Gloucestershire Farmer Banned From Keeping Cattle After Animals Kept in Appalling Conditions
A Forest farmer has been banned from keeping cattle for 10 years after officials found eating plastic wrapping from their fodder because no other food was available.
Dead farm animals were also found at Keith Barber’s farm in Lydbrook where live pigs and cattle were being kept in appalling conditions concluded a report by trading standards.
Following the investigation which lasted several months Barber pleaded guilty to eight animal welfare offences at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday, January 28.
He also pleaded guilty to one offence relating to the dirty conditions of the feeding troughs, two offences relating to the disposal of animal carcases and four offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations.
Magistrates said the Joys Green farmer showed a “cavalier attitude towards the welfare of his animals” and sentenced him 18 weeks in prison suspended for two years.
He was ordered to pay £2,500 towards prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £115.
Barber was taken to court after an investigation by trading standards officers who had previously warned him about the care of his animals and the fact that the poor drainage at the site made some of his sheds unsuitable to house livestock.
In April 2018, animal health inspectors from Gloucestershire County Council visited Mr Barber’s farm again after a tip-off from a member of the public and discovered that cattle and pigs were being kept in unsatisfactory conditions.
Officers found some of the cows had extensive hair loss and many were very thin.
A dead calf and dead pigs were also found on the premises, and officers were particularly concerned that one pig carcase had been there for so long that only the skeleton remained.
Cattle were housed in sheds with deep muck and there was nowhere dry for them to lie down.
They were also seen eating plastic wrapping from their fodder when no other food was available. When food was provided space at the trough was insufficient and cattle were seen jostling each other as they fought to get to the feed.
Sows and piglets were kept in a shed with high ammonia levels and had no access to clean drinking water and other pigs had no water or dry lying area.
Officials called in vets from Animal Plant Health Agency (APHA) who came the following day and and told Barber the actions he needed to take to make sure that the welfare needs of his animals were met.
Subsequent checks over the following months showed limited improvements to reduce the ammonia levels in the sow shed but on many occasions animals were found without any access to a dry lying area, pigs were found without access to water, and in pens which were smaller than the minimum requirements.
Barber, who had previously signed a formal caution for failing to identify calves born on his holding within the required time limits, also failed to apply ear tags to calves within 20 days of their birth, a legal requirement to ensure consumer confidence in British beef and the integrity of the human food chain.
Councillor Dave Norman, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: “Gloucestershire trading standards inspectors and most responsible farmers take pride in maintaining animal welfare standards in the county.
“It is so essential to make sure the integrity of the human food chain is maintained by farmers correctly identifying their cattle, as well as making sure that all animals are well looked after.
“In this case Mr Barber has failed in his duty of care to his animals, despite receiving advice from Trading Standards, leaving us with no option other than to prosecute.”
Members of the public who want to report concerns about animal welfare standards in the county, or other potential breaches of trading standards regulations, are encouraged to contact the trading standards helpline on 03454 040506.