South Devon slaughterman fined for 'unscrupulous' actions
A SOUTH Devon based licensed slaughterman and fallen stock collector has been convicted of offences under Animal By-Products regulations following an investigation by Devon County Council.
Appearing at Exeter Magistrates Court, Andrew Goatman, 33, of North Huish, South Brent, pleaded guilty to two offences relating to Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Regulations 2010 and two further offences relating to Animal By-Products Regulations (2011).
The offences occurred in January and April 2011.
According to Devon County council, using a former refuse collection vehicle, Mr Goatman collected livestock carcasses and by-products mainly from local farmers.
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The law requires animal carcasses to be disposed of without undue delay, and accepted industry practice is that disposal should be within 48 hours.
However, the court was told that Mr Goatman often delayed delivering carcasses to the rendering plants, sometimes by more than two weeks.
Devon County Council's Trading Standards team had received a number of complaints about Mr Goatman's business and launched an investigation into his activities in April 2011 when they were notified by a local rendering plant that he arrived in the middle of the night with a large amount of animal material that was so decomposed it was almost impossible to identify carcasses individually.
During their investigation, the Council’s Trading Standards team also discovered that Mr Goatman failed to comply with his legal duty to submit cattle carcasses for brain stem testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathies, also known as mad cow disease, within the legal time limit.
This testing is vital in the control and eradication of BSE in cattle. One carcass was never submitted.
Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said:
“Animal By-Product Regulations are vital to the protection of our farmers and the associated livestock businesses, as well as the animals themselves, and the interests of Devon’s farming community are something we take 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.
"It is essential for both animal and human health as well as the monitoring of certain high priority public health issues like BSE, that the collection, disposal, recording and testing of such dead animals is done properly, that is why these laws exist.
"Licensed slaughter men and stock collectors are an important part of the livestock industry, and the vast majority operate to very high standards and remain within the law, but unfortunately Mr Goatman is not one of them.
"His actions to reduce the number of deliveries he made, jumble different carcases together and keep them for a long period of time so that fewer trips to the factory were required saved him time and money in diesel costs and gave him a commercial advantage over his competitors. His unscrupulous and careless actions disadvantaged the conscientious law-abiding operators who follow these important regulations to the letter, and put profits ahead of health which is unacceptable.
"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.
“Devon County Council, through its Trading Standards Service, will continue to take all necessary steps to protect residents and legitimate local businesses from such illegal business activities.”
Mr Goatman was fined £535 and ordered to pay £1500 to the County Council as a proportion of the costs.