Cork Marts fined over use of unauthorised drugs on cattle

Cork Marts has been convicted and fined for using unauthorised animal remedies on cattle after it was supplied with drugs as part of a deal with a Spanish company.

The Department of Agriculture yesterday brought a case against the co-operative company, alleging that Cork Marts administered animal remedies on cattle without authorisation on unspecified dates between February 26, 2014, and April 26, 2014.

Midleton District Court heard that the drugs were administered on the animals without their use being recorded or without any authorisations for their use being produced.

The drugs — Selectan and enrofloxacin — were supplied by Spanish company Vallarta. Both are used for respiratory infections in cattle, but are only available on prescription.

Veterinary Superintendent Brian Flaherty of the Department of Agriculture told the court that on April 26, 2014, he visited Cork Marts’ Midleton premises on foot of confidential information to inspect the site for the use of unauthorised animal remedies.

He told the court that he found six bottles of Selectan in an office at the rear of the premises, along with a substance in an unlabelled white container.

Workers at the mart told Mr Flaherty that the drugs were used to treat calves, and that they worked under general manager John Humphries.

Mr Humphries told Mr Flaherty that the drugs were supplied by Valarta and were paid for on a discounted invoice for calves sold by Cork Marts to the Spanish company.

Copies of the invoices provided by Cork Marts made reference to 24 bottles of Selectan at €30 each and four bottles of ‘Big Enro’ at €40, which Mr Flaherty suspected referred to the drugs in the unlabeled white container and that it contained enrofloxacin, an antibiotic.

Subsequent laboratory analysis showed this to be the case.

The court heard that Mr Humphries subsequently told Mr Flaherty that Cork Marts had imported the remedies by truck from Valarta, that he did not know if the products were authorised in Ireland and that he did not have a prescription for the drugs.

Judge Sheridan was told that Cork Marts had no previous convictions and that its staff co-operated with its investigations fully.

Cork Marts’ defence solicitor highlighted that the drugs in question are available on prescription in Ireland.

“The products in question are not dangerous to animals or human health,” defence for Cork Marts told Judge Brian Sheridan.

The court heard that Cork Marts kept no records of the remedies use on the animals.

Judge Sheridan ordered Cork Marts to pay a fine of €1,500 as well as €2,000 towards the cost of the Department of Agriculture’s investigation and €1,230 of its legal fees.


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