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Agriculture news, Trading Standards prosecutions

South Hams farmer banned from keeping animals


Posted on: 6 September 2019

An Ugborough farmer has been banned from keeping animals after pleading guilty to animal welfare offences.

William Luscombe, 61, of Stone Farm, Ugborough, South Hams, was sentenced on Tuesday 3 September 2019 at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court, following a prosecution by Devon, Somerset & Torbay Trading Standards Service.

Luscombe pled guilty to five charges under the Animal Welfare Act, five charges under the Animal By-Products Regulations and two charges under the Welfare of Farmed Animals Regulations.

These offences related to his neglect of cattle and sheep under his care and for failing to protect lame cattle from pain and suffering.

In November 2018 officers from Trading Standards and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) visited land farmed by Luscombe.

They found sharp metal, waste plastic, barbed wire and sheet metal where the animals were kept, any of which could have injured his livestock.

One bovine was struggling to walk properly and had an overgrown claw. It was wagging its leg as a sign of discomfort and pain. Another had a swollen front foot and was lame.

Numerous animal remains were found, including a whole carcass of a calf in the main yard.

Multiple sheep carcasses were found in different stages of decay. Some carcasses had been burned on the farm and charred remains had been left to accumulate. None of these carcasses were covered or held pending disposal in the correct manner.

At his sentencing magistrates recognised that Luscombe struggled to run the farm alone but added that the animals had suffered. In addition to the disqualification he was ordered to pay £2001 in costs and fees.

Alex Roddis, Investigations Team Manager for Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said:

“The welfare legislation for animals sets out very clearly the acceptable standards that those keeping animals must meet and in allowing animals to suffer, Mr Luscombe has fallen well short of these standards.

“Despite the efforts and advice offered by Trading Standards and Animal and Plant Health Agency vets Mr Luscombe continued to operate in a non-compliant manner.

“Our staff work hard to try to support farmers in relation to animal care, but when advice is repeatedly ignored or where we find serious breaches, we will take appropriate action and work with partners to prosecute those responsible.

“Thankfully, having to take this kind of legal action is rare, and most farmers and smallholders take the welfare of their animals very seriously.”


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