Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Sunday 21 April 2019

Row over "B&B" arrangement for cattle ends up in High Court

Stock photo
Stock photo

Aodhan O Faolain & Ray Managh.

An organic cheesemaker has brought High Court proceedings aimed at securing the return of 35 cows he claims belong to him.

On Monday Ralph Haslam of Mossfield Clareen, Birr Co Offaly secured a temporary High Court order against Padraig Deane and Michael King preventing them from selling, disposing or transferring 35 female Rotbunt cows, which is a breed of cattle from Holland and Germany.

Mr Haslam claims he entered into a "B&B" arrangement in respect of the cattle, which produce the milk used to make organic cheese and other products, with Mr Deane,  a farmer of Annagh, via Birr, Co  Offaly in 2015.

This type of arrangement involves the taking of animals for a fixed period of time and rearing them for agreed considerations, including a payment of €450 per week to Mr Deane plus the transfer of several other animals belonging to Mr Haslam to Mr Deane.

Mr Haslam claims that after the 35 cattle reached a specified growth rate target they were to be returned to him by Mr Deane.

In his action, Mr Haslam claims that in breach of the arrangement Mr Deane has failed and refused to return the cattle the cheesemaker gave to him.

Mr Haslam claims has been prepared to fulfil the terms of the B&B agreement entered into with Mr Deane. 

Mr Deane, it is alleged, has also wrongfully transferred 24 of the cattle into the herd profile of Mr King, who is an organic farmer of Boveen, Brosna, Birr.

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Mr Haslam claims Mr King is aware that the cattle belong to the plaintiff.

At the High Court Colm Smyth SC, appealing with Willie Penrose BL, for Mr Haslam said that as a result of the failure to return the 35 cattle means his client has been deprived of the use of the animals and has suffered upset, upset, and damage.

Counsel said his client sells organic cheese, as well as organic yoghurt and milk which is made at Mossfield Organic Farm.

Counsel said his client's organic cheese is sold under the brand name "Mossfield Cheese" and has built up a considerable reputation in Ireland, and internationally.

The milk from this particular breed of cattle is required so the organic cheese can be made. Without the 35 cows to produce the milk the business will struggle to survive.

Counsel said his client was seeking the injunction against the defendants over fears the animals may be moved or transferred by the defendants.

In Mr Haslam's full claim he seeks orders from the court including one directing that the cattle be returned to him and damages.

The case came before Mr Justice Richard Humphreys at Monday's vacation sitting of the High Court.

The Judge granted Mr Haslam the injunction, on an ex parte basis, and made the matter returnable to a date in October.

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