Derbyshire farmer left dead animals on farmland to rot

A Derbyshire farmer and butcher who left dead sheep, lambs and calves on farmland to rot has appeared in court.

Richard Hobday, 55, of The Mews, Alstonefield, Ashbourne appeared before magistrates in Chesterfield on Monday and admitted failing to clear up dead, rotting, decaying sheep, lamb and calf carcasses from land at Elton Moor.

He will be sentenced in February

He will be sentenced in February

Some of the remains were discovered in February 2018 but not cleared away until May.

The prosecution was brought by Derbyshire County Council after Hobday failed to clear the dead animals despite being warned by a trading standards officer to do so.

The law states that carcasses should be collected without undue delay under conditions which prevent risks to public and animal health, and not following the requirements is contrary to the Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013.

At the hearing Hobday also admitted failing to apply eartags to two calves within 20 days of their birth in January 2018 and failure to record their births and the death of an animal in a herd register, contrary to the Cattle Identifications Regulations 2007. These regulations are in place to ensure that livestock and ultimately food is traceable.

Hobday also pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to keep an up-to-date register for his sheep containing the minimum information, for example their individual identification codes and the dates on which they were identified. This is contrary to the Sheep and Goats (Records, Identification and Movement) (England) Order 2009, and is in place to ensure that sheep and ultimately food is traceable.

Hobday will be sentenced on February 18.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “This is a very worrying case and is made worse by the fact that despite a trading standards warning the farmer still failed to do what was required.

“Leaving these dead animals for four months in a field posed a threat to public health and the health of other animals due to the potential transmission of disease, and would also have been distressing for anyone coming across such a scene.

“We welcome the fact that Hobday has admitted these offences and await the sentencing of the court.”