Ronald Norcliffe, 65, kept the cow and its calf in a barn but had not provided adequate lighting, breaching the Animal Welfare Act.
Huddersfield magistrates heard that Mr Norciffe, who had been a farmer for 30 years, did not even have electricity in his own house.
Officers from Kirklees Environmental Health department and the Government’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) visited Norcliffe’s farm at Scammonden, West Yorks, in August 2008 to carry out tuberculosis tests.
While there, they asked where Mr Norcliffe intended to keep his cows in winter. When he said he would use a barn underneath his house, he was told it was unsuitable because it had little natural light, no electric lights and the doors were kept closed.
There were three follow-up visits but things did not improve.
Carol English, prosecuting, said: “He said the cattle were fine and he always kept them this way. He wouldn’t keep the doors open as it was too cold. He said he would have lights fitted on a generator.”
An improvement notice was served on Norcliffe by a DEFRA vet, ordering him to improve the lighting.
But on two further visits the lights were not switched on.
Bob Carr, representing Norcliffe, ridiculed the Kirklees Council prosecution.
He said: “I don’t know what the psychological or ethological needs of these cows are and I’m sure Mr Norcliffe doesn’t either.
“I still have no idea how much lighting is appropriate for a cow – and this man, who has had 30 years of farming experience and is keeping these animals healthy, is none the wiser.
“In my respectful submission this didn’t do any harm whatsoever.”
As well as the fine, Norcliffe was ordered to pay £50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. However, he was not stopped from keeping cattle.
The council defended the prosecution, the first it has brought under the Animal Welfare Act in nine years. A spokesman said: “Our animal health and welfare officers paid several visits to Mr Norcliffe and worked hard to find simple, low-cost solutions – some as simple as cleaning windows and
trimming back bushes obscuring the windows which could have been easily introduced.
“We offered help and advice, but Mr Norcliffe failed to improve conditions for his livestock.”