A farmer from Hebden Bridge has been banned from keeping livestock for seven years, 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 and pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. She had also put the safety of the food chain at risk and had not taken the action required to prevent the spread of animal diseases.
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’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, 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 regulations.
“If anyone is found to be breaking the rules, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action to help keep Calderdale safe.
“The outcome of this case highlights the seriousness of the lack of care shown by Ms Pickles towards her animals.”
During investigations in December 2017 and January 2018, Calderdale Council’s Animal Welfare Officer and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) 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. 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 European Union are individually identified and their movements traced throughout their lives. This is to help control and eradicate diseases such as Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and foot and mouth disease, and 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 the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that her cows had died and were no longer on the premises. The cattle were later found to be living on the farm. The test for bTB is the main way to control the disease in cattle.
The Council’s strong approach to enforcement covers a broad range of areas, from animal welfare and food safety to fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. The Council has an Animal Welfare Officer and Food Safety Team who work with local farmers to ensure that the kind of neglect identified in the recent court case is rare in Calderdale. Ms Pickles had received advice on animal health and welfare, plus notices to improve her treatment of the cows, but unfortunately these were ignored.
The enforcement approach supports Calderdale’s Vision2024 and its key themes of resilience and protecting our distinctive environment. Where do we want to be by 2024? How will the Calderdale of 2024 be different from the place it is now? What ambitions do we share? Join the conversation by following #VisionCdale2024 on social media and visit www.calderdale.gov.uk/vision