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3 October 2013, 10:51
A Suffolk farmer has been told to pay more than £100,000 for the unlawful slaughter of cattle and the subsequent illegal sale of meat across the county.
Eric Moss, 72, was ordered to pay £83,000 as the proceeds of crime act for his unlawful behaviour between July 2007 and May 2009.
He was also fined £15,000 after pleading guilty for not registering or recording his cattle movements, births or deaths at an earlier hearing in November 2011 and was ordered to pay a total of £18,000 costs at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday.
The Government introduced strict requirements to register cattle following the outbreak of BSE in the 1990s, when it was found that the public were at risk of contracting the degenerative brain disease CJD if they consumed infected meat.
An inspection in 2009 found 93 cattle on Botany Farm, Farnham that were not registered with the British Cattle Movement Service. Officers also found that 94 registered cattle could not be traced and were no longer on the farm during a time when Mr Moss was selling his own beef to farmers markets, restaurants and hotels across the county.
Following a seven day hearing, His Honour Judge Khalil said that he was; “sure that the unlawful slaughter and butchery of Botany Farm cattle had taken place at Mr Moss’s direction”. He also went on to state that although he could not be sure where the animals had been slaughtered he was sure that meat had been packaged and labelled on Botany Farm for sale to the public.
Councillor Colin Spence, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for public protection said; “This is a clear case of how important our intervention can be in keeping Suffolk people safe. By failing to provide the crucial records about the number of cattle, and their movement to and from the farm, Mr Moss has committed offences which could have serious consequences to public health.
“It’s also a successful example of how the different agencies work together, and demonstrates the importance of the work that is undertaken to ensure meat is safe and can be traced to its farm of origin.”