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Staffordshire farmers prosecuted following APHA investigation

Last week, investigations by APHA resulted in the sentencing of the two farmers in Staffordshire. 

The UK has some of the highest animal welfare standards in world, with all farm animals protected by comprehensive and robust animal health and welfare legislation. APHA won’t hesitate to take robust enforcement action where people are found in breach of those standards. 

At the sentencing at Telford Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 17 October, Charles Gibson of Leonards Farm was given a 20-week jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.  He was also ordered to pay fines of £4,000, a victim surcharge of £128, and given a lifetime ban from keeping all animals.

Ms Alison Bailey was given a community order with 80 hours unpaid work, ordered to pay £1,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £90. She was also given a lifetime ban from keeping all animals.  Wheelton Farms Ltd, represented by Director Martin Wheelton, received fines totalling £32,000 and ordered to pay £7,500 in costs.

In May 2020, working alongside Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Animal Health team, APHA inspectors visited Leonards Farm at Biddulph Moor.

Inspectors found livestock, including young calves, kept in extremely poor conditions. Dead animals were found in pens with live animals, pens where livestock were kept were not suitable and little food, water or dry lying was being provided to the animals. Multiple sick calves were also found.

Inspectors also found untagged calves found at the farm meaning a failure to comply with the traceability requirements for bovine animals.     

APHA undertook further visits throughout 2020 and in 2021.

Aled Edwards, Head of England Field Delivery, Animal and Plant Health Agency said:  

“APHA takes potential breaches of animal welfare legislation very seriously and investigates all allegations.   

“This case demonstrates our robust enforcement processes, and the effective collaboration between ourselves and local authorities. I welcome these sentences from the courts and hope they will act as a deterrent to others.” 

Every livestock farm, regardless of scale, must comply with all relevant legislation, including comprehensive environmental and animal welfare rules. 

Anyone who has serious concerns about the welfare of livestock is always urged to report issues immediately to the APHA so that urgent action can be taken by telephoning 03000 200 301 or emailing [email protected].

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