Farmer prosecuted for failing to keep cattle records
A farmer from Toddington has been ordered to pay nearly £6,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of animal health legislation.
Ian Slatter, aged 58, of Naunton Farm, admitted 13 charges at Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court today in a prosecution brought by Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards service.
He was fined £2,915 and was ordered to pay £3,000 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
The breaches included mixing up the identities of cattle on his farm, failing to report or keep records of cattle deaths and failing to record where cattle carcasses were disposed of. He also admitted failing to send cattle that had died on his farm aged over 48 months for testing for BSE, as is required by law.
The court heard that in June 2018 the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) identified that the number of cattle on Slatter’s farm was far fewer than records showed should be there. They referred the matter to trading standards, who carried out an investigation into the whereabouts of the missing cattle.
Following outbreaks of diseases such as foot and mouth and BSE, it is a legal requirement for farmers to maintain complete records of cattle birth and death, movements on and off farm and how carcasses are disposed of, so action can be taken to contain outbreaks and the source can be easily identified.
Despite this, Slatter was unable to confirm what had happened to the majority of his cattle and said during a formal interview that he believed that they had all died on his farm. He had been previously convicted in 2017 for offences relating to animal health legislation.
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “It is vitally important both for our export status of beef and for consumer confidence in British meat that farmers comply with the requirements of the legislation and uphold high standards of record keeping.
“By failing to do this he has let himself and the farming community down and in bringing this prosecution Gloucestershire trading standards are sending out a clear message that breaches of this nature will be brought before the court.”
The UK’s chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: “We welcome this action by Gloucestershire County Council which serves as a reminder of the importance of farmers adhering to robust disease controls and traceability rules.
“This is key to prevent fraud and protect the UK’s world-leading standards of biosecurity and animal health.”