A farmer/ retired vet has been fined by Newcastle Magistrates after pleading guilty to a breach of livestock movement rules.
The case involving Graeme Reavley came before Newcastle Magistrates last week on July 7th, 2023; however.
Reavley, who did not appear in court, illegally moved twenty sheep from his farm at Bowsden to Wooler Auction Mart in October 2021.
These moves were made despite his premises being subject to a standstill of livestock movement under the Disease Control Order 2003, meaning the sheep should not have been moved.
The livestock standstill rules are designed to prevent and limit the spread of many animal diseases in the early stages, where symptoms would not be apparent, even to a vet, the sitting heard.
They were put in place following the devastating 2001 Foot & Mouth disease outbreak and are for the benefit and protection of the whole livestock industry.
6-day standstill period
Any movement of cattle, sheep and goats onto a premises will trigger a 6-day standstill period, the court heard.
Moving pigs on and off-premises triggers a longer standstill period. The main exception is if the livestock are going directly to a slaughterhouse.
Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards decision to prosecute came after Mr. Reavley had ignored “repeated advice, warnings, and a caution for previous breaches of the livestock standstill rules”.
Inspectors found he had moved three sheep onto his farm on October 8th, 2021, triggering a standstill which meant that no livestock should have moved off until October 15th or later unless an exception applied.
He then went on to move twenty sheep to an open sale at Wooler Mart on October 13th, 2023, only five days later.
Errors in the reporting of movements by Mr Reavley meant that the breaches were not identified at the time and were only found during a subsequent routine inspection at his farm.
Reavley was ordered to pay over £1000 in fines and costs.
According to Councillor Gordon Stewart, cabinet member for Looking After Our Communities, the livestock standstill rules are “an important safeguard” for disease control.
“The decision to prosecute was entirely appropriate given our previous involvement with Mr. Reavley.”
“Whilst trading standards will generally encourage compliance with the requirements by advising farmers and businesses, those repeatedly or deliberately flouting this legislation can expect to face more formal action,” Steward concluded.
Read previous article on: Man (51) convicted for causing distress & suffering to hen at time of killing
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