FARMERS Gerald and Paul Jones have been found guilty of eight charges of causing unnecessary suffering to goats, and one charge of failing in their duty of care to livestock.

The prosecution of Gerald and Paul Jones of Pella Farm, Oxenhall, Newent, was brought by Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards Service after they failed to follow veterinary advice from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, from Trading Standards officers and from their own private veterinary surgeons, relating to the appropriate treatment for foot rot.

On Thursday, Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard that, during a visit on the 10th December 2012, numerous goats were seen to be lame. The majority of the lame goats had their feet bandaged.

Officers were told that the feet were first cleaned with Viradine, a corrosive disinfectant, and then a bandage type material was applied that had been soaked in a zinc sulphate substance, normally used in foot baths. The foot was then taped up with silage tape, an impermeable plastic tape. This allowed the bacteria that causes foot rot to thrive and when the tape and bandage was removed most of the hoof had disintegrated.

During the inspection of the lame goats one goat was put down immediately on welfare grounds and 32 others were identified for culling that day.

Advice had been provided over a number of years regarding the correct treatment for the foot rot problem within their herd. This had been followed for a short time, but then the Jones’s reverted to using their own method.

Gerald Jones told the officer that one of the goats had lost the bottom of its foot as a result of him using the bandaging, but thought this had happened because he had put the bandage too far up the leg and left it on too long.

On a separate visit on the 22nd March 2013 one goat, which was initially thought to be dead lying amongst milking goats, was still alive and found to be suffering from severe and chronic mastitis.

The goat had not been isolated or given any treatment, and arrangements were made to have it put down. Gerald and Paul Jones advised the court that they no longer keep goats.

They will be sentenced on 3rd March at Stroud Magistrates’ Court.

Eddie Coventry, Head of Trading Standards, said: “When it comes to the welfare of their livestock, farmers should take the advice given to them from professional vets, be it a private vet or a Defra veterinary officer, in order to prevent unnecessary suffering. “Farmers owe a duty of care to their livestock and the county council will not hesitate to take enforcement action where there has been a neglect of this duty.”

Cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, said: “This is a very upsetting case of farmers allowing their animals to suffer because they haven’t followed the advice given to them. I’m glad this thorough investigation has ended in a successful prosecution.”