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Helston farmer found guilty of neglecting cattle

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

  • Farmer William Harris, from Breage, arriving at Truro Magistrates' Court where he was found guilty of neglect.

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A FARMER near Helston has been ordered to dispose of 130 cattle after being found guilty of neglecting his animals.

William Harris, from Breage, will now have to pay more than £10,000 in costs to Cornwall Council, which brought the case against him.

Magistrates in Truro told Harris his "sentimentality" and "stubbornness to the point of obstinacy" were factors in the case.

The court heard cattle were kept on short chains, in unsafe farm buildings and not given enough water.

Pat Willmore, chairman of the bench, told Harris: "We felt your evidence, whilst good, showed stubbornness to the point of obstinacy.

"You genuinely believed that you were doing the best for your cattle but a sentimental attachment meant you remained overstocked."

The court heard that a report carried out by Defra in 2010 said Harris should not keep more than 60 cattle but at the time of prosecution he had 130 on his farm.

Mrs Willmore added: "There was clear evidence of large holes in the roof and there were nails protruding."

Regarding the short chains used, she said: "There was evidence that some cattle had unacceptably short tethers."

Harris denied all charges but was found guilty after a two-day trial in which he represented himself.

He was banned for 12 months from keeping or owning animals and must dispose of his herd by January 1. Cornwall Council was awarded full costs of £10,026.

Speaking after the hearing, Jonathan McCulloch, animal welfare inspector for the council, said: "We've carried out ten visits to the farm since 2009 and on each visit we found cattle with no water and in wet conditions.

"After each visit we would write to Mr Harris and tell him that cattle needed more water. The dangerous buildings were also pointed out to him as there was the potential for the roof to fall in on the animals."

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  • twain1  |  November 08 2012, 11:27PM

    It only took 10 inspections! A suitable punishment would be to keep him on a short chain without water by someone with a similar lack of brain cells

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  • nickthompson  |  November 08 2012, 9:11AM

    He can pay the £10,000 with the money you and I give him (and all other farmers) by way of subsidies.