Lancing farmer’s closure fears after ‘ridiculous’ new legislation introduced

Farmer Jenny Passmore (far right) with volunteers at Church Farm, Coombes, Lancing
Farmer Jenny Passmore (far right) with volunteers at Church Farm, Coombes, Lancing

Children and adults can no longer get up close with baby lambs at Church Farms, Coombes, in Lancing as a result of ‘ridiculous’ new legislation being introduced.

Farmer Jenny Passmore said the new legislation brought in means farms which exhibit animals for educational or entertainment purposes now need an ‘animal activity licence’.

People are very upset and we are upset because they are upset.

Jenny Passmore

The 65-year-old now fears she will be forced to close her land to the public due to the new rules brought in by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

“I think it is ridiculous and too far,” she said. “We have always had a pen where children and adults can get in and bottle feed the lambs but this year we have had to stop that as apparently it is unhygienic under this new legislation.

“People should be allowed to choose whether they get in with the lambs or not.

“It is a real shame for the children too. It is part of life and growing up that you can touch animals – children connect with the countryside this way.”

Jenny said she had to pay £300 for the licence, which lasts for three years. She also had to be CRB checked.

As part of the licence more health and safety signs and sinks have had to be put up at the farm in Coombes Road.

In order to stop people from climbing into the lambing pen, Jenny said she has has had to take on more volunteers.

Church Farm Coombes has welcomed families during the lambing and calving season for 40 years. Jenny’s family has been farming for five generations.

“People are very upset and we are upset because they are upset,” added Jenny.

“Defra have got it wrong. I am hoping to reopen next year but I want to see if I can do something about this. People won’t be interested in coming here anymore.”

A Defra spokesman said: “One of activities that the 2018 regulations focus on is the welfare of animals being exhibited by businesses, which does now cover open farms.

“There was a purposeful shift to improve protection and intentionally broaden the requirements for licencing of businesses that exhibit animals.

“The regulations require businesses to have a licence for keeping or training animals for live or recorded exhibition. All such licences last for three years.

“Local authorities are to decide which businesses require licences. There are separate licences required to operate travelling circuses and zoos.”

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