A farmer in Northern Ireland has been convicted and fined in court after pleading guilty to charges relating to the movement of cattle.

David Lee of Carrickaness Road, Dungannon appeared before Newry Magistrates’ Court on Monday (February 7, 2022) facing a total of ten charges.

Six counts related to the failure to notify the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) about the movement of 18 cattle onto the farmer's holding, while the remaining four charges related to 22 cattle being moved off his land.

The 61-year-old farmer pleaded guilty to all charges before the court and was fined £2,000 along with a £15 offender levy.

Cattle inspection

DAERA explained that the case arose when discrepancies were found during a cattle identification inspection by its Welfare and Enforcement Branch.

An administrative check found that the farmer had not submitted movement notifications for "a large number of cattle" within the statutory deadline of seven days.

In a statement, DAERA said that breaches of bovine identification regulations "weaken and undermine the cattle traceability system" in Northern Ireland; this includes the department's Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS).

When the movements of animals are notified to the department, they are recorded on the APHIS database.

"The provision, within statutory limits or upon request, of complete and timely information concerning cattle in the herd, to the department, is fundamental to the credibility and integrity of the department’s Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS)," the statement outlined.

"The current interest in food safety by both government and consumer groups means it is essential that the department is clearly seen to be implementing all legislation pertaining to the traceability of livestock," a spokesperson for DAERA added.