Saxmundham farmer Eric Moss fined after allowing cattle carcasses to decompose on his farm

Eric Moss at his farm in Farnham.

Eric Moss at his farm in Farnham. - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk farmer who repeatedly flouted livestock regulations has been ordered to pay more than £47,000 in fines and costs after a judge accused him of showing “contempt” for the authorities.

In October last year Eric Moss and his company ARP Farms Ltd were ordered to pay more more than £110,000 for unlawfully slaughtering cattle and illegally selling meat across the county and today he was ordered to pay a further £47,000 for allowing cattle carcasses to decompose on his farm near Saxmundham and failing to register the births and deaths of cattle.

Sentencing Moss, a former member of the National Farmers’ Union’s livestock board, Recorder Martyn Levett said he had shown no remorse for the offences or understanding of the harm that could have been caused by the offences.

“You have shown contempt for the authorities,” said the judge.

He said that when Trading Standards inspectors went to Botany Farm at Farnham they discovered cattle corpses in open areas around the farm in varying stages of decay and several cattle did not have ear tags for indentification.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that without indentification and traceability any meat consumed cannot be traced back to its origins and therefore could not be guaranteed to be free from diseases such as BSE.

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Despite advice to Moss to ensure he inspected his cattle regularly and complied with regulations concerning the disposal of dead cattle more corpses were discovered during further inspections.

Moss, 72, and ARP Farms Ltd admitted a total of ten animal by-product and cattle indentification offences and were fined a total of £33,200 and ordered to pay costs of £14,000.

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Moss was also fined £250 for failing to attend court for an earlier hearing

The court heard the offences were discovered following joint inspections last year by Suffolk Trading Standards and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA).

After the sentencing hearing Suffolk County councillor Colin Spence, cabinet member for public protection said:”Prosecutions such as these are rare but when a farmer has received repeated advice and warnings but has chosen to ignore animal health legislation that could potentially put animals and humans at risk to disease, Trading Standards has no option but to take robust action against them.

“The court has sent out a clear message that anyone who continues bad practices such as those carried out by Mr Moss and ARP will be dealt with severely.”

Suffolk Trading Standards Officer, Lee Nunn said:”The vast majority of the Suffolk farming community identify and dispose of their dead animals and take on board Trading Standards advice. This collectively provides the public with reassurance that effective animal disease control measures are in place. We would encourage the public or farmimng community to report any instances of farm animals they have concerns about to us on 03454040506.

At last year’s hearing the court heard that Moss had sold his meat products at farmers’ markets, and to hotels, pubs, and restaurants and had been unable to account for more than 100 of his cattle. This meant officers have been unable to trace where they were in the food chain.

On that occasion the judge said: “I am sure that Mr Moss has sold illegally slaughtered and butchered Botany Farm beef to the public – this has been sold for cash via farmers’ markets, public houses and restaurants which sales have never been accounted for in Mr Moss’ accounts.”

The court heard that trading standards and environmental health officers were originally refused entry to Botany Farm by Moss.

While waiting for police to attend meat products were seen to be removed from the freezer.

It was subsequently discovered that beef lasagnes and other meat-based products had been sold at Woodbridge Country Market and fresh meat from the farm had also been sold at Woodbridge Farmers’ Market.

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