Bobby Waugh's Trial Bruce Jobson's account May 25 2002
Many thanks for all the comments regarding the proceedings of the Bobby Waugh trial especially, those received from farming, agricultural and overseas contacts.
One point that should be clarified (as I am continually asked) and would therefore like to confirm, that officials from Northumberland County Council and Trading Standards have conducted themselves in an impeccable manner throughout the trial. This also refers to the testimony of several of the Trading Standards Animal Health Officers involved with the trial.
At 2.22pm, Wednesday 22nd May, Bobby Waugh took the witness stand at Bedlington Magistrates Court.
Jeremy Stuart-Smith (JSS) opened the defence case by inviting Mr Waugh to establish his credibility as a pig farmer. Mr Waugh stated that he had been around pigs 'ever since I could walk' and having left school at the age of 15, became involved with the family business run by his father and elder-brother, Ronnie.
When questioned by JSS as to whether Mr Waugh had ever reported a disease in his pigs to the authorities, Mr Waugh replied that he had notified Durham MAFF of Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD) being present in his herd during 1974. Mr Waugh stated that the pigs were checked by the MAFF and tests were taken the following day, Saturday. According to Mr Waugh, Durham Trading Standards had later phoned and stated everything was satisfactory with the pigs.
However, on the following Tuesday, Mr Waugh's pigs were confirmed as having SVD (For those of a non-agricultural background, the signs and symptoms of SVD are indistinguishable from that of FMB) For the benefit of the court, Mr Waugh produced a 30-year-old MAFF leaflet showing photographs of pigs infected with SVD.
Questioned as to whether he would have reported FMD in his pigs before the 22nd February 2001, Mr Waugh said,"Yes, I would have no reason not to because I wouldn't gain anything financially. I wouldn't get anywhere, I'd just end-up with a farm full of lame pigs."
Mr Waugh claimed that his pigs appeared healthy and were eating normally during the days running up to the discovery of FMD on his farm. He said that he usually arrived at Burnside Farm at 9am and always checked round the pigs prior to carrying out his feeding routine.
JSS questioned Mr Waugh as to whether his pigs were ill on the 22nd February 2001 and he replied, "No. Everything was feeding normally. They're healthy when feeding". Mr Waugh explained that it was his normal working practice to 'double-feed' his pigs on the previous day (Wednesday 21st) as it was his normal routine to attend Darlington Mart on Thursday. As his pipeline system was still frozen, this task was performed by bucket-feeding the swill over the wall of the pig pens and into the troughs.
JSS said that despite Dr Kitching's expertise the previous day, Dr Kitching was unable to assist the court with the actual gestation period of a sow. Mr Waugh replied, "112-days."
(Thanks for everyone round the world - especially former-agricultural students for making contact on that one - yes, the standard, "Three months-three weeks-three days)
Questioned on lameness and lesions within pig herds, Mr Waugh replied that it was a common feature amongst swill-fed units due to the abrasive concrete flooring and troughs. According to Mr Waugh, pigs could be seen with lesions everyday at local auction markets and outdoor pigs could get snout lesions by digging into the ground.
Mr Waugh explained that he collected swill from local schools and English and Italian restaurants in the area. The swill was poured into or augured into boiling tanks at neighbouring Heddon View Farm and cooked at 93.3c for a period of four hours. The swill was then bailed into barrels and taken down to Burnside Farm (approx. 45 metres by road from farm-to-farm) Mr Waugh confirmed that his swill pipeline system often froze during the winter months and rather than spend time thawing the system out on a daily-basis, preferred to feed his pigs by bucketing the swill into the trough. The cutlery contained within the cooked-swill entered the pens via that route.
Mr Waugh confirmed that his premises had been inspected on 24th January 2001 by MAFF vet Jim Dring. The inspection had taken approximately one hour and included examination of the pigs, plant, tanks, pumps and farmyard premises. Asked whether Mr Dring had checked the pens, Mr Waugh replied, "Yes." Asked whether pieces of cutlery were in the pens at the time of Mr Dring's inspection, Mr Waugh confirmed that on average 3 or 4 items were in each pen, although some would have more.
Mr Waugh confirmed that the (open) fire and waste-heap on the premises had been present on Burnside Farm prior to his occupancy and that Mr Dring knew of its presence. Mr Waugh was asked whether the fire and waste heap had changed in appearance and he replied the area was "four-times bigger by the time MAFF had been there."
Proceedings finished at 4.20pm
The trial of Bobby Waugh resumed at 10.05am, Thursday 23rd May at Bedlington Magistrates Court, Northumberland.
Jeremy Stuart-Smith continued the defence by inviting Mr Waugh to explain his association with Cheale Meats. Mr Waugh confirmed that the Waugh's had supplied the Essex-based abattoir with pigs for the past 15 years. The Waugh's had sent pigs to Cheale Meats on Thursday 15th February and on Monday 19th February, Mr Waugh received a phone call from Andrew Cheale stating that the premises had been closed down owing to a case of SVD being identified in a group of pigs that had arrived over the weekend from Buckingham and the Isle of Wight.
