Slaughterhouse operative jailed for animal cruelty violations

A man working as a slaughterhouse operative has been sentenced to 10 months and banned from keeping farm animals for 15 years after pleading guilty to a series of food safety, animal cruelty and animal movement offences. 

Anthony Bagshaw, from Butterton near Leek, was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court yesterday (Monday, 22 August) after pleading guilty to 24 offences, including seven food safety offences, nine animal welfare offences and seven animal movement offences and one offence under the consumer protection regulations.

The violations, which included carrying out slaughter without the required post-mortem inspections and slaughtering pigs illegally, took place between August 2014 and March 2015. Thirty-six-year-old Bagshaw’s animal welfare offences saw him throw a sheep against a metal gate, kicking sheep and pigs and hitting sheep on the head with a bolt.

Judge Jonathan Gosling said that Bagshaw had disregarded regulations deliberately and that his treatment of animals was deplorable. The joint investigation was carried out by Staffordshire County Council, the Food Standards Agency and Defra.

“The sentence given by the judge today demonstrates the seriousness of this case and we’re pleased with the outcome,” commented Staffordshire Country Council’s principle trading standards officer Steph Young.

“Bagshaw put people’s health and safety at risk by introducing meat into the food chain without proper checks, and with a lack of traceability. He was well aware of the regulations and this has been reflected by the sentence. His treatment of animals was shocking and it is absolutely right that he has been banned from keeping animals for so long.”

Staffordshire county council leader Philip Atkins explained: “Farming and food production play an important and valuable role in Staffordshire’s economy and the public rightly expects the highest standards of animal welfare to be observed and enforced where necessary. We do a great deal of proactive work in the industry and find the vast majority are hard-working and abide by the rules. We will always take action where people’s health and safety is put at risk and were we find evidence of law-breaking.”

Jason Feeney, chief operating officer at the Food Standards Agency, said: 'We welcome the sentencing today and are pleased that the defendant recognised he broke the law in relation to meat hygiene and animal welfare breaches. The FSA will not tolerate food crime that endangers both consumers and animals alike.

'We hope the sentencing is a major deterrent to those who think they can profit from cutting corners and jeopardising food safety.

'I would like to thank Stafford County Council and the police service for working closely with the FSA to ensure food criminals are brought to justice.'

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