A Dorset farmer has been ordered to pay out nearly £4,000 after he was found guilty of illegally moving cattle and falsifying records.
Shaftesbury farmer, Brian Garrett, 76, has been fined for illegally moving cattle to and from his farm while under a movement restriction and for falsifying records relating to the identity of calves.
He was prosecuted following an investigation by trading standards officers from Dorset County Council.
Officers first visited Fernbrook Farm, Gillingham Road on 4 July 2017 to inspect his cattle. But when they returned to the farm three days later they noted that several of these cattle were no longer on the farm.
When questioned, Mr Garrett declined to say where the cattle had gone.
Identification of cattle and movement restrictions are in place to help prevent disease spread in livestock and to provide traceability for animals entering the food chain.
Officers used DNA tests to check the identity of two of the calves, revealing them to be false. It was found that Mr Garrett had ordered replacement ear tags for these calves to change their identity.
The farmer appeared before Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Monday 4 February and pleaded guilty to six offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007.
The court heard that the farm was inspected by the Rural Payment Agency in 2014 who found some serious discrepancies in his calf record keeping.
As a result of this they requested the return of a number of calf passports. He continually refused, and in 2016, he was served a notice restricting the movement of all cattle onto or off the farm.
Since that date the court heard Mr Garrett had moved cattle on numerous occasions up to January 2019. He was prosecuted in relation to 16 of the illegally moved cattle.
Cllr Andrew Parry, Cabinet member with lead responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “Intervention by our trading standards officers is an important part of providing protection for the food chain. There are long established rules on recording the identity of cattle to provide traceability, confidence and reduce the spread of disease.”
Mr Garrett was fined a total of £1250 plus a £135 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £2600 in costs to the county council.