Mr Waugh was told there was nothing to be concerned about as his pigs had passed the required veterinary inspection on Friday. The following day, Tuesday, 20th February, Mr Waugh received another phone call from Cheale Meats in which he was informed that the disease had been confirmed by MAFF as FMD and not SVD. Mr Waugh told the court he was not concerned at that stage as the outbreak had occured 300 miles away in Essex.
On Wednesday 23rd February, Mr Waugh received a telephone call from MAFF vet Jim Dring in which he was informed of the disease being present at Cheale Meats and as a close-contact with the abattoir, requested that MAFF inspect his premises at Burnside Farm. Mr Waugh told the court that he had invited Mr Dring to inspect his pigs that very day and offered to meet Mr Dring, "Right now." Mr Dring didn't accept Mr Waugh's invitation.
Later that day, Mr Dring arranged an appointment following a telephone conversation with Mr Waugh's sister for the next day, Thursday, 22nd February at 2pm. Mr Waugh had anticipated going to Darlington on Thursday morning and said he would be back at Burnside between 12 and 1pm.
JSS asked Mr Waugh whether he would have noticed any of the symptoms in his pigs as described by Dr Kitching in his evidence. Mr Waugh confirmed that he would have noticed the symptoms but his pigs showed no sign of having the disease and they were feeding normally. The pigs were still eating and not lethargic.
Mr Waugh said he was still unconcerned about having the disease as Cheale Meats was a considerable distance away from Burnside Farm and stated, "My pigs went to Cheale Meats on the 16th - I think there were 38 on the 15th (time of leaving) and nothing was lame. They all went onto the top deck of the wagon. There was nothing wrong with the pigs."
Mr Waugh did not attend Darlington Mart as planned owing to the exportation-ban being imposed and instead went to Burnside Farm to wait for Mr Dring. Mr Waugh said he fed sows and generally worked around the premises.
At 2pm, Mr Dring and Mr Storey arrived, whilst a third MAFF official, Mr Hine, visited Mr Brown's premises at Heddon View. According to Mr Waugh, Mr Storey drew a plan of the buildings whilst Mr Waugh accompanied Mr Dring into Shed 2 and not as Mr Dring claimed, Shed 1. Mr Dring checked every pen and every pig including snouts in Shed 2 and said to Mr Waugh, "Nothing to worry about there."
Mr Waugh and Mr Dring entered Shed 3. According to Mr Waugh there was very little to be concerned about and in one pen found a pig with a loose nail but no blisters. Mr Dring asked Mr Waugh for permission to kill a smaller pig in the same pen. Mr Waugh agreed to the request. The pig was then hung on the wall in order that Mr Dring could look into the dead animal's mouth.
Mr Waugh claims that Mr Dring was uncertain about identifying FMD and said if a blood-sample were to be taken it would have to be sent to London. Mr Waugh replied that, "If it had to be sent to London, it had to be sent to London." Mr Hine arrived at Burnside Farm from Heddon View and assisted the proceedings and further blood-samples were taken from pigs in pen 14 and 16.
Mr Waugh stated that MAFF officials used cruel methods in order to obtain samples by using a wire-noose that went round the pig's head and into the mouth and proceeded to drag the struggling pigs a distance of 20 metres to the front of the pens (through the faeces) to be blood-sampled.
According to Mr Waugh, the temperatures of the pigs had been taken and he was informed that they were, "Normal."JSS asked Mr Waugh whether Mr Dring and Mr Storey did anything else that day and Mr Waugh stated that Mr Storey wanted to inject another pig in order to "Slow it down." Mr Waugh agreed and further samples were taken including a nose tissue sample that had to be removed by the use of pliers by Mr Dring.
Mr Waugh stated he was only given the "C" form that day, and not an "A" form as suggested by Mr Dring. According to Mr Waugh, he was given the "A" form (notification of an infected premises) by Mr Dring at 10.30am the following day, Friday, after a telephone conversation between Mr Dring and London confirming FMD on the premises, although, both forms had been signed and dated by Mr Hine on the previous day.
After the telephone call confirming confirmation of FMD, Mr Dring asked if Mr Waugh had any cooked-swill on the premises. Mr Waugh informed Mr Dring that he hadn't had any cooked-swill as Mr Waugh had been unable to get out and cook the swill on Thursday at Mr Brown's farm. Mr Waugh had pig-meal on farm and, knowing he was unable to visit Mr Brown's uninfected premises on Friday morning, had already ordered meal from Stokesley following confirmation of FMD. According to Mr Waugh, Mr Dring queried his actions on ordering meal to which Mr Waugh replied, "I thought we were talking FMD here, Jim."
Mr Dring asked if any (un-cooked) unprocessed-swill was on the premises. Mr Waugh confirmed that unprocessed swill was on the concrete apron outside the premises and had not been able to be transported to Heddon View on Thursday due to the MAFF visit. Mr Dring suggested that Mr Waugh feed the unprocessed-swill to the pigs. According to Mr Waugh, he questioned this action but was informed that it would not matter as his pigs were all going to be killed due to FMD.
