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Slaughterhouse operative jailed for food safety and animal cruelty offences

A slaughterhouse operative has been jailed for ten months and banned from keeping farm animals for 15 years after pleading guilty to a string of food safety, animal cruelty and animal movement offences.

Anthony Bagshaw of Back Lane, Butterton, near Leek, was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court today after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to a total of 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 offences were committed between August 2014 and March 2015 and included carrying out slaughter without the required post mortem inspections and slaughtering pigs illegally. The court heard how Bagshaw, aged 36, had committed nine animal welfare offences such as throwing a sheep against a metal gate, kicking sheep and pigs and hitting a sheep on the head with a bolt.

Sentencing, Judge Johnathan Gosling said Bagshaw had disregarded regulations deliberately and that his treatment of animals was deplorable. Bagshaw was banned from owning, keeping or transporting farm animals for 15 years.

The investigation was jointly carried out by Staffordshire County Council, the Food Standards Agency and Defra.

Staffordshire County Council’s principal trading standards officer Steph Young, who was the investigating officer, said:

“The sentence given by the judge today demonstrates the seriousness of this case and we’re pleased with the outcome. 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 said:

“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 pro-active 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 where we find evidence of law-breaking.”