A Ceredigion farmer who ignored requirements to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis and who also obstructed authorised officers has been fined a total of £9,000 after pleading guilty to charges bought under Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) Regulations.
Mr Anthony Brunt from Coybal Farm, New Quay appeared before Judge Mark Layton at Llanelli Magistrates court for sentencing on 14 September 2023, after previously entering guilty pleas to three offences under the Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2010, in a prosecution brought by Ceredigion County Council in partnership with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
A routine TB test undertaken in August 2021 identified that nine cattle within Mr Brunt’s dairy herd were identified as inconclusive reactors for the second time. Notices were served on Mr Brunt by APHA in September 2021 to isolate those animals to prevent the risk of ongoing transmission of TB, and to present those for mandatory slaughter.
Due to ongoing issues of obstruction it was necessary for Officers of APHA to apply for a court warrant to enter onto Coybal Farm to enforce the requirements of the notice, alongside officers from Ceredigion County Council who has enforcement responsibility in these circumstances. During the execution of the warrant on 10 November 2021 officers immediately identified a failure to isolate the suspected infected animals from the rest of the herd. These nine cattle were found mixed with the other healthy cattle on the farm, which increased their risk of catching the disease.
Moreover, Mr Brunt obstructed officers during the warrant by placing farm vehicles in front of entrances to the farmyard and grazing fields in an attempt to prevent them from undertaking their work. Mr Brunt also failed to co-operate with officers on the day by failing to respond to basic questions around where the animals were kept, or permit use of farm facilities to remove cattle.
The actions of Mr Brunt caused not only an increased disease risk to his own healthy cattle but also to cattle on neighbouring farms within the New Quay area which itself lies in a designated High- Risk Area according to Welsh Government’s Bovine TB Regional Risk Rating.
A Ceredigion County Council Spokesperson commented: “The Council acknowledges that Bovine TB has a significant financial and emotional impact on farming families throughout Ceredigion. However, the Council must act where there are flagrant breaches of TB regulations, that could have a wider impact on other neighbouring areas and exasperate the Bovine TB problem.”
Legal and enforcement costs were incurred by the Local Authority and the APHA of which £9,000 were awarded, leaving the total bill for Mr Brunt at £18,190, including a surcharge of £190.