According to Mr Waugh's testimony, he accompanied Mr Dring to Shed 2 and whilst in that building, Mr Dring stated that "this pig has had it for 4 weeks, this one for
three weeks, this one for two weeks." Mr Waugh replied, "Well, that puts you right in it, Jim. You were here 4 weeks ago, why didn't you find it then?" Mr Waugh alleges that Mr Dring then changed his opinion and said, "this one has had it two weeks, this one for two weeks."
Mr Waugh was requested by Mr Dring to nominate an auctioneer as valuer for compensation purposes and requested Mr Thompson from Thirsk. Despite numerous attempts to contact Mr Thompson at the mart and by mobile phone, Mr Waugh had to abandon his initial suggestion. According to Mr Waugh, Mr Dring suggested an auctioneer from Ponteland Mart but this was unacceptable to Mr Waugh as he said that particular auctioneer had little or no experience in valuing 'finished-pigs'. Mr Waugh stated, "This would be like getting a coal-man to value your antiques."
Later that morning, another auctioneer from Hexham Mart, Mr Whitlock telephoned Mr Waugh and asked if FMD had been confirmed at Burnside Farm. Mr Waugh offered Mr Whitlock the task of valuing the pigs that were due to be slaughtered.
Mr Waugh continued with his evidence on Thursday 24th MAY. Mr Waugh is also charged with recording keeping offences in relation to two pig movements onto Burnside Farm.
JSS asked Mr Waugh as to the date that two pigs were delivered to Burnside Farm by Mr Dunn. Mr Waugh informed the court that the pigs arrived on Sunday Jan 7th and not 14th January as the prosecution had claimed. Mr Waugh produced his chequebook for the benefit of the court. Mr Waugh confirmed his brother Ronnie always wrote the cheques and that the writing on the chequebook stub, was that of Ronnie Waugh. Mr Dunn gave Ronnie Waugh the pig movement license and he proceeded to put the license into his pocket and would normally have subsequently given the license to his sister to record in the movement book.
JSS asked Bobby Waugh who should have taken steps to ensure that the appropriate documentation had been accurately recorded. Mr Waugh replied, "Ronnie, but he was bad (ill) at the time and had been bad before (this) - with cancer." Bobby Waugh confirmed that the license was later found in Ronnie Waugh's pocket.
After a short recess, the court resumed at 11.45am. JSS asked Mr Waugh what he would normally use to bed-up his pigs and he replied, "Sawdust." Mr Waugh said that he was unable to bed-up his pigs between February 22nd and February 24th. Asked what effect that would have on the conditions of his pigs, Mr Waugh relied that "this would make the pigs dirty and the floor would be slippy."
Mr Waugh confirmed that Mr Dring had asked if he could use Mr Waugh's sawdust on the morning of Friday 23rd February in order to make a disinfectant-mat across the road. Mr Waugh said he wanted to bed his pigs but agreed to Mr Dring's request. (On Saturday 24th February Trading Standards officers took video-evidence of the pigs and the dirty conditions of the pens.This evidence and conditions that the pigs were kept under was produced in court at the beginning of the trial)
Mr Waugh said that he had never been cruel to his pigs and had never allowed a stick to be used on the farm (in order to move pigs) and had never fed unprocessed swill to his animals except on Friday 23rd February.
At 12.12am, Mr Paddy Cosgrove cross-examined Mr Waugh on behalf of the prosecution.
Mr Cosgrove opened his cross-examination in a ferocious manner by stating Mr Waugh had lied at the time by deliberately failing to notify MAFF officials and had continued to lie since, and had lied under oath. Mr Waugh replied to Mr Cosgrove's repeated allegations about Mr Waugh lying by stating to Mr Cosgrove, "You're the one that's lying."
Mr Cosgrove stated that Mr Waugh knew his animals were infected and deliberately failed to notify officials of the disease. Mr Waugh denied the allegations. Mr Waugh denied allegations about feeding unprocessed swill to his pigs by stating "It's not worth it. Trading Standards can walk in anytime and inspect the premises and so can MAFF. I've always boiled swill."
Mr Cosgrove questioned Mr Waugh as to the state of pig farming and suggested that Mr Waugh had fed unprocessed swill in order to save money. Mr Waugh denied the allegation and stated that he bought his own fuel and that it cost him £120 per week to cook swill at Heddon View Farm.
Mr Cosgrove suggested that Mr Waugh could have used a pumping system and hose-pipe to operate the swill extraction process at Heddon View but Mr Waugh said that the system required two people to operate and Mr Waugh was often on his own. He therefore preferred to bail the processed-swill into drums, take it to Burnside Farm and bucket-fed his pigs. No matter which system used, Mr Waugh still had to transport the swill to Burnside.
At 3.45pm, JSS re-examined Mr Waugh's evidence.
Mr Waugh was asked how he believed the disease got into his herd and replied, "I don't know but its been in the sheep for a long time. I'd burned some sheep in my farm just prior to this that belonged to a friend of Mr Leadbitter."
Proceedings ended at 4pm.
Bruce Jobson - 25th May 2002