A DORSET farmer has been charged with multiple allegations of causing unnecessary suffering to cows and calves.

He is also charged with disposing bovine carcasses in a slurry pit, which prevented them from being tested for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies - also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE.

Robert Mark Honeybun, aged 60 and of Winterbourne Abbas, faces prosecution by Trading Standards.

Honeybun - who is director of Yeovil-based cattle farming company, Ireosa Ltd - is accused of six counts of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, and eight counts of failing to care appropriately for ill or injured farmed animals without delay.

He is also accused of failing to comply with government animal by-product legislation and contravening/failing to comply with EU provisions concerning food safety and hygiene.

It is alleged that Honeybun broke regulations by failing to keep an up-to-date record of veterinary medicinal products or other treatments administered to his animals, and failing to dispose of animal by-products without delay - namely: three bovine lower legs, a bovine skull, bovine scattered bones; four calf carcasses; a bloated calf carcass with protruding pelvic bones, and a dead cow with a hole in its stomach.

All the charges relate to a farm in Winterbourne Abbas. Ireosa Ltd is also being prosecuted for the same charges.

It is alleged that, on or before April 12, 2021 the defendant caused unnecessary suffering to:

  •  A cow that was recumbent in a barn, by failing to seek treatment for open wounds and emaciation
  •  A brown and white calf standing in a calf pen by failing to seek treatment for emaciation and scouring
  •  A calf by causing it to suffer due to being wet, shivering and suffering from hypothermia
  •  A cow by failing to seek treatment for a swollen left front leg
  •  A cow that was recumbent in a barn, by failing to seek treatment for open wounds and emaciation
  •  A cow, by failing to seek treatment for a very swollen left eye

Meanwhile it is alleged that, on or before April 12, 2021, Honeybun failed to care appropriately for ill or injured farmed animals in his care without delay by failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the conditions under which the animals were bred or kept complied with welfare regulations.

It is alleged that:

  •  An unidentified bovine calf at the rear of a calf pen was wet, shivering and suffering from hypothermia
  •  The defendant failed to seek treatment for a cow's swollen left front leg without delay
  • Two cows recumbent in a barn were emaciated and had open wounds
  •  A brown and white calf standing in a calf pen was emaciated and scouring
  •  The defendant failed to seek treatment for a cow with very swollen left eye
  •  A black and white calf laying on a muddy floor was wet and shivering, and that the defendant failed to care for it appropriately
  •  Honeybun is also accused of breaking welfare regulations by failing to protect animals in his care from risks to their health, namely from barbed/old wire, sharp metal, corrugated sheeting and rusty equipment.

It is alleged that, on or before April 12, the defendant failed to keep an up-to-date record of veterinary medicinal products or other treatments administered to his animals and that by doing so he contravened or failed to comply with EU Hygiene Regulations.

He is accused of, on February 27, 2021, being a person with animals placed under an official movement restriction and failing to comply with the requirements for dealing with specified risk material (SRM) of a slaughtered a bovine. SRM is defined as the parts of the animal that are most likely to pose a risk of infectivity if it was infected with a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) disease.

It is alleged that, in that having slaughtered a cow, Honeybun disposed of its specific risk material into his slurry pit, and so the animal failed to be tested for Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or BSE.)

It is also alleged that, on or before April 12, 2021, Honeybun contravened or failed to comply with regulations on feeding food-producing animals by failing to comply with the following requirements:

a. The animal production unit and feeding equipment shall be cleaned thoroughly and regularly to prevent any build-up of hazards.

b. Buildings and feeding equipment shall be kept clean.

c. Systems shall be put in place to regularly remove manure, waste material and other possible sources of contamination to feed.

d. Feeding and watering equipment must be designed, constructed and placed in such a way that contamination of feed and water is minimised.

e. Watering systems shall be cleaned and maintained regularly where possible and water for drinking or for aquaculture shall be of appropriate quality for the animals being produced.

Honeybun was due to appear at Weymouth Magistrates Court on October 19, but the case has been adjourned to December 15, 2021 at the request of the defence.