Dumped cow costs farmer thousands

A FARMER who illegally slaughtered a cow and failed to dispose of its remains properly has been fined thousands of pounds.

Clive Lawrence, the owner of Sheltons Farm Shop in East Haddon, was fined £27,000 and ordered to pay £16,949 after a hearing at Northampton Magistrates Court on Friday.

It follows on from a hearing on Friday, January 6, in which Lawrence, 67, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the identification and registration of his cattle, failure to comply with regulations regarding the disposal of animal by-products and 13 food safety and hygiene offences. This included a failure to protect food from contamination that was likely to make it unfit for human consumption.

A two day investigation was carried out in December 2010 by Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards and an environmental health team from Daventry District Council.

Cameron Crowe, prosecuting, said: “Because they couldn’t be properly identified and therefore legally slaughtered, these cattle were in fact worthless to the defendant unless the meat was to be slaughtered and therefore sold illegally, and their health couldn’t be guaranteed.”

He said the inspection also found health-marked meat contaminated by the illegally slaughtered produce.

Neil Clark, defending, said: “It has been a wake-up call for Mr Lawrence. He has tidied his farm and he has tidied his shop.

“He passed a recent examination and that visit was unannounced, so it wasn’t a case of him preparing for a visit.”

The news of Lawrence’s fine has been welcomed by the two councils who carried out the investigation which led to the court case.

Cllr Steve Osborne, DDCs housing and health portfolio holder said: “The presence of contaminated illegal meat in an unhygienic shop that was open to customers posed a deplorable risk to public health.

“The prompt action of our environmental health officers removed the risk immediately and they have since worked with Mr Lawrence to help ensure that it does not happen again.”

Cllr Ben Smith, county council cabinet member for environment said: “This is a very serious matter; by not complying with regulations regarding cattle identification and failing to dispose of the remains of a dead animal in the proper way this farmer was risking public health and breaking the law.”