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Dairy farm fined over £58,000 after calves found dead in pens

A farmer has appeared in court in connection with animal health and welfare, animal by-products and feed legislation offences.

Ireosa Ltd, who operates Higher Kingston Russell Farm near Winterborne Abbas, came before Poole Magistrates ‘ Court earlier this week.

On September 20th, 2022, the farmer pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a cow and a calf by failing to care for them, along with a series of other offences relating to conditions on their farm.

In the case, that Dorset Trading Standards brought against Ireosa Ltd, the judge ordered the dairy farm to pay a fine of £52,650 and prosecution costs of £6,186.

Farm visit

The court heard how officers visited the farm in April 2021, together with a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

The court heard they discovered three calves that were “clearly sick and emaciated”.

They also found dirty pens, water troughs and feeding equipment, and a cow with a “badly injured” front leg, which had not received veterinary treatment for three months, the court heard.

Furthermore, they also had to free a calf trapped in wire that had been left in a field with livestock.

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They found various cattle bones and a skull dotted around the farm and dead calves in pens with live cattle.

The court was told that officers from the Council’s trading standards service had been visiting the farm for over six years with the aim of ensuring an improvement in welfare standards.

As a result of their visit in April 2021, the farm had lost its Red Tractor accreditation for a minimum period of two years.

Animal health and welfare

Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services, said its trading standards team work with livestock keepers to improve animal welfare.

However, “ when advice and basic animal husbandry is ignored, formal action can and does follow”.

“All livestock keepers have a clear responsibility to ensure conditions they keep animals in, and the care they are given is adequate.”

“Where there is evidence of unnecessary suffering, we will intervene and consider formal enforcement action,” Beddow concluded.

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