NI farmer convicted of tampering with TB test

A Co. Tyrone farmer has been fined after he was convicted in court of tampering with a bovine TB test.

Mark Watters (47), of Tullybleety Road, Aughnacloy, appeared in Dungannon Magistrate’s Court today (March 8, 2021).

Watters was convicted of one charge of “carrying out an act or thing” to interfere with the results of a bovine TB herd test.

He was also charged with “causing unnecessary suffering to a number of cattle”.

The case came to light during a herd test and subsequent follow-up investigation carried out by officers from DAERA’s Welfare and Enforcement Branch.

Watters was fined £700 plus £15 offenders levy.

‘Breaches are investigated thoroughly’

A Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs spokesperson said: “The control of bovine tuberculosis is dependent on identifying reactor animals at tests conducted by the Department.

Interfering with the results of a TB test undermines the confidence of the general public in the honesty of the farming community and is misrepresentative of the majority of farmers who are affected by disease at this time.

“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.

“The department 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.”