A farmer has been ordered to pay over £10,000 in fines and costs after admitting breaking laws that help control the spread of bovine TB when moving his herd.
Trevor Bolton, 68, of Brookfield Farm, Shepton Mallet appeared before Taunton Magistrates Court on Wednesday, November 4th.
The court heard that over 10 months, he moved his 104-strong herd to a location that was not permitted.
Bolton pleaded guilty to seven charges related to his cattle business.
- Failed to notify the British Cattle Movement Service when the cattle were moved;
- Did not mark a cattle passport with the date of movement and keeper details as required;
- Did not have a transporter authorisation certificate.
Intelligence was received from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Devon, Somerset, and Torbay Trading Standards Service began to investigate.
Officers found Bolton had purchased cattle from restricted markets and private farmers and taken them back to his holding. This was instead of an approved finishing unit or abattoir in line with TB legal requirements.
Bolton accepted that he had made these movements. He said that he had done so because of problems at the abattoir or for animal welfare reasons.
He added that he had taken the cattle to a separate holding, away from his own premises, because he did not want them mixing with his own animals because of the ‘disease risk’ – even though he had previously been advised of the requirements.
In his defence, Mr Jeffrey Bannister said that Bolton had not financially gained by making these movements. He said his the farmer was struggling with paperwork and time because of caring for his wife while trying to run a business.
Magistrates said Bolton had deliberately breached the regulations and was fined £1,000 on each of the seven offences. This was reduced from £1,500 for each offence due to the guilty pleas.
The court ordered him to pay full costs of £3,350 and a victim surcharge of £170 totalling £10,520.
Breaches of TB legislation puts ‘livelihoods at risk’
Marie Clements, team manager for Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said: “Reducing the risk of animal health disease is one of our priorities.
“The south-west has a particularly high prevalence of Bovine TB and it has a huge economic impact both on farmers and the region in general.”
“Farmers have been making great leaps to reduce the impact of Bovine TB in recent years and any breaches of TB legislation risks undoing the good work already done and puts livelihoods at risk.”