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Agriculture news, Trading Standards prosecutions

Farmer fined for side-stepping rules to prevent Bovine TB spread

Posted on: 21 September 2022

A Somerset farmer who moved cattle without first testing them for TB, a legal requirement to safeguard other herds from infection, has been ordered to pay over £5,000.

On Wednesday 8 September 2022 at Taunton Magistrates Court, Trevor Bolton, of Brookfield Farm, Shepton Mallet, Somerset was found guilty of three charges under the Animal Health Act 1981 and The Tuberculosis (England) Order 2014.

The court heard that over a 10-month period, Mr Bolton moved 11 cattle, without them undergoing a Pre-Movement Test.

If cattle are being moved the owner must carry out a Pre-Movement Test no more than 60 days before the date of the movement.

The results of the test then must be read by an inspector as negative before the cattle are moved.

Officers from the Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service began to investigate movements made by Mr Bolton following information from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

They found that cattle had been moved from his holding to other farms and a livestock market without testing.

In his defence, Mr Bolton’s barrister stated he had been struggling with his paperwork and time because of caring for his wife whilst still running his business.

Mr Bolton had been previously prosecuted for Tuberculosis offences in 2020 and had extensive advice from this service.

Mr Bolton was fined a total of £4002 for the three offences which was reduced due to a guilty plea, ordered to pay full costs of £1,150, and a victim surcharge of £400 totalling £5552.

Stephen Gardiner, Legal Process Manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service, said: “Reducing the risk of animal health disease is a priority for this Service. There is an extensive eradication programme in place nationally to reduce the level of bovine Tuberculosis in the country amongst cattle and wildlife. The South West has a particularly high prevalence of TB and it has a huge economic impact both on farmers and more widely. Any breaches of TB legislation risks undoing the good work already done.”