"It just went stupid"

It was a short procedure in the district court of Freising . And this despite the fact that the defendant initially showed little understanding for the fine of 150 euros imposed on him. He had therefore raised an objection to this, but withdrew it on the advice of judge Tanja Weihönig. The amount is in the “lowest range,” assured Weihönig. Continuing the procedure would only entail high costs and an external expert opinion. The notice was issued because the man had illegally sold a pregnant cow to a slaughterhouse.

The public prosecutor had accused the farmer of negligence after he handed over a cow for slaughter in November last year. However, the animal was in the last third of pregnancy and should therefore not have been slaughtered according to paragraph four of the Animal Products Trade Prohibition Act. The prosecutor said the defendant should have noticed that. According to a statement by the district office, a cow’s pregnancy can be recognized by milk samples.

Such an incident has never happened to him, says the farmer

For 40 years he has been trying to give his animals a good life, the farmer said in court. Despite sudden hearing loss, financial and health problems, he “tears to Hax for the critters”. In 2000, for example, he invested in a pen for his 45 or so dairy cows, and last year he bought a bull. The bull was intended specifically for reproduction and kept separately from the cows. But the bull had a mind of his own and he managed to escape to his female conspecifics. “He slipped through me,” admitted the defendant. From his point of view, however, this incident was not particularly tragic – none of the cows seemed pregnant to him.

He controls this precisely in order to be able to recognize which cattle may be slaughtered and which not. Because killing a pregnant cow was out of the question for him and made no sense from an economic point of view, he said. The accused stated that he always had the selected animals examined by a veterinarian before they were transported to the slaughterhouse. Such an incident had never happened to him before.

“It just went silly,” Weihönig summed up, adding that the animal just “slipped through” the farmer. He did not act out of “bad will”, as she attested to him, so he could not be accused of intent. However, the farmer did not really see the fine. “I didn’t know that,” he defended himself. “You pay for something you didn’t know,” he said. “Sometimes something happens, even if you otherwise behave correctly,” replied the district judge. Nevertheless, the farmer should have better controlled and observed the four to five animals selected for slaughter. His ignorance does not, therefore, exempt him from punishment.

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