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15 December 2021

Farmer fined £20,000 for falsifying livestock documents

A farmer from Keswick has been fined over £20,000 for falsifying livestock documents.

On Friday 10 December, Thomas Walter Bell and the Farming Partnership, TW Bell & Son Ltd, of Hill Top Farm, St John’s in the Vale, near Keswick appeared at Workington Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to charges of falsely registering dates of birth of pedigree Limousin cattle and failing to record the use of veterinary medicines administered to cattle.

Thomas Bell and TW Bell & Son each pleaded guilty to seven offences of falsifying dates of birth of calves by between one and three months.

Farmers have a legal obligation to notify the date of birth of a new born calf to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) within 28 days. Mr Bell is also a member of the British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS) and is required to notify the breed society of the date of birth, weight, sex of the animal and parentage. Both sets of information can be cross referenced and should be identical.

The Society records various performance data for individual animals to create estimated breeding values (EBV’s) for them. Breeders submit the weights of animals at various ages, including birth and every 100 days up to 500 days old. The greater the weight at birth, and every 100 days afterwards, means the animal appears to grow more quickly and be more valuable, giving the animal an enhanced pedigree.

In addition, Thomas Bell and TW Bell & Son each pleaded guilty to six offences for failing to record the use of veterinary medicines.

When cattle intended for human consumption is given medicines it is important that those medicines are no longer in the animal’s system when they are slaughtered. There are various requirements to keep proper records of which medicines have been given to animals, and this is an important aspect of animal welfare and consumer confidence.

Thomas Bell was fined £1,300 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs as well as a victim surcharge of £130 and TW Bell & Son was fined £8,580 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs as well as a victim surcharge of £181, a total of £20,191.

Cllr Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet Member for the Environment (including Trading Standards), said:

“The falsification of livestock documentation is a serious offence, and can have a devastating impact on farmers, consumers, and the rural economy. Although the fine may seem like a lot, it is nothing compared to the potential cost to the local economy that Mr Bell was risking through poor monitoring and recording practices. We recognise that the majority of farmers take their responsibilities seriously, but this sends a clear message to those who don’t, that Cumbria Trading Standards will thoroughly investigate and prosecute when necessary.”


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A farmer from Keswick has been fined over £20,000 for falsifying livestock documents.