A FARMER will serve 200 hours of community service after his cows had to be put down to prevent them from suffering.

The court in Llanelli heard that four cows belonging to Mark Mathias of Chapel Hill Farm, Camrose, had to be put down to prevent further suffering.

Distressing images from the farm show cows lying on their sides in field, and a pile of carcasses left in a farmyard area

(WARNING: distressing images appear below in this story).

Mathias was given a 200-hour community service order and also disqualified from keeping, owning, participating in, or influencing the keeping of bovine animals for a period of 12 months.

The ruling follows a prosecution by Pembrokeshire County Council on Friday, May 3.

Mathias was charged with four offences of causing unnecessary suffering to cows, and one offence of failing to ensure the cows’ needs were met, including a suitable diet and environment.

Western Telegraph: Mark Mathias of Chapel Hill Farm, Camrose, will serve 200 hours of community service after being found guilty of causing unneccessary suffering to cows.

He also admitted an animal by-product offence whereby bovine carcasses were not stored in the correct manner or disposed of correctly, which posed a health risk to the herd as it could have contaminated food.

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Guilty pleas were also entered for cattle identification offences for failure to record deaths as required and failing to register cattle within the prescribed time scale.

The court heard that between March 20 and July 12 last year, 14 visits were made to the farm by animal health and welfare inspectors.

The first visit followed a report of a calf being on its side in the farm yard which was thought to be suffering with no bedding or care provided.

Western Telegraph: The first visit to the farm followed a report of a calf being on its side in the farm yard.

Cow carcasses were also discovered by officers on a yard near baled feed for the herd and inside a large trailer.

Other welfare concerns were noted within the herd and notices were issued to dispose of the carcasses correctly, to address welfare concerns and to improve conditions on the farm.

The court was told that throughout the ensuing visits, additional notices and further advice was given to Mathias by officers and vets.

These related to conditions on the farm in which the cattle were being kept, welfare concerns, including for specific animals which required veterinary attention and for removal of animal by-products.

The court was told that four animals had suffered unnecessarily which resulted in them being destroyed.

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A large number of cattle had also been moved onto the site while a TB restriction notice was in place, prohibiting moves on or off site without a licence.

Mathias pleaded guilty to failing to observe the terms of the notice.

Western Telegraph: A pile of cow carcasses found at Chapel Hill Farm.

As part of mitigation for Mathias, reference was made to the mental, physical and financial issues involved in the farming business.

The bench also ordered Mathias to pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge fee of £85.

Pat Davies, the county council’s cabinet member for regulatory services and housing, said the case had no quick fix solutions.

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“While officers were mindful of the difficulties faced by the business and sought to offer advice and guidance where they could, the serious and persistent nature of certain offences meant that that the council was duty-bound to bring the matter before the court,” said Cllr Davies.

“While the herd was almost entirely disposed of following the council’s involvement, it is critical that where a business model becomes unsustainable that proactive action is taken to ensure that the welfare of animals and disease control measures are not compromised,” she added.