Warning after Hartlepool farmer fined for leaving sheep carcass to rot

ROTTEN: An animal carcass found at Blue House Farm, in Newton Bewley
ROTTEN: An animal carcass found at Blue House Farm, in Newton Bewley

COUNCIL bosses have warned farmers they will face legal action if they do not follow the correct procedures to stop the spread of diseases.

The warning comes after a farmer admitted various offences under the Animal by-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2011 and the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 when he appeared at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

Richard Atkinson, 55, of Blue House Farm, Newton Bewley, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 and a £200 victim surcharge after being taken to court.

Action was taken after Hartlepool Borough Council trading standards officers inspected the farm last year and discovered a rotting sheep carcass on the premises.

After further inspection it was discovered that Atkinson had not registered the birth of any of his calves born that year, had failed to apply ear tags within the required time and failed to register the deaths of some cattle and return their passports to the appropriate authority within the required timescale.

Sylvia Pinkney, Hartlepool Council’s public protection manager, said: “Legislation was introduced across Europe in response to a number of crises in animal and public health in which animal by-products were implicated, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (known as mad cow disease) and Foot and Mouth disease.

“This was to protect animals, prevent animal disease outbreaks so that disease does not enter the human food chain and restore public confidence.

“Farmers and other animal keepers play a vital part in helping to prevent disease, reporting diseases when they occur and stopping them from spreading.

“There are strict rules that anyone owning a herd, flock or even a single animal of the most common livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, horses or pigs must follow which cover the identification, tracing and movement of livestock.

“We support and work with farmers and animal keepers and the vast majority carry out their businesses responsibly.

“This case, however, does serve as a reminder that if they do not take appropriate steps to comply with disease control rules and ignore advice, we will take action through the courts.”

If anyone has any concerns or requires advice on animal health matters, contact the council’s trading standards officers on (01429) 523362 or email trading.standards@hartlepool.gov.uk.