A Northern Ireland-based farmer has been charged with multiple animal welfare offences, including failure to isolate an animal with tuberculosis (TB) and failure to notify the movements and births of cattle. 64-year-old John Thomas Murphy – also known as Sean T – of Carnally in Newry was fined £2,100 and given a two-year suspended prison sentence, plus a £15 offender levy, by Newry Magistrates Court today (Monday, December 20).

Mr. Murphy had failed to notify the movement of 14 cattle off his premises and the births of eight cattle. He was also convicted on one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to animals, one charge of leaving animals unattended, one charge of failing to comply with duty imposed under animal regulations and as mentioned above, one charge of failing to isolate an animal with TB.

His case arose from a number of discrepancies found during a cattle identification inspection carried out by Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Welfare and Enforcement Branch. The branch was also tasked with the seizure of a TB-reactor which Mr. Murphy had failed to present for collection and slaughter. The reactor animal was found mixing with other animals – in breach of the isolation notice. During the inspection, the team found a number of animals suffering unnecessary pain and distress and animals in need of veterinary attention. The findings led to today’s charges.

Acting on animal welfare

Last week, Agriland reported on another animal welfare case in England, where a Cotswold farmers was sentenced to 26-weeks in prison after he pleaded guilty to 22 offences – including burying at least six sheep in a heap of rotting potatoes. Stephen Redman, also in his sixties, received his suspended sentence and was ordered to pay costs amounting to £6,119 at a hearing on December 15. Among the offences brought by Gloucestershire County Council’s trading standards were: Not reporting animal movements and deaths, failing to properly dispose of animal carcasses and falsifying the birth records of 12 cattle.