A Cheshire farmer and Cheshire huntsman who deliberately and persistently ignored foot-and-mouth disease controls was ordered by a court to pay almost £17,000.
Anthony Kirkham continually failed to comply with legislation regarding the movement of animals on and off his farm in Ridley, near Tarporley. In a prosecution brought by Cheshire Trading Standards, Chester Magistrates heard Mr Kirkham had shown “contempt” for the legislation and, in doing so, demonstrated “blatant disregard” for the farming community and the public. Mr Kirkham admitted three specimen charges under Animal Health legislation and asked for 73 further offences to be taken into consideration when he appeared before the court on November 13.
The offences – which occurred between July 2002 and November 2003 – relate to legislation introduced after the UK was declared free of foot-and-mouth, to prevent the disease returning. After continually flouting disease controls, Mr Kirkham was issued with a DEFRA Prohibition Notice requiring him to apply for an individual licence for each animal movement. But he failed to comply with this legislation also.
At the time of the offences, Mr Kirkham was the only farmer in the UK to be subject to a Prohibition Notice for persistent disregard of foot-and-mouth disease controls. Ian Luxton, Head of Regulatory Services at Cheshire Trading Standards, said: “The heavy penalty imposed by Magistrates is clear evidence of the seriousness of this case. This legislation was introduced to ensure Britain never again witnesses the horrors of another foot-and-mouth outbreak. Mr Kirkham’s highly irresponsible behaviour could easily have had terrible consequences.” Mr Kirkham was fined £4,500 on each of the three charges and ordered to pay £3,346 costs.
In delivering sentence, Magistrates said Mr Kirkham had deliberately ignored the law and blatantly disregarded the farming community and the public.