Northallerton Auctions Limited were fined £2,000 today following a prosecution by North Yorkshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service over livestock welfare rules.
The company pleaded guilty to 5 animal welfare offences at Northallerton Magistrates Court. The offences were in relation to exposing unfit sheep for sale in the livestock mart, and also for failing to treat sheep visibly affected with sheep scab. The company was also ordered to pay £1,500 prosecution costs.
The court case involved the exposing for sale of four sheep at the market in September 2012. The County Council’s Trading Standards Service officers and an RSPCA market inspector identified welfare problems with the animals, which were examined by a local veterinary inspector and deemed unfit to be at the market. The sheep were suffering from severe lameness, mastitis and infestations of maggots.
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Subsequent checks were carried out on premises where the company kept other livestock, where clear signs of sheep scab were found in the flock. There was no evidence of appropriate treatment having been administered.
Graham Venn, Assistant Director, Trading Standards and Planning said:
We will continue to take action against those individuals who flout animal health and welfare rules which are in place to protect livestock to ensure they are kept in the highest of welfare standards.
We understand the impact that the economic downturn is having on the farming community and that times are very difficult. However it is important to ensure that an animal’s welfare is not compromised. I would like to advise all concerned that decisions on whether an animal is fit for transportation or for exposure for sale in a market should be based on an animal welfare basis and not purely for commercial reasons. I would urge anyone who was unsure on a fitness of animal to seek prior veterinary opinion.