Idless Smallholder loses appeal, banned from keeping animals for 3 years



Theresa Cowling, a 53 year old businesswoman from Idless, Truro has lost her appeal and has been banned from keeping cattle and pigs for three years.

Miss Cowling originally pleaded guilty to charges relating to offences brought by Cornwall Council’s Public Protection team on 7 September 2016.

The offences included failing to provide piglets with a farrowing rail to protect them from being crushed by their mother, failing to provide pigs and cattle with dry bedding, failing to provide pigs and cattle with a suitable diet, failing to provide pigs with a safe environment by allowing them access to injurious objects ,including old pallets, nails and rusty metal sheets, and failing to ensure the hooves of the cattle were trimmed to prevent pain and suffering.

Miss Cowling was sentenced to 150 hours of unpaid work in the community, banned from keeping farm animals and ordered to pay £1,250 in costs.

Miss Cowling then appealed her sentence at Truro Crown Court on 7 February, 2017.

Judge Recorder Midgley found the cattle on the farm still had insufficient dry bedding, with nails and sharp metal still protruding from the pigs housing as recently as 6 February 2017. Miss Cowling had also failed to respond to clear advice.

As a result Miss Cowling was banned from keeping cattle and pigs for three years.

Commenting after the case Jane Tomlinson ,Trading Standards Manager for Cornwall Council said; “I am pleased that most Cornish farmers care for their animals and safeguard their welfare. Animal health inspectors always try to give assistance however if advice is repeatedly ignored we are left with no option but to prosecute to ensure consumers have confidence in Cornish meat and high animal welfare standards.

Ms Cowling was first given advice regarding the welfare and straying of her cattle during an investigation in July 2015. Then, in December 2015,  a Cornwall Council Animal Health Inspector accompanied by an Animal and Plant Health Agency Veterinary Officer responded to a complaint of cattle and pigs being kept in very wet muddy conditions.

The officers discovered dreadful conditions on the farm, with pigs and cattle living up to their bellies in mud. The animals had not been given any bedding and were cold and shivering. Further complaints in November 2016 and February 2017 led to revisits which showed the farm conditions had barely improved.