Farmer ordered to pay £36k after welfare offences

Animal welfare officers said the cows’ environment was 'unsuitable' (Photo: Calderdale Council)
Animal welfare officers said the cows’ environment was 'unsuitable' (Photo: Calderdale Council)

A Yorkshire farmer has been banned from keeping livestock for seven years and ordered to pay over £36,000 after failing to comply with animal welfare legislation.

Jennifer Pickles, 69, of High Royd Farm in Hebden Bridge appeared before Bradford Magistrates’ Court on Friday 5 July.

She pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

During investigations in December 2017 and January 2018, it was found that Ms Pickles had caused unnecessary suffering to her cattle.

The cows’ environment was unsuitable and they didn’t have food, water or parasite control, Animal Welfare Officers and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) said.

They had access to the carcasses of other animals, and broken wood and sharp objects that could hurt them.

Further investigations revealed that Ms Pickles had kept cattle on her premises which hadn’t been identified.

All cows in the EU are individually identified and their movements traced throughout their lives.

This is to help control and eradicate diseases such as Bovine TB, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and foot and mouth disease.

It is also there to protect people by ensuring that products going into the human food chain are safe and fully traceable so people know where they have come from.

During a herd test for bTB in 2017, Ms Pickles advised Defra that her cows had died and were no longer on the premises. The cattle were later found to be living on the farm.

In addition to the livestock ban, Ms Pickles was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay over £36,000 to Calderdale Council to cover costs relating to the case.

Cllr Susan Press, Calderdale Council, said: “We take animal welfare and disease control very seriously. Keeping farm animals is very different from having domestic pets.

“It’s essential that owners of livestock understand their specific needs and the regulation.

“The outcome of this case highlights the seriousness of the lack of care shown by Ms Pickles towards her animals,” she said.