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Farmer fined for transporting animal with ‘serious’ injury

A farmer (57) has appeared in court for transporting an animal with a “serious” injury to a factory.

William Robert Gordon McNiece, with an address at Crossdall Road, Middletown, Armagh, went before Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 7th, 2022.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of transporting an animal that was not fit for the journey.

The judge handed him a fine to the tune of £200 and ordered him to pay a £15 offender levy.

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Regulations (NI) 2006 requires that animals must be fit to travel and must be cared for if they fall ill or are injured during transport.

Competent persons must accompany animals and transport them to their destinations without undue delay.

According to DAERA, those who have animals in their care either on-farm, in transit or at slaughter have a duty of care to look after that animals’ welfare.

Vet’s opinion

This particular court case came to light when a DAERA OV (Official Veterinary) surgeon at an abattoir examined an animal McNiece presented for slaughter.

The OV noted the animal had sustained a “serious” injury. The court heard the animal was euthanased as quickly as possible.

In the OV’s professional opinion, the injury was of a “severe and painful nature” from which it would not recover.

The OV advised that it should have been euthanased on-farm to prevent further suffering.

Furthermore, the court heard that the OV believed it would have been obvious that this animal was not fit for transport.

They said that by transporting to slaughter, McNiece caused “further unnecessary suffering”.

Animal welfare 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, said:

“The department gives high priority to the welfare of animals. It operates a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.”

“We investigate any breaches thoroughly and prosecute offenders as necessary,” the spokesperson added.

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