A farmer who left dead cattle to fester has been fined for breaching laws designed to curb mad cow disease.
David Gow left four dead cows “at varying states of decomposition” at his farming company, A.H. Cornish (Appleton) Ltd, near Abingdon in Oxfordshire.
He admitted “not properly disposing of fallen stock without undue delay” amid fears the blunder could have sparked a serious disease outbreak.
The law was brought in after an outbreak of the fatal brain condition BSE – known as mad cow disease – in the late 1990s.
A 10-year ban on British beef exports was introduced by the European Union to tackle the crisis.
Gow was fined £2,250 and ordered to pay £2,250 costs, while the company was fined £800 and ordered to pay £2,104.88 costs.
Tests were carried out on the animals but “it was not possible to establish the exact length of time since they died”, according to environmental health officials.
Oxfordshire County Council investigating officer Richard Healy said: “Protecting Oxfordshire from animal disease outbreaks protects us all and allows for a thriving rural economy.
“This case should be noted by those who seek to sidestep the regulations and jeopardise the integrity of the chain from farm to fork.
“Businesses who do not follow the rules can gain an unfair commercial advantage over the vast majority of businesses that trade lawfully.”
Gow admitted one offence under the Animal By-Products Regulations 2013 and four offences under The Cattle Identification Regulations 2007.
He did ‘not properly disposing of fallen stock without undue delay’ and failed ‘to appropriately manage the important traceability aspects of livestock management’.