A farmer in Northern Ireland has been sentenced in court for causing “unnecessary suffering” to animals.

38-year-old Michael Maguire of Carrive Crescent, Cloughoge, Newry was sentenced at Newry Magistrates Court of one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to eight bovine animals.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said Maguire was previously convicted on March 20, 2023.

Unnecessary suffering

Maguire was disqualified from keeping, owning, participating in keeping animals, being party to an arrangement under which animals are kept, from transporting and arranging transport of farm animals for two years.

He also received three months’ imprisonment suspended for two years, a £3,000 fine and was ordered to pay back £5,000 compensation to DAERA.

The case arose from the examination of tuberculosis (TB) reactor cattle from Maguire’s herd at the slaughter plant.

Departmental inspectors noticed the TB testing sites on the animals’ necks were largely not typical tuberculosis reactions.

The TB test sites from nine animals were sent to a veterinary pathologist for post-mortem examination and in the opinion of the pathologist, the TB test sites from eight animals were interfered with to cause the atypical reactions.

A DAERA senior vet outlined how the deliberate interference with the animals’ skin caused inflammation and unnecessary suffering, and how that suffering was significant and prolonged with the atypical reactions being still visible long after the TB test was completed.

DAERA said it gives high priority to the welfare of animals and operates a vigorous enforcement policy to ensure full compliance of regulatory requirements.

Any breaches are investigated thoroughly and offenders prosecuted as necessary.