Farmer appeals welfare verdicts
Last updated at 01:00, Wednesday, 26 September 2007
A VET has told a court about the conditions he encountered while inspecting a cattle farm.
Rupert Hine, who used to work for Defra, said he came across a lame cow, which was clearly in pain, at Greengill Farm, Gilcrux.
The following day, in some straw bedding there, he found a metal bar containing spikes which could have injured any animal that stood on it.
Mr Hine gave evidence about his findings at Carlisle Crown Court where Raymond Anthony Shepherd is appealing against four convictions for animal welfare offences.
Shepherd, 52, of Retreat Farm, was fined £400 after being found guilty by district judge Gerald Chalk after a four-day trial at the city magistrates court last year.
The proceedings were brought by Cumbria County Council.
Mr Hine said that he visited Greengill Farm, which had no electricity, along with a trading standards officer on November 24, 2004.
He inspected various locations, including a slatted floor cubicle area that contained 64 animals. He saw a cow with an extremely swollen foot and rated it as being eight out of 10 on a scale used for determining how lame an animal was.
He said: “It was extremely lame, was shaking and had great difficulty moving. She was in considerable pain and in my opinion was suffering unnecessarily.”
Mr Hine said he had to cut short his observations that day because of fading light.
He returned the following morning and saw the same cow which still appeared to be lame.
He described how he then discovered a metal bar, about a metre long, containing spikes in some straw bedding.
He said: “The spikes were about an inch long. If an animal had stood on one of those then it would have penetrated the base of its foot.”
Prosecutor Robert Crawford said a different vet had gone to the farm on December 8 and rated the same cow observed by Mr Hine as being 10 out of 10 on the scale of being lame.
He told judge Paul Batty, QC, who was sitting with two magistrates, that it was an offence not to have lighting on farms that was adequate enough in which to carry out inspections.
He said it was his case that Shepherd had day-to-day control of the animals at Greengill Farm.
The case is expected to continue today.
First published at 16:35, Thursday, 24 January 2008
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk