A slaughterhouse had been under a strict obligation to sever a chicken’s main arteries systematically and a concomitant strict obligation to spare the bird avoidable pain under Regulation 1099/2009 art.3(1) and art.15(1), as enforced in the UK under the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) Regulations 2015 reg.30(1)(g). Social concern regarding animal welfare meant that it was appropriate to displace the presumption that proof of mens rea was required.
An abattoir company was entitled to its costs of proceedings from the grant of permission to appeal against a conviction under the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2010 reg.17 for failing to give an inspector the assistance required to take samples. Although the company’s contention that no offence had been committed had been rejected in a preliminary ruling in the Crown Court, no provision had been identified by the Crown which gave an inspector the power to require such samples, and the company’s failure did not therefore constitute an offence.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 s.31, the time limit for trying an offence of causing an animal unnecessary suffering was six months from the date upon which the prosecutor considered that it was in the public interest to prosecute an individual. The “prosecutor” meant the CPS and not investigators. A certificate under s.31(2) was not essential and did not have to be issued before proceedings were commenced; where a certificate was defective a prosecutor could issue a new certificate.
Where a stay of prosecution had been granted in a case where a slaughterhouse had been charged with the offence of failing to remove spinal cord material from an animal carcass, the district judge had erred, in the circumstances, in declining to make a defendant’s costs order in favour of the slaughterhouse.