A veterinarian and the company he was working for have been charged for allegedly moving more than 60,000 cattle across state lines without proper veterinary inspection.
A federal grand jury indicted Eugene Barber & Sons, Inc., also known as Barber & Sons, of Lexington, Kentucky, with one count of conspiracy, one count of moving cattle in violation of federal law, and one count of aiding and abetting a false statement.
Included in the indictment was veterinarian John M. Moran, 64, of Flemingsburg, Kentucky, with one count of conspiracy, one count of aiding and abetting moving cattle in violation of federal law, and one count of making a false statement.
Barber & Sons and Moran are alleged to have conspired to violate the Animal Health Protection Act, a regulation that is intend to protect the health and welfare of the public by preventing, detecting, and eradicating the spread of diseases in animals that are shipped within the United States. Under federal law prior to shipment across state lines cattle are required to be inspected by a veterinarian. Health certificates are then issued by the veterinarian attesting to the inspection with appropriate state authorities.
The indictment alleges that Moran falsely certified inspecting cattle for Barber & Sons. Moran had in fact pre-signed the interstate certificate of veterinary inspection without inspecting the cattle.
It is alleged that from January 28, 2013 to September 25, 2015, Moran certified at least 600 false interstate certificates of veterinary inspection for shipment of more than 60,000 cattle. In exchange, he was paid over $19,000 by Barber & Sons.
The indictment was released by the Department of Justice on Sept. 6. Robert M. Duncan Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General; William Swartz, Area Director, United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service; and Mark McCormack, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, made the announcement.
The Department of Justice indicates that the charges are accusations at the moment and the defendants are “presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.”
According to the Lexington Herald Leader, president, vice president and secretary of Barber & Sons, Gene Barber, Larry Barber and Austin Paul. The Kentucky secretary of state’s office lists them all as being members of the Blue Grass Stockyards, LLC. However, the indictment does not list the stockyards.
The Blue Grass Stockyards chief operating officer, Jim Ackers, told the Lexington Herald Leader, that he knew little about the case “because it doesn’t involve the stockyards.”
Barber & Sons and Moran are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 21 at 10:30 am in Lexington, according to federal prosecutors. The case is being investigated by USDA and FDA.