Scots councillor pleads guilty to animal welfare breaches against cattle

James Moar pled guilty to two breaches at Kirkwall Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

Orkney councillor James Moar pleads guilty to animal welfare breaches against cattle LDRS

A Scots councillor has pled guilty to animal welfare breaches against cattle.

An Orkney isles councillor has pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching animal welfare laws.

James Moar, 67, issued the plea via his solicitor at Kirkwall Sherriff court on Wednesday.

The councillor, farmer, and builder admitted to two breaches of the Animal Health and Welfare Scotland act 2006.

Both of the incidents took place at his home address in Deerness, where Mr Moar has around 50 cattle and a number of sheep.

Firstly, he admitted a charge of causing unnecessary suffering to two cows, between April 7 and May 5, by failing to provide them with veterinary treatment or pain relief for their foot infections.

He also failed to provide them with sufficient nutrition which led to them becoming emaciated and requiring euthanasia.

Mr Moar also pleaded guilty to a second amended charge which said he failed to ensure the needs of a number of cattle were being met.

He admitted to failing to provide them with comfortable, clean, and dry resting areas; feed that was free of faecal contamination; and failed to seek veterinary treatment for their lameness.

This second offence took place between May 6 and 17.

The court heard that a local auxiliary inspector from the SSPCA had initially attended at Mr Moar’s address after a complaint was made about “how thin the cows were” and one cow being unable to walk.

Procurator Fiscal Sue Foard said the inspector saw cattle that “appeared to be very lame”.

During this and a subsequent visit by inspectors and vets, Mr Moar agreed to let them inspect his animals.

Two of his cows were found to have difficulty standing or walking and Mr Moar was advised they should be euthanised.

Evidence was seen of other individual animals having trouble standing or walking, and suffering from lameness or scour.

The court head, Mr Moar told inspectors he had “self-diagnosed” some of his animals with having foul between the toes.

So, he had attempted to treat them with a “broad spectrum antibiotic.”

However, he had not sought veterinary treatment for all his animals.

Bedding for animals was seen that was “soaked in faecal matter and urine”. However, Mr Moar told inspectors he had recently provided fresh bedding.

Evidence was also seen of animals standing in slurry for long periods of time, resulting in poor foot hygiene.

Mr Moar was advised to improve hygiene and have a “lameness plan”.

He told inspectors that he thought the conditions the animals were being kept in, on slats, were “all right”.

He told inspectors he felt their condition was “average” and “they weren’t all thin”.

Mr Moar’s solicitor, Tommy Allan said he had been working full-time as a builder at the time.

It was “a particularly difficult time for him with lambing going on” and poor weather, Mr Allan said.

He said Mr Moar had regularly been working from 4am to 11pm.

Mr Allan said Mr Moar has a large number of sheep, which inspectors found no difficulty with.

The solicitor said Mr Moar had “cooperated fully” with inspectors through the process.

He also said they haven’t been back to see the animals since their last inspection in May.

After consideration, Sheriff David Sutherland decided that sentencing should be deferred for reports, including criminal justice social work reports and new reports from the SSPCA and department of agriculture.

The case will call again on March 15 next year.

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