Ceredigion County Council has issued a warning to farmers that “flagrant breaches of bovine tuberculosis (TB) regulations” will be punished, after a New Quay farmer who failed to isolate nine cows and tried to obstruct animal welfare officers, putting cattle and nearby farms at increased risk, was fined £9,000.

As the Cambrian News reported last week, Anthony Brunt, of Coybal Farm appeared before Judge Mark Layton at Llanelli Magistrates court for sentencing on 14 September.

Brunt had previously entered guilty pleas to three offences under the Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2010.

The prosecution was brought by Ceredigion County Council in partnership with the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) following investigations and incidents on the farm which included animal health officers being blocked from undertaking their work.

The court heard that the 72-year-old failed to comply with a notice under the Tuberculosis (Wales) Order 2010 on 10 November 2021 to isolate nine cows on the farm after veterinary inspectors said there was an “affected or suspected animal” on the site following routine testing.

Brunt pleaded guilty to charges of failing to comply with the notice, including one of failing to comply with requirements for “facilitating their removal for slaughter.”

He was fined a total of £9,000 for the offences, and ordered to pay an additional £7,000 in costs as well as a £190 surcharge.

Ceredigion County Council said that a “routine TB test undertaken in August 2021 identified that nine cattle within Mr Brunt’s dairy herd were identified as inconclusive reactors for the second time” and that his subsequent actions put cattle on his farm and neighbouring New Quay farms at risk.

“Notices were served on Mr Brunt by the Animal and Plant Health Agency in September 2021 to isolate those animals to prevent the risk of ongoing transmission of TB, and to present those for mandatory slaughter,” the county council said.

“Due to ongoing issues of obstruction it was necessary for officers of APHA to apply for a court warrant to enter onto Coybal Farm to enforce the requirements of the notice, alongside officers from Ceredigion County Council who has enforcement responsibility in these circumstances.

“During the execution of the warrant on 10 November 2021 officers immediately identified a failure to isolate the suspected infected animals from the rest of the herd.

“These nine cattle were found mixed with the other healthy cattle on the farm, which increased their risk of catching the disease.”

The council said that during the visit, Brunt obstructed officers by blocking entrances.

“Moreover, Mr Brunt obstructed officers during the warrant by placing farm vehicles in front of entrances to the farmyard and grazing fields in an attempt to prevent them from undertaking their work,” Ceredigion County Council said.

“Mr Brunt also failed to co-operate with officers on the day by failing to respond to basic questions around where the animals were kept, or permit use of farm facilities to remove cattle.

“The actions of Mr Brunt caused not only an increased disease risk to his own healthy cattle but also to cattle on neighbouring farms within the New Quay area which itself lies in a designated High- Risk Area according to Welsh Government’s Bovine TB Regional Risk Rating.

A Ceredigion County Council Spokesperson said: “The council acknowledges that Bovine TB has a significant financial and emotional impact on farming families throughout Ceredigion.

“However, the council must act where there are flagrant breaches of TB regulations, that could have a wider impact on other neighbouring areas and exacerbate the Bovine TB problem.”

Legal and enforcement costs were incurred by the Local Authority and the APHA of which £9,000 were awarded, leaving the total bill for Mr Brunt at £18,190, including a surcharge of £190.