Fermanagh farmer fined for incorrect records caught after avoiding TB tests

A Co. Fermanagh farmer convicted of failing to notify the deaths of nine cattle was caught after he avoided two TB tests.

He was also convicted on two charges of failing to present all animals for tuberculosis testing.

Robert Stewart Armstrong from Gorteen, Tempo, Enniskillen pleaded guilty to the charges at Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

He was fined £1,500 (€1,693) plus the £15 (€17) offender levy.

The court heard how the case arose after Armstrong failed to carry out a TB test on two occasions.

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) said the offences were then discovered during a cattle identification inspection carried out by inspectors from its Veterinary Service Welfare and Enforcement Branch.

Charges

Armstrong was convicted of two charges as a keeper of cattle, and without lawful excuse, of failure upon request by an authorised officer of the department to present all such animals or carcasses in his charge for a tuberculosis test on the said herd.

It breached the Tuberculosis (Examination and Testing) Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 1999, contrary to Article 52(1) of the Diseases of Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.

While the other charge – relating to the nine cattle whose deaths were not registered – breached the Cattle Identification (Notification of Births, Deaths and Movement) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999.

‘Undermines efforts to control TB’

Control of bovine tuberculosis (TB) is dependent on identifying reactor animals at tests conducted by the department, a spokesman for the department explained.

He said: “Failure to present animals for tests undermines efforts by both farmers and the department to reduce the incidence of disease.

The majority of herd keepers fully comply with the requirements of the TB eradication scheme.

“Current disease levels have risen to levels not seen for several years and therefore, especially at this time, it is vital all stakeholders work together to reduce the prevalence.”