Elderly farmer fined for neglect of cattle but neighbour intervenes to help him keep herd

(stock image)
(stock image)

An elderly farmer who was prosecuted for neglecting the welfare of his cattle will be able to keep his herd after a neighbour gave an undertaking to continue to help him on his farm.

The Mayo News reports that John Hoster (77) of Cloonmore, Ballyfarna, Claremorris was fined €300 at last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court after he was charged with neglecting the welfare of his cattle.

It had previously been heard in he court that when his farm was inspected in 2016, a veterinary inspector with the Department of Agriculture found a cow lying down with a rope tied around her neck.

The farmer was given opportunities to get his livestock in order or face the possibility of not being allowed to keep them. The court heard that Peter Byrne, the veterinary inspector, inspected the farm on April 30 and found 39 cattle, 31 of which were registered while eight calves were still to be registered.

When asked by Judge Mary Devins about their condition, Mr Byrne said they were in an acceptable condition and ‘better than what they were’, but he was concerned that the size of the herd will grow.

The farmer in question is a suckler cattle farmer and the veterinary inspector suggested to the court that a cap be placed on the number of cattle Mr Hoster can keep and suggested reducing the number of cows to ten.

Mr Michael Keane, solicitor for the defendant, said his client was helped on the farm by a neighbour and said his instructions were that there are 36 cattle on the farm.

Mr Rory McQuinn, a neighbour of Mr Hoster, said he works on the farm every day and since he arrived the situation on the farm has improved. He said Mr Hoster struggled because of his age but since he got help, his health has improved. He said he will continue to work on the farm and help Mr Hoster.

Judge Devins agreed not to put a cap on Mr Hoster’s herd but would convict him on one of the charges and fined him €300.

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