises to address the risk of animal by-products becoming accessible to live animals either directly or indirectly, in order to gain the required approval.
In January 2014 uncovered carcases were found in the yard at Marlborough Cottage during a routine inspection by Trading Standards. The company said that this was a one off occurrence as a result of a vehicle breaking down. Further investigations showed that the company had regularly combined loads by transferring carcases between vehicles at their premises between 2012 and 2014 contrary to advice from APHA and Trading Standards and, despite being served with a notice by Trading Standards in May 2014 prohibiting this activity, they continued to do so.
Counsel acting on behalf of the company said that the method by which carcasses were moved between vehicles, in the company's opinion, made the risk of spreading disease slight. He said that dead stock collection had been a small part of their business and that they had now ceased being involved in this operation.
The company pleaded guilty to the offences and were fined a total of £11,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £4,662.
Eddie Coventry, Head of Gloucestershire Trading Standards, said; "Animal by-product legislation is there to prevent the spread of disease.
"It is disappointing that, despite being advised on a number of occasions Gilders Transport Ltd continued to ignore this advice.
"As such, we had no option but to take court action."
Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure, said; "As a farmer myself, I know only too well the challenges that the farming community has faced over the last couple of decades.
"BSE and the foot and mouth crisis have had a profound effect on the industry, and this legislation was introduced to help prevent the spread of disease in the event of any future outbreaks.
"It is important that we hold any operators who breach the legislation to account."