A CARLISLE slaughterman was caught on camera decapitating cattle before they had 'bled out,' proving they were dead. 

As sentence was passed on 40-year-old John Gibson, the presiding magistrate at the city's Rickergate court told the defendant: “Animals have suffered because of your work, or because of you rushing.”

The defendant pleaded guilty to four animal welfare offences – specifically, “permitting a further dressing procedure" on an animal before its bleeding had ended.

In this particular case, the court heard, dressing referred to the process by the slaughterman of removing the cow’s head before its bleeding had ceased or been continuing for a period of at least 30 seconds, thereby proving that life was extinct.

This delay is the minimum required by current animal welfare regulations.

Prosecutor Pam Ward said the offences came to light after CCTV footage of the defendant’s workplace – which is standard in England for abattoir areas where live animals are present – was reviewed by a vet.

It showed that the defendant, who works at the West Scottish Lamb abattoir on Brunthill Road, Kingstown, Carlisle, had not abided by the regulation that requires an animal, after it has been stunned, and then had its throat cut, to be bled for at least 30 seconds.

The bleeding regulation applies  after the animal has had its carotid or jugular arteries severed by the slaughterman, the court heard.

The CCTV review, said Mrs Ward, showed that the defendant had flouted the regulation on "four separate occasions" last year: on May 14 and 18 and on May 20, May 21.

Specifying the form of animal “dressing” involved, Mrs Ward added: “Specifically it was the removal of the animal’s head.”

From the dock of the court, the defendant, of Mount Pleasant Road, Currock, Carlisle, who earns £350 per week, said: “I got carried away.”

As she passed sentence, presiding magistrate Jill Robinson noted that the defendant had “got carried away” and was “too engrossed” in his work. As a result of him rushing, animals had suffered, she said. 

She imposed a £583 fine, with £85 costs and a £58 victim surcharge. The defendant, who was not legally represented, was told he can pay off his debt to the court at a rate of £50 per week.

The four offences are part of the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015.

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