West Dorset dairy farm fined over cows and calves left sick and emaciated in dirty pens

Credit: Dorset Council

A dairy farm in West Dorset has been fined £52,000 for cruelty to cows.

Ireosa Ltd, who operate Higher Kingston Russell Farm near Winterborne Abbas pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a cow and a calf by failing to care for them, along with a series of other offences relating to conditions on their farm.

The court heard how officers visited the farm in April 2021, together with a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency. They found three calves that were clearly sick and emaciated; dirty pens, water troughs and feeding equipment, and a cow with a badly injured front leg that had not received veterinary treatment for three months.

They also had to free a calf trapped in wire that had been left in a field with livestock. Various cattle bones and a skull were found dotted around the farm as well as dead calves in pens with live cattle.

The court was told that officers from the Council’s trading standards service had been visiting the farm for over six years with the aim of ensuring that welfare standards were improved.

As a result of their visit in April 2021, the farm had lost its Red Tractor accreditation for a minimum period of two years.

Representatives of the farm appeared at Poole Magistrates Court for sentencing on 20 September 2022, having pleaded guilty to seven offences at an earlier hearing.

The offences were against animal health and welfare, animal by-products and feed legislation, and were brought to court following an investigation by Dorset Council Trading Standards.

They were fined a total of £52,650 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £6,186.

Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Customer and Community Services, said: “Our Trading Standards team work with livestock keepers to improve the welfare of their animals, but when advice and basic animal husbandry is ignored, formal action can and does follow.

"All livestock keepers have a clear responsibility to ensure conditions they keep animals in, and the care they are given, is adequate.

"Where there is evidence of unnecessary suffering we will intervene and consider formal enforcement action.”