Farmer given suspended jail term over livestock breaches

News from the courts.
News from the courts.

A north Northumberland farmer has been given a suspended prison sentence after pleading guilty to 16 charges of breaching livestock rules.

Eric Anderson, of Budle Farm, Bamburgh, was prosecuted by Northumberland County Council’s public protection service for offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007.

At an earlier hearing, Anderson admitted failing to register the birth of four calves with the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) and thereby failing to have cattle passports issued for them.

In addition, Anderson provided false information to BCMS regarding the identity of the genetic dams of ten other calves, and the identity of a further animal that had died.

At Berwick Magistrates’ Court today, Anderson was given a 14-week jail term, suspended for 12 months. He was also ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work, pay £2,719 in costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Philip Soderquest, interim head of public protection at Northumberland County Council, said: “Cattle passports were introduced as a measure to deal with the devastating outbreak of BSE in cattle. Recording accurate dates of birth and animal histories are critical in being able to deal with outbreaks of disease, and for the protection of the public.

“This system of traceability also provides general assurance for consumers of the provenance of beef and dairy products.”

Coun David Ledger, deputy leader of the council, said: “It is particularly disappointing when a farmer chooses to flout the very rules designed to protect the agricultural industry from the ravages of disease in animals.

“These are serious offences and this case demonstrates that our officers will not hesitate to take firm action against those who disregard their legal duties. I hope that it will act as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to act in a similar way.”

Anyone seeking advice on any animal-health matters can contact Trading Standards on 01670 623869.