A farmer who mistreated her cows and had some hidden away from the authorities has been banned from keeping livestock for seven years.
Jennifer Pickles, 69, of High Royd Farm in Hebden Bridge, appeared before Bradford Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 5. She pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
During investigations in December 2017 and January 2018, Calderdale Council’s Animal Welfare Officer and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) found that Pickles had caused unnecessary suffering to her cattle.
She had also put the safety of the food chain at risk and had not taken the action required to prevent the spread of animal diseases.
Alongside shocking animal rights breaches, including leaving the cows without food and water, the court heard Pickles had a number of cows that were unregistered.
All cows in the European Union are individually identified and their movements traced throughout their lives.
This is to help control and eradicate diseases such as Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB), Bovine Viral Diarrhoea and foot and mouth disease, and to protect people by ensuring that products going into the human food chain are safe and fully traceable so people know where they have come from.
During a herd test for bTB in 2017, Pickles lied to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) telling officials that her cows had died and were no longer on the premises.
But the cattle were later found to be living on the farm. The test for bTB is the main way to control the disease in cattle.
Investigators told the court Pickles left her cows’ in an unsuitable environment.
They didn’t have food, water or parasite control, were left among the carcasses of other dead animals, and around broken wood and sharp objects that could hurt them.
Prior to the court enforcement, Pickles had received advice on animal health and welfare, plus orders to improve her treatment of the cows, but unfortunately these were ignored.
The council has an Animal Welfare Officer and Food Safety Team who work with local farmers to ensure that the kind of neglect identified in the recent court case is rare in Calderdale.
In addition to the seven year livestock ban, she was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay over £36,000 to Calderdale Council to cover costs relating to the case.
Clr Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said: “We take animal welfare and disease control very seriously.
“Keeping farm animals is very different from having domestic pets. It’s essential that owners of livestock understand their specific needs and the regulations.
“If anyone is found to be breaking the rules, we won’t hesitate to take enforcement action to help keep Calderdale safe.
“The outcome of this case highlights the seriousness of the lack of care shown by Ms Pickles towards her animals.”