5th Dec, 2016

Livestock ban for neglectful farmer

Joshua Godfrey 29th Apr, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

 

This article contains a picture which some readers may find upsetting

A VALE farmer who left a herd of cows so dehydrated they could hardly stand-up has been banned from keeping livestock for two years.

John Bruce, 43, of Crabbe Yard, Wadborough, pleaded guilty at Worcester Magistrates Court last Thursday (April 21) to a total of five charges including allowing unnecessary suffering, failures to provide the required care, feed, separation of animals and for failing to notify the death of an animal.

The court heard how on two separate occasions last year one animal had been found dead and the majority of the remaining herd had been found in poor conditions at Bruce’s Ridgeway Park Farm in Throckmorton.

Animal health officers from Worcester Regulatory Services (WRS) and vets from the Animal Plant and Health Agency had visited the farm in February and April of last year.

There the vets found two cows emaciated and dehydrated to the point the animals couldn’t even stand up, with a build up of faeces where they laid.

After checking all 450 cows, the vets found 395 per cent of the herd were in need of intervention to improve their condition, and 186 of them were in an extremely poor condition after a prolonged lack of care.

One vet said the scale of situation was one of the worst he had seen in his 25-year career.

Bruce had repeatedly ignored advice from vets who had visited his farm on several occasions.

In mitigation, Bruce told magistrates his farm had been run by a manager at the time of the offences.

Bruce was handed a 12-month Community Order with 200 hours unpaid work and 10 days rehabilitation activities. He has also been ordered to pay £9,850 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.

A Banning Order was also handed down, preventing him from any involvement with livestock for two years starting from Thursday, May 19.

Head of WRS Simon Wilkes said: “Not only is there a duty of care to treat animals adequately but one of the key reasons for this legislation is the clear need to stop the spread of diseases.

“The rules don’t just prevent disease spreading within one farm where cattle are kept, but they also prevent it spreading to other farms, and they give certainty to our food chain as well.

“The rules are there to protect farm animals, farmers and consumers alike.”