Case Snapshot
Case ID: 6559
Classification: Unlawful Trade/Smuggling
Animal: sheep
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Sunday, Dec 31, 2000

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: John Walsh

John Walsh, imported sheep which led to the first case of foot-and-mouth in Northern Ireland in 2001.

Walsh brought a consignment of sheep into Northern Ireland from Carlisle in Cumbria in February that year at the beginning of the foot-and-mouth outbreak. They were supposed to go for slaughter at an abattoir but the deal fell through and they ended up instead on a farm in south Armagh. The animals were discovered to have the disease at the end of that month.

The authorities in Northern Ireland said at the time the animals in question had been illegally imported into the province. But Walsh, who fled to England following the furore over the outbreak, protested his innocence, saying he did not intentionally buy diseased sheep.


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