27 June 2000
Farmer jailed in Irish BSE fraud case

by FWi staff

AN Irish farmer was jailed for five years after deliberately importing a BSE-infected animal so he could claim IR75,000 for the slaughter of his entire herd.

James Sutton, who farms 90 acres (36 hectares) in Clonakilty in west Cork, had hoped to qualify for substantial compensation under the Irish BSE policy.

In Ireland, whole herds are slaughtered where one animal is found to be BSE-infected. The government pays the current market price for each animal.

Before importing the animal from Northern Ireland in 1996, he had doubled the size of his herd to more than 140 cattle to maximise the compensation.

The scam was uncovered when the imported animal was found to have been given a new ear-tag, though it was said to be five years old.

Furthermore, the animals identification papers also showed it had a full set of horns, while the imported animal had no horns.

Mr Sutton was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on Friday (23 June).