News item

Farmer banned from keepting cattle after prosecution

A Dorset farmer has been banned from keeping cattle for two years and sentenced to an eight week curfew order after being prosecuted for failing to provide adequate feed to his herd of 90 cattle, and causing unnecessary suffering to one of his cows.

Farmer Brian Pitman, aged 61, of Canford Bottom, Wimborne, was found guilty of a series of 13 offences, after a five day trial at Bournemouth Magistrates' Court ending on 16 May 2012.

Mr Pitman had committed two offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 of causing unnecessary suffering to a cow that was found collapsed and underfed, and of failing to provide sufficient feed to a herd of 90 cattle.

Pitman was also found guilty of further animal welfare offences under the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007, for failing to provide the herd of 90 cattle with sufficient feed and failing to care for ill or injured animals without delay.

He was guilty of a further nine offences under the Cattle Identifications Regulations 2007 for  failure to notify national databases of the births and deaths in relation to four animals and   failing to retain and produce records for five other animals.

Pitman was sentenced with a Community Order subjecting him to a night time curfew for a period of eight weeks, fines of £300 and an order to pay prosecution costs of £200.

The case was brought by Dorset County Council after an investigation by trading standards and animal health officers in November 2010. The herd of 90 bovine animals was seized by officers and cared for elsewhere before a court order gave possession of the herd to the County Council in March 2011.

During the trial the court heard expert evidence from vets from the government’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) which concluded that Mr Pitman had failed to feed or care adequately for sick animals, leaving them thin and in poor condition.

While there was some evidence of him feeding his herd on a regular basis the quality and quantity of feed was not sufficient to sustain healthy animals.

Ivan Hancock, trading standards service manager for Dorset County Council said:

"It is very unusual to find a livestock farmer who is so resistant to attempts to help manage animal welfare issues, and to fail to recognise the problems being caused.

“Mr Pitman has continually failed to cooperate with the County Council and the courts, meaning delays resulted in bringing the matters to trial.

“This prosecution and seizure of livestock from Mr Pitman follows on from a very similar incident in 2009, for which he was also prosecuted, so the disqualification against him keeping cattle must be welcomed.

“The Trading Standards Service aims to help resolve problems but when serious breaches of animal health and welfare standards are identified, enforcement action is considered, especially where offences are repeated. We would encourage any farmer facing animal health and welfare problems to contact us and not wait for issues to escalate."

Trading Standards provides advice and guidance for Dorset farmers on animal health and welfare requirements. The telephone number to call is (01305) 224475.

ENDS

Notes for editors

1.   For further information, call Neil Martin (Principal Trading Standards Officer), or Ivan Hancock (Trading Standards Service Manager), on 01305 224012.

2.   Photographs used in court are available from the above contacts. Full details of the 13  offences can be supplied on request. A further six offences were not proven, two under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 and four under the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007.

3.   Dorset County Council, through the work of its Trading Standards Service has a duty to enforce various aspects of animal health and welfare legislation, including the legislation used in this prosecution, working closely with Defra (The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs).
 
4.   Extensive advice on animal health and welfare is found on the Defra website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/index.htm .

5.   For more information on Dorset’s Trading Standards, visit the website: http://www.dorsetforyou.com/tradingstandards