Farmer prosecuted for causing unnecessary suffering to animals
A farmer from Churcham in the Forest of Dean has admitted 30 offences relating to animal welfare and disease control.
Allan Hall, aged 53, of Bulley Lane, appeared before Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 7 September 2022 to face charges brought by Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards service.
The court heard that Hall had a history of engagement with trading standards and had received advice about what actions he needed to take to ensure the welfare of his livestock. However, he continued to keep animals in breach of the requirements of the legislation so a prosecution was brought by trading standards.
Magistrates considered the matters so serious they requested a probation report before sentencing, to be held on 14 November 2022.
Following complaints from members of the public about the welfare of his animals, trading standards officers visited his farm on numerous occasions and discovered he failed to follow any of the advice given and continued to keep animals in unclean conditions without sufficient access to clean bedding.
The animals were forced to wade through deep mud to access mouldy food and dirty water and were kept in inadequately fenced fields with numerous hazards to their health.
In one case an extremely sick calf was found to have pneumonia but had not received veterinary treatment. Another cow had with painful eye problems which were not identified and treated promptly.
Vets from the Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) confirmed that some of these animals suffered unnecessarily.
Other offences included failure to test cattle for bovine tuberculosis before moving them off his land, failure to report animal deaths in a timely manner, failure to report the movement of sheep onto his land and failure to properly record the use of veterinary medicines, all of which are designed to restrict spread of animal disease.
Karen Smith, head of Gloucestershire trading standards, said: “In this case the defendant failed to care properly for his livestock over a long period of time and consistently ignored the advice given to him. He showed a lack of concern to ensure the identity of animals which were intended for the human food chain.
“Gloucestershire is a hotspot for bovine tuberculosis and it is vital that farmers comply with the requirements for pre-movement testing to prevent the spread of this disease, which is estimated to cost the taxpayer £70 million per year.
“We are doing our utmost to ensure that Gloucestershire consumers can be confident that locally produced food adheres to high welfare standards.”