A farmer has been convicted of one charge of doing an act or thing to affect the result of a TB herd test and one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a number of cattle.
Mark Watters (47), Tullybleety Road, Aughnacloy, appeared in Dungannon Magistrates’ Court earlier today (Monday, March 8th).
This case came to light during a tuberculosis herd test. Officers from DAERA’s Welfare and Enforcement Branch carried out a follow-up investigation.
- One charge of before, during or after the carrying out of an official test, did an act or thing, whereby the result of the test was intended to be affected, contrary to Article 7 of the Tuberculosis (Examination and Testing) Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 1999 and Article 52(1) of the Diseases of Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.
- One charge of, by reason of an act or failure to act by you, caused unnecessary suffering to a number of animals and you knew or ought reasonably to have known that the said act or failure to act would have that effect or was likely to do so, contrary to Section 4(1) of the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural (DAERA), highlighted that the control of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) is dependent on identifying reactor animals at tests conducted by the Department.
“Interfering with the results of a TB test undermines the confidence of the general public in the honesty of the farming community and is misrepresentative of the majority of farmers who are affected by disease at this time.”
“The majority of herd keepers fully comply with the requirements of the TB eradication scheme. Current disease levels have risen to levels not seen for several years and, therefore, especially at this time, it is vital all stakeholders work together to reduce the prevalence.”
“The Department gives high priority to the welfare of animals and operates a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements. Any breaches are investigated thoroughly, and offenders prosecuted as necessary.”
Mr Watters was fined £700 and ordered to pay the £15 offenders’ levy following the court appearance.