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Consumer news, Trading Standards prosecutions

Farmer banned from keeping cattle

Posted on: 2 February 2023

A Somerset farmer has been fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £4,642 and banned from keeping cattle for life.

Sally Jones, 63, of Brent Knoll in Somerset pleaded guilty at Taunton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 31 January to causing unnecessary suffering to a calf.

She also admitted breaching biosecurity measures put in place to reduce the risk of spread of Avian Flu.

Additionally Jones also pleaded guilty to three other charges for failing to ensure that animals had access to a dry lying area, failure to remove or repair sharp edges or protrusions which posed a hazard to livestock, and failure to dispose of animal-by products without ‘undue delay’.

Her guilty pleas followed advice and visits by Heart of the South West Trading Standards over the previous five years.

The case against her was brought by the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service following concerns by members of the public.

In January 2022, trading standards officers and a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency visited her smallholding in Brent Knoll and discovered a collapsed calf in an emaciated state which later needed to be put to sleep.

Officers also discovered that general farm welfare fell short of expected standards during their visit in January as a number of animals did not have a dry lying area, had access to sharp objects, such as a rusty gate and barbed wire, contained within a sheep field which posed a risk to their health.

Animal by-products were discovered which had been left under plastic sheeting for up to a year and poultry were free roaming despite there being a Avian Influenza housing order in place to ensure that all captive birds are netted or fenced off from wild birds.

Jones was given a lifetime cattle disqualification along with a £307 fine for unnecessary suffering, £184 fine for the lack of dry lying area for her cattle, £184 for the animal by-product offences, £184 fine for the sharp objects in which her cattle and sheep had access and £184 fine for breaching biosecurity measures in place to reduce the risk of spread of avian influenza. She was also ordered to pay £3,495 in legal costs and a £104 victim surcharge.

Stephen Gardiner, Legal Process Manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said: “Despite the efforts and previous advice offered by our Trading Standards Officers and the Animal and Plant Health Agency vets, Miss Jones has continued to fall short of her legal obligations in respect of both animal welfare and general husbandry duties.

“With the steep rise of Avian Influenza across the country, it is imperative that all poultry keepers comply with the housing order ensuring that their birds are properly housed in a suitably fenced or netted to reduce the spread of this highly infectious disease.”