Farmer switched ear tags; ID SWAPS RISKED TB DISEASE ENTERING FOOD CHAIN.
A FARMER swapped his cattle's identities, running the risk that TB-infected meat or milk could have got into the food chain, a court heard.
Emyr Jones Evans, 51, had been prepared to change ear tags to disguise the identity of animals and had admitted animal passport offences, a judge said yesterday.
But he was spared an immediate prison sentence after Mold Crown Court heard that he was a shadow of his former self after being kicked in the head by a horse.
Evans, of Bryn Golau, Llanfihangel near Llanfyllin, Oswestry, admitted a series of offences after the identities of cattle were swapped.
He received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and was placed on supervision for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay pounds 28,900 in costs.
Lee Reynolds, prosecuting for Powys County Council, said that there were about 200 milking cows on the 400-acre farm and during TB testing in 2009 ear tag discrepancies were discovered.
There was concern about the level of TB on the holding and movement restrictions were imposed.
In October and November 2009, 180 cattle found to be TB reactors were identified for slaughter for which the farm was compensated to the tune of pounds 400,000.
A further pounds 100,000 was due to be paid for further slaughtering.
But discrepancies were found - at slaughter a vet realised that a different animal had been sent - and it was not known what had happened to the one which should have slaughtered.
In another case a pedigree animal identified as a TB reactor was found back in the milking herd - an inferior animal had been presented for slaughter with the original animal's ID tags and passport.
Milk found on the farm had been destroyed but it was not known what happened during the periods before that.
Judge Philip Hughes said: "You stood to make a financial gain at the expense of public health."
Evans admitted six charges - fraud, cattle identification and TB regulation offences with 21 other offences taken into consideration.
The judge said he took into account his previous good character.
The significant mitigation was that he had suffered a serious injury in March 2010 after being kicked to the head by a horse.
"I accept that because of the accident you are a shadow of your former self," the judge told him.
Geraint Walters, defending, said that while there was an obvious risk there was no evidence that any infected produce had got into the food chain.
The defendant was no longer a partner in the farm, his future would be that of a hired hand, and it was clear that he was a shadow of his former self and had memory loss.
Injury: Emyr Jones Evans, 51, was said to be a shadow of his former self