A Hirwaun farmer has been banned from owning or keeping animals for 10 years after pleading guilty to a string of offences of causing unnecessary suffering to his cattle under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Merthyr Magistrates' Court heard that Animal Health Officers from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and veterinary officers from the Welsh Government had visited Maesyrhidiau Farm, Hirwaun, owned by Lewis Wratten, on numerous occasions between January and April 2013 and witnessed a number of dead and dying cattle at the premises.
In addition, the general herd of over 150 cattle were underfed and kept in unsuitable conditions. Wratten has previously refused to co-operate with officers to improve standards at the farm.
Despite repeated warnings by officers that he should seek veterinary advice regarding the health of his animals, Wratten failed to do so. Joint visits with officers from Powys County Council to associated land at Ystradfellte had also revealed a number of cattle carcasses that had not been disposed of in accordance with Animal By-Products Regulations.
Some cattle were not identified in accordance with the Cattle Identification Regulations 2007 and no cattle births and deaths were being recorded by Wratten or notified to the British Cattle Movement Service.
Wratten could not produce any passports for any of his cattle which effectively meant that the animals had no market value and could not be sold or transferred to another farm or be consigned to a slaughterhouse for human consumption.
Sentencing, District Judge John Curran remarked that Wratten had demonstrated gross neglect over a sustained period of time and was clearly not fit to have any animals in his care.
In addition to the disqualification order, Wratten was sentenced to a 12 month suspended prison sentence and 200 hours community service. He was also ordered to pay £6541.30 in costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
David Jones, Head of Community Protection at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council explained, “With our colleagues in Powys County Council we have worked tirelessly in visiting the farm, advising Mr Wratten on how to discharge his duty of care to his animals and his legal responsibilities over a long period of time and have had to prosecute him previously over similar issues.
“He has not responded to our intervention and has not heeded our warnings about the consequences of non compliance and it was clear that he was unwilling to cooperate.
“He refused to work with Council officers, neglected his animals to a cruel degree, failed to seek veterinary advice and allowed rotting caracasses to remain on his property.
“We are pleased that magistrates have taken the decision to sentence him in this way. The vast majority of farmers in the Borough take their responsibilities to their stock very seriously and share our abhorrence of neglect of this nature. I am sure that they too will be glad to see this catalogue of neglect come to an end.”