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Worcestershire farmer given community order and ban from keeping livestock

A Worcestershire farmer who kept animals in very poor conditions has been banned from keeping livestock and given a community order.
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John Bruce admitted five offences including allowing unnecessary suffering
John Bruce admitted five offences including allowing unnecessary suffering

John Bruce, 43, of Crabbe Yard, Wadborough, admitted five offences including allowing unnecessary suffering, failure to provide the required care, feed and separation of animals and notification of the death of an animal.

 

He was prosecuted by Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) at Worcester Magistrates Court on April 21.

 

Offences

 

He asked the court to take into consideration a further seven offences relating to breaking a prohibition notice that prevented him from moving cattle without a license, after previously failing to comply with bovine tuberculosis (TB) testing at the farm.

 

The court heard that on two occasions last year one animal had been found dead and the majority of the remaining herd were in very poor conditions at Mr Bruce’s property, Ridgeway Park Farm in Throckmorton.

 

Animal health officers from WRS trading standards team and vets from the Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) visited the farm in February and April 2015. The vets described finding two cows emaciated, dehydrated and lacking the energy to get up, with accumulations of faeces where they lay.

 

Intervention

 

They checked all 450 cows and found 395 (88%) in need of intervention to improve their condition, with 186 (37 per cent) in extremely poor condition, indicating prolonged lack of care.

 

One of the vets as described the case as one of the worst in terms of scale and number he had seen in his 25-year career.

 

Mr Bruce had previously repeatedly ignored advice from APHA vets, who had visited the farm on several occasions. In mitigation, Mr Bruce told magistrates his farm had been run by a manager at the time.

 

Community order

 

The magistrates handed Mr Bruce a 12-month community order with 200 hours unpaid work and 10 days rehabilitation activities, ordered him to pay £9,850 costs and a £60 victim surcharge and banned him from any involvement with livestock for two years, starting May 19.

 

Head of WRS Simon Wilkes said: “Not only is there a duty of care to treat animals adequately but one of the key reasons for this legislation is the clear need to stop the spread of diseases.

 

The rules don’t just prevent disease spreading within one farm where cattle are kept, but they also prevent it spreading to other farms.”

 

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