West Yorkshire farmer sentenced for animal welfare offences

A West Yorkshire farmer has been banned from keeping livestock for seven years, after failing to comply with animal welfare legislation.

Appearing before Bradford Magistrates’ Court on Friday, July 5, Jennifer Pickles (69) of High Royd Farm in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale, pleaded guilty to a number of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The court heard 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.

In addition to the livestock ban, Pickles 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.

Cllr. 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.”

Image source: Calderdale Council

During investigations in December 2017 and January 2018, Calderdale Council’s Animal Welfare Officer and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) found that Ms Pickles had caused unnecessary suffering to her cattle.

The cows’ environment was unsuitable and they didn’t have food, water or parasite control. They had access to the carcasses of other animals, and broken wood and sharp objects that could hurt them.

Further investigations revealed that Pickles had kept cattle on her premises which hadn’t been identified.

During a herd TB test for bovine in 2017, Pickles advised the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that her cows had died and were no longer on the premises. However, the cattle were later found to be living on the farm.

Pickles had received advice on animal health and welfare, plus notices to improve her treatment of the cows before the case was taken further, but ultimately these were ignored.