Slaughterman breached health laws
An "unscrupulous" slaughterman was ordered to pay more than £2,000 after he admitted breaching health laws and not complying with tests for "mad cow" disease (BSE).
Andrew Goatman, 33 of North Huish, South Brent, pleaded guilty to four offences, including two of breaking animal by-product regulations relating to the disposal of carcasses.
Magistrates at Exeter heard Goatman, also a fallen stock collector, had arrived in his former refuse truck at a rendering plant last year with animal material so decomposed it was almost impossible to identify individual animals.
The court was told he collected livestock carcasses and by-products mainly from local farmers but failed to dispose of the material within the accepted 48-hour period, often delaying delivering by more than two weeks.
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Devon County Council's Trading Standards team said it received a number of complaints about Goatman's business and launched an investigation into his activities in April 2011.
Goatman pleaded guilty to two offences relating to TSE (Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies) Regulations 2010 and two further offences relating to animal by-products regulations, all in January and April 2011.
During their investigation, the council also discovered Goatman had failed to comply with his legal duty to submit cattle carcasses for brain stem testing for BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathies) within the legal time limit, with one carcass not submitted.The testing is vital in the control and eradication of BSE in cattle.
He was fined £535 and ordered to pay £1,500 to the council towards costs.
Officials said Mr Goatman had "jumbled" different carcases together and keeping them for a long period of time so that fewer trips to the factory were required, saving time and money in diesel costs.
Councillor Roger Croad, cabinet member for trading standards, said the laws were "vital" to the interests of Devon's farming community and taken very seriously.
"When farm animals die, they need to be disposed of properly – they cannot simply be left to rot in a field or be thrown in a ditch to decompose and spread bacteria," he said.
"This case sends a clear message to those who take chances with public health and the welfare of farmed animals, and jeopardise the business interests of those who operate within the law."