Getting involved in the sale of illegal goat meat has cost a New Plymouth chef $2500 in fines.
Nilesh Kumar's involvement was revealed in the New Plymouth District Court last week after he pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Animals Act.
A North Taranaki man who the Ministry of Primary Industries alleges is the main offender in the illegal trade and is jointly charged with Kumar will go to trial next year.
Kumar, who was remorseful and had been unaware what he was doing was illegal, had only a small role in the enterprise, his lawyer Paul Keegan said.
Goat meat was prized in Kumar's Fijian Indian community, Mr Keegan said.
Judge Allan Roberts commented that he was never able to find goat on the menu of New Plymouth Indian restaurants.
Mr Keegan said this would be because Indian people would keep legally purchased meat for themselves rather than sell it through their restaurants.
He advised the judge to purchase legally processed goat meat from a city butcher's shop.
The ministry's summary of facts, not read out to the court, outlines Kumar's role in slaughtering and processing goats in the front paddock of a North Taranaki property along with an unnamed person on February 8 and 15, 2013.
Kumar processed the goats, skinning and gutting them and hanging them from hooks in a tree.
On March 8 Kumar collected five goat carcasses from the property, putting them in rubbish bags and into the boot of his vehicle.
The ministry was told that Kumar would buy the goat from a farmer in Waitara for $20-$30 then take them to Auckland and onsell them for $80-$90.
Several other witnesses, from both Taranaki and Auckland, informed the ministry they had bought whole goat carcasses from Kumar.
Kumar breached the law because meat sold for human or animal consumption must be slaughtered and processed at an abattoir that operates a registered risk management programme, the ministry says.
The maximum penalty for breaching the act is two years jail and a $10,000 fine.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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