A shepherd in Oxfordshire has pleaded guilty to 13 animal welfare and farming offences following a prosecution by Oxfordshire County Council Trading Standards.
Oxford Magistrates Court heard how between 2017 and 2022 Jonathon Simpson (38), trading as Jon’s Shepherding, disposed of large numbers of dead sheep by burying them in a muck heap at Hunters Close Farm, near Witney in Oxfordshire.
As well as failing to comply with restrictions on animal by-products, Simpson also failed to keep adequate records including an up-to-date register of animals, failed to record animal movements and failed to maintain a record of veterinary medicines, detailing when they were purchased, administered, or disposed of. Simpson also moved livestock without being an authorised and competent transporter.
Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “We fully support our farming community and all those who work in it. The vast majority work to the highest standards. Those who seek to bypass the rules not only put the integrity of the food chain at risk but also gain an unfair advantage over hardworking farmers.
“Animal welfare legislation is there for very good reason, to control disease, to protect animals and to ensure the safety of the wider food chain. These offences put all that at risk. The lack of processes Simpson had in place risked the spread of disease, while also hindering traceability and attempts to contain any such outbreak.
“As the most rural county in the southeast of England, an uncontrolled animal disease outbreak would have a hugely damaging impact on peoples’ lives and on our local economy.”
Simpson was sentenced to a twelve-month community order, including completion of a fifteen-day rehabilitation requirement. He was also ordered to pay £2,000 towards the prosecution’s costs, as well as already paying thousands of pounds for the appropriate removal of the muck heap and animal by-products.