Graham Lee John Charles Anstey, aged 44, of Sparkford, Somerset, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a cow, contrary to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 when he appeared at Poole Magistrates’ Court on 27 April. He also pleaded guilty to two offences under the Animal Health Act 1981 of breaching TB disease controls. A further offence was also admitted under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 of failing to record his livestock movements to the national database within the required time limit.
He was fined a total of £850 and ordered to pay £2000 towards the prosecution costs.
The court heard that in April 2016, Mr Anstey transported a group of 17 cattle to a slaughterhouse in Dorset. He arrived at SJ Normans in Bridport at approximately 4am when the slaughterhouse was closed and offloaded the animals into a pen. One animal collapsed in the back of his vehicle and Anstey was seen on recovered CCTV footage ‘kicking, vigorously pushing and violently pulling the tail’ of this cow to get it to move. This persisted for half an hour but the cow could only walk as far as the delivery ramp before it collapsed again. Anstey then drove off and left the animal until it was discovered by the slaughterhouse staff when they arrived for work at 6am. The cow was then humanely euthanased with the authority of a vet and the incident was investigated by officers from Dorset County Council’s Trading Standards Service.
Enquiries revealed that Anstey had purchased the animals from a market in Shropshire a few days earlier. This particular market was permitted to sell cattle without having to test them for TB (tuberculosis) first, as is usual, because all the livestock are intended to go straight to slaughter or other approved livestock units and so reduces the risk of spreading the disease. Instead, Anstey arranged for the cattle to be transported from the market to his farm in Somerset, before taking them a few days later to the Dorset slaughterhouse. By doing this he risked introducing TB to his own cattle but also those of surrounding farms.
In his mitigation the court was told that there was no intent or recklessness in not reporting the livestock moves. He said he accepted what he did was wrong and that he was ashamed about the situation and the effect it was having on him and his family, stating that this was a limited and isolated incident.
Neil Martin, principal trading standards officer at Dorset County Council said, “Causing unnecessary suffering to livestock is unacceptable and incidents like this would always lead to investigation by animal health officers in the trading standards service. Officers also work with farmers to ensure compliance with the controls that are in place to minimise the devastating effects of livestock diseases. Our experience is that Dorset farmers take their responsibilities seriously and compliance levels are good, so this sort of behavior undermines that and places other farms at unnecessary risk.”
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Tags: Animal Welfare