Food Standards Agency
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FSA welcomes sentencing of slaughterhouse operative

The FSA welcomed this week’s successful prosecution of a slaughterhouse operative in Staffordshire. Mr Anthony Bagshaw was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment at Stafford Crown Court.

The case, prosecuted with the Crown Prosecution Service, is a significant landmark for the FSA in the successful use of covert footage captured by an animal rights organisation as evidence in a criminal case.

Mr Bagshaw was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for the food safety offences, and an additional 2 months imprisonment for the animal welfare/movement offences, with no separate penalty for the other offences. 

An investigation took place as a result of covert cameras installed in Mr Bagshaw’s plant in Leek, Staffordshire, by a non-profit organisation. 

This multi-agency investigation was carried out by the FSA and Staffordshire Council, resulting in offences being laid jointly by the CPS and the FSA’s prosecution team. 

In May 2016, Mr Bagshaw pleaded guilty to 24 offences, which included:

  • serious animal welfare breaches
  • food safety offences (illegal slaughter without inspections taking place or slaughtering a species he was not licensed to slaughter)
  • movement of animals without proper authorisation
  • trading standards offences (sale of meat without traceability information). 

In sentencing, his Honour Judge Gosling remarked that Mr Bagshaw ‘disregarded regulatory requirements deliberately and over a long period [of time]’; and that the food offences ‘put food safety seriously at risk’ and had the effect of ‘undermining confidence that the public have in regulatory controls on food’.  He described some of the welfare offences – such as hitting sheep on the head with a stun gun or kicking a pig in the face – as ‘wanton cruelty’, and remarked that ‘your ill treatment of a number of animals was a shock even to an observer with no interest in the welfare of stock for slaughter’. 

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.'

Channel website: https://www.food.gov.uk/

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