Farmer convicted of animal welfare offences and banned from keeping cows for five years

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  28th April 2023

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Derek Arthur Whittle of Oaklands Livestock Centre was accused of treating animals like 'trash' by animal advocates


A Shropshire farmer has been convicted of five offences under the Animal Welfare Act and The Cattle Identification Regulations.

Derek Arthur Whittle, 58, of Oaklands Livestock Centre, attended Telford Magistrates Court with his solicitor, Adrian Roberts on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to five out of six charges against him, and received a five year disqualification order from keeping bovine animals.

Whittle has already been to prison for submitting ineligible calves to the now-defunct ‘Calf Processing Scheme’.

It followed a five-month undercover investigation by animal rights organisation, Animal Justice Project (AJP).


AJP placed cameras in the farm and at Chester abattoir, G. & G.B. Hewitt, to film the trading and killing of dairy calves between November 2020 and March 2021.

The cameras captured footage of young calves of 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’.

The RSPCA described this footage of the animals being abused ‘very distressing’.

Photo © Animal Justice Project

Photo © Animal Justice Project

Protecting farm animals

In a statement sent to Vegan Food & Living, Edie Bowles, Solicitor for legal organisation 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. 

“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.” 


Derek Arthur Whittle and his ‘serious crimes’

Claire Palmer, Director of Animal Justice Project, which carried out the investigation, added: “The seriousness of  [the crimes of Derek Arthur Whittle] 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 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, every-day, 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.”

Do you want to understand more about the UK calf trade? Learn what happens to male calves in the dairy industry

Featured photo © Animal Justice Project

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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