Farmer Richard Hobday was fined at Northern Derbyshire Magistrates Court in Chesterfield on February 18, 2019 following a successful prosecution brought by Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards.
Hobday – who is also a butcher – pleaded guilty at a hearing in January for failing to clear up rotting animal carcasses from land at Elton Moor. Some of the remains were discovered in February 2018 but not cleared away until May.
The law states that carcasses must be collected without undue delay so as to prevent risks to public and animal health.
At the earlier hearing, the court was told Hobday failed to clear the carcasses despite being warned by a Derbyshire County Council trading standards officer to do so.
Hobday also admitted failing to apply ear tags to two calves within 20 days of their birth in January 2018, and failure to record their births and the death of an animal in a herd register, contrary to regulations in place to ensure that livestock and ultimately food is traceable. He also pleaded guilty at the same hearing to a charge of failing to keep an up-to-date register for his sheep.
District Judge Taaffe fined Hobday £1,000 for each offence, totalling £9,000, and ordered him to pay £2,290 prosecution costs and a £100 victim surcharge.
The court heard that Hobday had been facing financial difficulties. However, the judge told the hearing that this was no excuse to ignore regulations in force to protect public safety, and that the offence had been aggravated by the fact trading standards officers had advised Hobday to clear up the dead animals and had been ignored.
The judge commented: “Britain should be proud to have trading standards departments able to take action to prevent the spread of disease due to ignorance and deliberate neglect.”
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “Despite being warned to clear up the dead animals, the farmer failed to do so, which is unacceptable.
“We welcome this fine as it sends out a clear message to others that behaviour such as this will not be tolerated in Derbyshire, and we also welcome the recognition from the sentencing judge of the valuable work undertaken by trading standards officers.
“Leaving these dead animals for four months in a field posed a threat to public health and the health of other animals due to the potential transmission of disease. It would also have been distressing for anyone coming across such a scene.”