A farmer has been fined £18,000 after committing numerous cattle identification offences, which play a vital part in UK disease control measures.

Darren John Gadsby, of Ellas Farm, in Wymeswold, Leicestershire, was fined £16,000 plus costs of £2,000 at Leicester Crown Court on Friday (13 January) for failing to report and record the movements of his cattle both onto and off his farm.

He also failed to report within the prescribed time limits the deaths of cattle that occurred on his farm, the court heard.

All cattle are required to have their own passports and have two ear tags bearing a unique identification number.

Farmers must register the birth and death of their animals and record the detail of cattle movements on and off their farms.

These controls are essential to ensure that only disease free animals are allowed into the human food chain, to help eradicate BSE and finally to quickly bring a disease outbreak under control by tracing its source. 

Trading Standards officers visited the farm in October 2010 following the receipt of information, which alleged that Gadsby was breaking the rules.

Advice was given but continuing non-compliance led to a criminal investigation.

At an earlier hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court, Gadsby pleaded guilty to three charges under Cattle Identification Regulations 2007.

He admitted failing to notify the movement of cattle to the secretary of state within three days; failing to record the movement of cattle onto his holding within 36 hours and failing to notify the death of cattle to the secretary of state within seven days.

Judge Simon Hammond told Gadbsy: “We know the huge effect that foot and mouth and BSE have had on the countryside… The Cattle Identification Regulations are in place to ensure traceability. This protects public health and safeguards the farming industry.”
 
In sentencing Gadsby, Judge Hammond noted that he had previously been prosecuted for similar cattle identification offences at Loughborough Magistrates Court in June 2009.

The Trading Standards investigation found that he had made no improvements since his last conviction, which resulted in a fine of £14,000 and £6,000 costs.