Wrexham farmer admits failing to remove rotting sheep carcases from land

Reporter:

Jamie Bowman

A WREXHAM farmer failed to remove rotting animal carcasses from his land, despite repeated warnings that they could spread disease.

Appearing at Wrexham Magistrates Court, Matthew Norman Reece pleaded guilty to 14 charges related to the condition and cleanliness of Lower House Farm in Hanmer.

The charges included 11 of failing to comply with an animal
by-product requirement and three of failing to notify the Secretary of State of the death of an animal and entering the details on an animal passport.

The court heard from prosecutor Louise Edwards that Reece lived on the farm with his wife and father as well as working on two other dairy farms.

About 80 cattle, 90 sheep, a donkey and poultry were kept on the farm at the time that a routine inspection was carried out in January with inspectors observing two sheep carcasses as they drove into the farm and the carcass of a cow left in the open air in the farmyard.

Reece was told the carcasses should be removed quickly to prevent the spread of disease but on further visits inspectors found more carcasses left lying in fields or in situ with other animals.

Ms Edwards said the state of decomposition showed some had been there a while and that they showed evidence of being interfered with by wildlife.

There was also evidence that the 30-year-old farmer had tried to burn some carcasses rather than arrange for them to be collected and incinerated.

One dead calf was found in a pig sty and other carcasses were found near a water course which could have been infected.

Inspectors reported that some cattle were in a poor condition and were being kept in a dirty environment.

Calfs were coughing and showing signs of pneumonia and food and bedding was inadequate.

Another visit the following day revealed Reece had done nothing to remedy the problems or called a vet and on further visits carcasses were still found lying around the farm.

On February 1 one calf was found in such a bad condition that it had to be euthanised and evidence was found that Reece had failed to report animal deaths.

When interviewed by police, Reece admitted he had spread feed too thinly across his animals and had “too many cattle and insufficient time to look after them”.

He had got into financial difficulties and admitted ignoring advice on how to care for his cattle.

Huw Williams, defending, said: “Mitigation is quite simple. Mr Reece has learnt his lesson and the farm is now clean and clear of TB.”

He added the farmer had recently won awards for his cows at the Nantwich Show.

Reece was released on unconditional bail to appear again before Wrexham magistrates today pending probation reports.

Email:

jamie.bowman@nwn.co.uk

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