A Carmarthenshire farmer and his company have been fined £17,000 for causing unnecessary suffering to cattle left on a marsh.
Alex Holland and Big House Farms Ltd each pleaded guilty at Llanelli Magistrates Court last Thursday to three offences under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
The court was told that a Carmarthenshire County Council animal health officer and an Animal and Plant Health Agency vet visited the marsh by East House, Laugharne, on January 12, 2016, after receiving a complaint from a member of the public concerned about the welfare of cattle being kept there. They were informed that there was an animal down and also several carcasses nearby.
As it was dark and extremely cold they decided to deal with the live animals and leave the carcasses until the following day. There were about 70 young cattle there, of which four were lying down and unable to stand up. Three of these were in such poor condition and were being caused unnecessary suffering, so to prevent further suffering these were put down.
The location contained no shelter from the sea wind and rain and the ground was wet and muddy with very little dry area available.
There were about 70 older cattle nearby which gave no cause for concern. The young stock were taken back to the home farm Big House, Pendine, where they could receive the care and attention they needed.
Tests showed that the carcasses had liver fluke and Mr Holland said that he had treated the young stock which were at East House for liver fluke the previous day. Mr Holland was advised to separate the weaker ones into a nearby shed where they could be monitored better and be provided with additional feed, bedding and shelter.
When the officer and vet visited on February 4 the animals were showing signs of improvement.
Mr Holland told investigators that he accepted that these events should not have happened but said that due to being instructed by the Natural Resource Wales not to use a particular structure constructed for the animals he had no other option but to put these animals on the land at East House.
Alex Holland was fined a total of £7,500 for the three offences and ordered to pay costs of £5,000 and a victim surcharge of £170, and Big House Farms Ltd was fined a total of £4,500 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120.
Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member for environmental and public protection Cllr Jim Jones said: “The council takes animal welfare seriously and is determined to prevent unnecessary suffering being caused to livestock and to ensure that legislation to ensure animal welfare is obeyed.”
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