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Gloucestershire Business News

Forest of Dean farmer guilty of ignoring animal disease control measures

A farmer from the Forest of Dean has pleaded guilty to ignoring rules aimed at limiting the spread of contagious diseases through livestock.

Haydn Bendall, aged 80, who farms at Aylburton and Hewelsfield in the Forest of Dean, appeared before Cheltenham magistrates on February 10, following an investigation by Gloucestershire County Council trading standards officers.

He admitted 12 offences relating to his failure to observe rules designed to restrict the spread of contagious diseases through livestock, such as bovine tuberculosis, and was ordered to pay nearly £2,000.

Bendall was fined £533 and ordered to pay £1,331 in costs and a victim surcharge of £53.

Prosecuting, Lorna Bennett told the court that in February 2019 bovine TB was discovered in an animal sent to abbatoir from one of his farms and, as a result, this farm was put under restriction by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Bendall continued to move cattle onto and off his land in breach of this restriction notice. When interviewed and asked to explain his actions, he claimed that he had not received the letter from the APHA advising him that bovine TB had been found and that his farm was under restriction.

Subsequent enquiries confirmed that Bendall had been advised of the restrictions by phone and that cattle had been moved after he had been made aware of the restrictions.

The court also heard that he had moved cattle off his holding on two occasions without testing for TB to ensure his cattle were free of disease.

On 10 occasions between November 2019 and March 2020, he moved cattle and sheep off his holding during a mandatory standstill period introduced after foot and mouth in 2001, to ensure animals did not move rapidly from location to location to monitor for signs of disease.

Bendall also failed to report the movement of a number of cattle onto his holding in July 2019 within seven days of the movement taking place, in breach of a disease control measure.

Magistrates were told that Bendall was well known to trading standards and was given a caution for a number of similar offences in July 2018.

Councillor Dave Norman, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: "It is vitally important that farmers observe any restrictions that are put in place and test their cattle to prevent the spread of TB to prevent other farmers' herds being put at risk.

"This sentence sends out a clear message that trading standards is prepared to take action to protect the wider farming community from the reckless actions of others."

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