Dorset Cattle Farmer Jailed

12 September 2014, 17:10 | Updated: 12 September 2014, 17:11

A Dorset cattle farmer has been given a prison sentence following an investigation into his failure to register his animals and ensure their movements could be traced as part of animal disease controls.

Andrew Morris Newsam (aged 48) of Sydling Road, Cerne Abbas, Dorset was sentenced at Weymouth Magistrates Court, on 11 September, to 24 weeks imprisonment.

He pleaded guilty to breaching the Tuberculosis (England) Order 2007 by not presenting an animal for testing and to eight offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007. These related to his failure to register the births and deaths of cattle on his farm.

The prosecution was brought by Dorset County Council's trading standards service after an investigation by its animal health officers. Assistance was also given by a veterinary officer for the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).

Bovine Tuberculosis is a major health issue for British farming.

The testing of cattle for Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the principle measures used to help control the spread of the disease by only allowing the movement of disease free animals.

The offence to which Newsam pleaded guilty under the Tuberculosis (England) Order 2007 related to his failure to present a calf for testing by initially claiming it was too young to be tested. It was subsequently established that the calf was over the minimum age of 42 days and so should have been tested.

The Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 require farmers to comply with a range of measures including cattle registration, identification and movement so that serious diseases in livestock, such as BSE and Foot and Mouth Disease, can be controlled and traced.

The court was told that Mr Newsam had pleaded guilty to similar offences in May 2013 and was given a suspended 20 week prison sentence. The magistrates told Mr Newsam that as seven of the charges were of a like nature they would invoke the suspended sentence and give an additional four weeks imprisonment for the remaining two charges.

Neil Martin, a principal trading standards officer with Dorset County Council, said:

"Unfortunately TB is prevalent in Dorset and the effects on farmers can be devastating. Legal controls are in place to help prevent the spread of the disease and so when farmers flout these rules others' livelihoods are put at risk.

"It is also important that farmers register their animals with the national database so that food can be traced back to farms. Farmers are aware of these obligations and the vast majority do their utmost to comply."

The council's Cabinet member for community services, Cllr Colin Jamieson, added:

"Our officers are keen to support farmers where they can and the trading standards service provides advice and guidance for Dorset farmers and livestock keepers on animal health and welfare requirements. They can be contacted on 01305 224475. In the rare cases where a farmer or livestock keeper continues to flout the law, I would urge officers to take legal action.

"This case clearly illustrates that ignoring the law which is in place to protect livestock and the livelihood of the farming community, can result in a heavy penalty."