Court acts over Piddington livestock business breaking safety rules

A livestock keeper in Cherwell district has been find and ordered to do unpaid work after being found guilty of breaching bovine TB and animal traceability rules, risking ‘a hugely damaging impact’ on the rural economy.

Oxfordshire trading standards brought the proseution
Oxfordshire trading standards brought the proseution

Martin Hall, trading as KC Hall and Sons, of Piddington, near Bicester, was found guilty of 11 offences, after a two-day trial at Oxford Magistrates’ Court.

This followed a prosecution brought by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards.

Hall, 39, was found guilty of illegally moving cattle, without conducting important pre-movement TB testing, and failing to report cattle movements within three days. He also failed to keep records of pig movements. In addition, he was also found guilty of moving livestock, without being an authorised transporter.

The offences took place between January 2020 and March 2021 and they continued even after Hall had been warned by both the trading standards department and the Animal and Plant Health Agency.

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Jody Kerman, head of trading standards at the county council, said: “As the most rural county in the south-east of England, an uncontrolled animal disease outbreak would have hugely damaging impact on people’s lives and on our local economy. While we have some of the best farmers in the business in Oxfordshire, the trading standards team will not hesitate to tackle those who put the health and wellbeing of residents at risk.

“Rules regarding animal movement and testing requirements are there for all our benefits, designed to ensure integrity of the food chain and to prevent the spread of animal diseases. A failure to follow them not only increases the risk of disease being spread from area to area and prevents the ability to trace where our food has come from, but also leads to unfair competition, putting good farmers and their businesses at risk.”

District Judge Rana said that Hall’s evidence was “contradictory and unreliable” and was told in an attempt “to evade responsibility”. The judge also said that the prosecution’s investigation had been “meticulous”.

Hall was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay a total of £9,085 in fines and costs.