AN ANIMAL protection group has welcomed a five-year ban from keeping bovine animals handed to a north Shropshire farmer.

Prees-based Derek Whittle, 58 and of Oaklands Livestock Centre, was given the disqualification order at Telford Magistrates' Court on Monday, April 24 on charges brought by Shropshire Council.

They included removing and replacing a cattle ear tag without permission or three occasions, causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by repeatedly kicking, aggressively pushing or throwing animals down a ramp on two occasions, and causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by kicking it while it was being loaded into a trailer.

Animal Justice Project said they investigated the farm between November 2020 and March 2021, placing cameras, capturing what the RPSCA called ‘very distressing behaviour’ on film.

Claire Palmer, director of Animal Justice Project, welcomed the court result.

She said: “The seriousness of his crimes cannot be overestimated.

“Not just the removing and inserting of the ear tags in the ears of calves – at a time when farmers are grappling with a Tuberculosis (TB) crisis – but allowing the abuse of calves on his holding.

“Our cameras showed vulnerable calves at Oaklands Livestock Centre, just a few days old, being treated like trash apparently because they were destined for the abattoir.

“This is indefensible and the sad, everyday, reality for so many farmed animals in this country.

“Consumers need to be aware so they can make informed food choices as, ultimately, the buck stops with them.”


The footage filmed by the group showed young calves, some only a few days old, being thrown down trailer and truck ramps, lifted by their tails, kicked, kneed, punched, hit with sticks, dragged by their ears, slapped, pushed, and having gates rammed onto their legs.

Footage also showed a calf being ‘hurled across a pen and kicked in the head’.

Muller Milk, in north Shropshire which was caught on camera handing calves over to Whittall, subsequently dropped the farm, according to the Daily Mail.

Edie Bowles, solicitor for Advocates for Animals, said: "Following a hard-hitting undercover investigation by our client, Animal Justice Project, we are delighted that Shropshire Council pursued charges which resulted in a conviction, including a five-year disqualification order from keeping bovine animals.

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“A recent report The Animal Law Foundation revealed a systemic problem with violations of animal legal protections for farmed animals going unenforced.

“Shropshire Council's decision to pursue this case should therefore be celebrated and we hope that more local authorities will follow this example and do more to protect farmed animals in future."

Richard Marshall, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and regulatory services, said: “This has been a sensitive but successful prosecution to ensure that farmers employ the highest standards of welfare in their business to protect the food chain and ensure adequate control of disease.

“Shropshire Council’s animal health team strives to support good performing businesses to ensure healthy people and a healthy economy across the county.”

Whittle was also given an 18-month Community Order, 200 hours unpaid work and up to 10 days of rehabilitation activity.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £11,855.34 within 12 months, and a victim surcharge of £95.