A farmer has been fined £1,200 after five dead sheep were found rotting on his land.
James Edward Hedges, from Oxfordshire, pleaded guilty to three offences of failing to dispose of animal remains appropriately and failing to keep proper disposal records.
He was ordered to pay £1,200 following a hearing at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on May 16.
It follows an investigation by Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service last year.
A senior vet discovered five sheep carcasses in various states of decay after vising fields where Hedges kept livestock.
Hedges also failed to produce records showing how animal products not destined for the food chain, such as fallen stock, were appropriately dealt with.
Judith Heathcoat, the county council member for trading standards, said: “The integrity of the food chain and preventing disease outbreaks are critical in protecting both human health and the rural economy of Oxfordshire.
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“This result acts as a reminder of the importance of maintaining good farming standards and should reassure the public that action will be taken, when necessary, to protect consumers.”
Jody Kerman, trading standards operations manager at the county council added: “The controls on animal by-products are in place for very important reasons.
“Uncontrolled animal by-products can present a risk to both human and animal health and the legislation is there to safeguard the food chain and to prevent the spread of animal diseases.
“Fallen stock should be safely and suitably handled, with measures taken, without undue delay, to stop other animals and wild birds having access to it.
“Equally, whilst the use of veterinary medicines can be essential in preventing and treating disease, livestock owners have a duty to record such usage details, to ensure that animal products, such as meat and milk, are free from medicine residue, at the time it enters the food chain.
“Without appropriate record keeping, it is impossible to evidence when this is safe to do so.”
For one count of failing to dispose of the sheep carcasses he was fined £500 and ordered to pay a £50 victim surcharge.
For failing to keep records or documents he was given a conditional discharge of 12 months’.