A farmer (and hunter with the Cheshire Foxhounds and Cheshire Forest Hunt) who sold a bogus cow to a local abattoir using false papers has been ordered to pay fines and court costs of more than £2200 following action by Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards Department.
Leyland magistrates sitting on 21 May heard how Anthony Kirkham, 58, of Tarporley, Cheshire had sold the cow for £346 to the abattoir in Bamber Bridge in April last year.
But he was tripped up after staff realised that the cow’s “chocolate-brown” colour was not right for the breed they had been sold. A check of the animal’s paperwork quickly revealed that it had been given a bogus identity belonging to a cow that had died of pneumonia more than six months earlier.
Magistrates were told that under European legislation, all cattle are required to have their own identity papers so that, in the event of a disease emergency like BSE or foot-and-mouth disease, the movements of infected animals can be quickly traced.
But in this case, Kirkham had taken the identity of a charolais cow – a white-coloured breed – and given it to this animal so that he could sell it. Magistrates even heard how just days before the sale, Kirkham had given the animal new eartags bearing the identification number of the dead beast.
In mitigation Kirkham expressed his regret for what had happened and offered his full apologies to the court. Magistrates heard that he was unable to explain what had happened but that he accepted full responsibility for the offences. It was also said that he had lost out financially after the abattoir had stopped payment and condemned the carcase.
The court was told that were it not for the diligence and alertness of abattoir staff the deception might well have gone undetected. Not only would this have led to Kirkham being paid in full, it would also have led to beef, the history of which may never be known, finding its way on to consumers’ plates.
Sentencing Kirkham, magistrates told him that he should know the importance of record keeping and the danger posed from undocumented animals entering the food chain. For the offences contrary to the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Cattle Identification Regulations 1998 he was fined £1600 and was ordered to pay costs of £648.21