An 81-year-old farmer was fined and handed a suspended sentence after up to 80 cattle on his land were found “knee-deep in mud”.
The court heard that smaller animals had to compete with mature animals for “small amounts of hay and drinking rainwater from puddles in fields full of rubble, scrap metal and plastic waste”.
John Hasell, of Home Farm in the UK, appeared before Bath Magistrates on September 5 where he pleaded guilty to six charges of animal welfare issues and one charge of allowing animal carcases to be accessed by birds and animals.
Trading standards animal health officers found three calves found entangled in the wire fencing — one of which was comatose and had to be put down.
The court also heard that other animals were left lame with no vet treatment and struggling to move in the mud.
Cattle that had died were left uncovered on the back of a truck for over a week before they were disposed of.
Ignored professional advice
Magistrates were told that Hasell had received regular advice from Bath & North East Somerset Council animal health officers. Hasell was told he must provide his cattle with sufficient food, water and suitable grazing.
The court heard that problems on the farm started in autumn 2018 and continued through until the summer of 2019 when Hasell sold his last remaining cattle.
Magistrates accepted that Hasell’s own health had deteriorated over the period and that he had been unable to look after the cattle but stated that he should not have ignored the professional advice provided and he should have made alternative arrangements for his animals.
Hasell was sentenced to 16 weeks custody suspended for two years along with a 12-week curfew. The courts also disqualified Hasell from keeping or looking after livestock for an indefinite period and ordered he pay £10,000 (over €11,200) towards prosecution costs.
Image source: BANES Council