Farmer with ‘serious discrepancies’ in animal records fined £1,250

A Shaftesbury farmer has been fined for illegally moving cattle to and from his farm while under a movement restriction and for falsifying records relating to the identity of calves.

Identification of cattle and movement restrictions are in place to help prevent disease spread in livestock and to provide traceability for animals entering the food chain.

Brian Garrett, aged 76, of Fernbrook Farm, Gillingham Road, was prosecuted following an investigation by trading standards officers from Dorset County Council.

Several animals had disappeared

Officers visited Garrett’s farm on July 4, 2017, to inspect his cattle. However, when they returned three days later they noticed that several of the animals were no longer on the premises. When questioned, Garrett declined to say where the cattle had gone.

Officers also used DNA tests to check the identity of two of the calves, revealing them to be false. It was found that Garrett had ordered replacement ear tags for these calves to change their identity.

Garrett appeared before Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Monday, February 4 and pleaded guilty to six offences under the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007.

The court heard that Garrett’s farm was inspected by the Rural Payment Agency in 2014, who found some “serious discrepancies” in his calf record-keeping.

As a result of this, they requested the return of a number of calf passports. Garrett continually refused and so in 2016, he was served a notice restricting the movement of all cattle onto or off the farm.

Since that date, the court heard Garrett had moved cattle on numerous occasions up to January 2019. He was prosecuted in relation to 16 of the illegally moved cattle.

Cllr. Andrew Parry, the Cabinet member with lead responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “Intervention by our trading standards officers is an important part of providing protection for the food chain.

There are long established rules on recording the identity of cattle to provide traceability, confidence and reduce the spread of disease.

Garrett was fined a total of £1,250 plus a £135 victim surcharge, and ordered to pay £2,600 in costs to the county council.