Animals that were sent for slaughter at an abattoir were suffering during their journey, a court has found.
Two cows destined for Halal Services Company Limited, in Lancaster, were found to be severely lame on their arrival.
Fines totalling more than £5,000 were imposed on a haulier, haulage firm and a farming company after they were found guilty of animal welfare offences, following a trial at Lancaster Magistrates’ Court.
The animals, which could have ended up on consumers’ dinner plates, were examined by Defra vets after they were called in by officers from Lancashire Trading Standards, which investigates animal health and welfare offences.
Prosecuting, Nick McNamara said officers were present at the abattoir as animals were unloaded last year, and noticed one animal was limping and exhibiting signs of lameness.
Another cow was found lying down in the trailer.
He said: “They concluded two of the animals were so lame they should not have been transported in that condition.”
They were slaughtered and, afterwards, the hind leg of one of the animals was sent for examination by a specialist who concluded it was a long-standing condition, and would have been present for at least one or two weeks.
Roy Swinson, of Swinson Cattle Haulage company, claimed both animals had been walking normally and had not exhibited symptoms when they got onto his trailer in Cumbria.
But Swinson, 67, and firm Swinson Cattle Haulage Company Limited, of Kingmoor, Carlisle, Cumbria, were found guilty of two counts of transporting a cow in a way likely to cause unnecessary suffering, and two of causing an animal to be transported in a way likely to cause unnecessary suffering.
He must pay fines totalling £3,000, £2,000 costs and a £125 surcharge.
The firm must pay a £1,000 fine, £125 surcharge and £750 costs.
Farming firm RG and W Whitfield Limited, of Silloth, Wigton, Cumbria, was found guilty of causing an animal to be transported in a way likely to cause unnecessary suffering and must pay a £1,250 fine, £125 surcharge and £750