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Trading standards lead the way for healthier animals and better food

by 5m Editor
28 June 2007, at 7:18am

UK - Local authority trading standards services have been quick to act on new powers to protect animal livestock – and the food on our tables – according to a new survey.

More than half of local councils who responded to the survey said they had already carried out enforcement action, together with other agencies, since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act in April this year.

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) issued the results of the survey today (Wednesday 27 June) at its annual conference and exhibition in Manchester.

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI, said: "Recent new legislation enforced by trading standards gives powers to ensure the highest possible standards are adhered to by farmers and growers.

"It's a little known fact that local authority trading standards officers have, for many years, been involved in the enforcement of animal welfare legislation relating to farm animals.

"However, the introduction of new regulations for the welfare of animals and food hygiene has toughened up these powers, allowing authorities to use their local knowledge to inform and advise and, as a last resort, enforce."

Examples of recent prosecutions include a Devon farmer fined £19,000 with £3,000 costs for causing unnecessary suffering to livestock, breaching animal disease control measures, failing to produce veterinary medical records and failing to comply with carcass disposal regulations. The action was taken jointly by Devon County Council and the State Veterinary Service and the farmer was also banned from keeping livestock for 10 years.

A Norfolk farming partnership was fined £19,500 and £6,600 costs after being convicted of causing unnecessary suffering and pain and distress to two dying calves.

And a Lincolnshire farmer was fined £4,000, ordered to pay £12,000 costs and banned from keeping sheep for two years following conviction for a number of offences, including causing unnecessary suffering to sheep.

Jeremy Adams, TSI's spokesman on animal health and welfare, said: "These are just a few examples of a growing list of prosecutions.

"But these are a last resort and there are many ways in which we work with businesses and farmers to advise and inform them. For instance, we can advise on the way they store produce, chemicals or machinery to avoid cross contamination with livestock.

To read a full report about the survey click here

5m Editor