Department takes farmer to court over dead cattle found on his farm

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FIVE dead calves and two cows were found by Department of Agriculture veterinary inspectors on a County Limerick farm, Kilmallock Court heard.

Timothy Gleeson, of Buffanoka, Cappamore said the calves were not his and there was a delay in the knackery collecting the dead cows.

Elizabeth Clayton, Limerick veterinary inspector, said she and a number of officers visited an outside farm of Mr Gleeson’s on April 26, 2017.

“There were five dead calves in a horsebox. Three calves had no ear tags, two had ear tags,” said Ms Clayton. Two dead cows were also discovered, one lying in a ditch.

Answering questions from Eoin Lawlor, barrister representing the Department of Agriculture, Ms Clayton said the feed was inadequate in quantity and quality for the other cattle present.

All the carcasses were removed when the lands were inspected the next day.

Ms Clayton said Mr Gleeson was interviewed and he “maintained the five dead calves were not his”.

“He said he rang the knackery immediately [to collect the carcasses] after they died. He said he rang them seven times on a Saturday and was told he would be out on Monday,” said Ms Clayton.

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Another inspection took place on July 20, 2017. The court heard Mr Gleeson was loading eight cows to be taken for slaughter.

Ms Clayton examined the animals. Two were “severely lame” due to overgrown hooves and were “unfit for transport”. Ms Clayton told Mr Gleeson to release them into a field and get veterinary attention.

It later transpired that Mr Gleeson did transport the animals to a slaughter house. When questioned by Ms Clayton why he did this despite being told they were unfit to travel, Mr Gleeson replied: “I didn’t receive a restriction notice.”

Mr Gleeson pleaded guilty to two counts of transporting animals in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering, and one count of inadequate quantity and quality of feed for the cattle present.

Brian McInerney, barrister instructed by Con Barry, solicitor, on behalf of Mr Gleeson said it isn’t the “normal type of farming”.

“Mr Gleeson purchases cull cows - end of use Friesian dairy cows. If they go lame it affects yield. He brings them to his farm and moves them onto a factory to be killed,” said Mr McInerney, who described it as “filling a gap in the agricultural trade”.

The barrister said the delay in the carcasses being taken to the knackery was due to a truck breaking down. This was accepted by the State.

Mr McInerney said there were “no charges in relation to the carcasses”.

Regarding transporting the animals, Mr McInerney said the hauliers are licensed and can refuse to bring animals on welfare grounds.

“The animals were transported to a meat factory staffed by Department of Agriculture officials who can prevent animals entering the human food chain.

“With the benefit of hindsight he should not have transported them but they could have been rejected by the authorities and the hauliers,” said Mr McInerney, who added that the cows weren’t on Mr Gleeson’s farms for weeks.

Judge Marian O’Leary said any person who has possession of cows for any length of time should “look after them”.

Mr McInerney said his client has pleaded guilty to three “considerably reduced charges” and and an extreme penalty was “not warranted and not just”.Mr Gleeson was fined €1,000 each on the transportation counts and €750 for inadequate feed.

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