The Malta Independent 25 October 2016, Tuesday

Farmer Gianni Attard headed to Constitutional Court over breach of human rights

Gabriel Schembri Tuesday, 1 March 2016, 09:53 Last update: about 9 months ago

Later in March, Gozitan farmer Gianni Attard will appear in front of a Constitutional Court as he is claiming breach of fundamental human rights.

The Malta Independent went to visit the farm in Gharb and spoke to Mr Attard who painfully explained what had happened to his sheep on November of 2012.

“In the morning, at around 9:30am, I was walking in Rabat when suddenly a police car stopped by and ordered me to come inside. We then headed for the police station and they suddenly informed me that they were going to kill my sheep.”

Mr Attard claims he was under lock-up till 4pm of that same day. Once back to his farm next to the Chapel of San Dimitri in Gharb, Gianni Attard found almost half of his sheep stock gone.

Indicating the area which was usually occupied by the culled sheep, Mr Attard said that all he saw was blood stains on the wall.

No less than 216 sheep were killed. According to Mr Attard, most of the killed sheep were pregnant and their worth could some up to some €520,000.

Following this event, Gianni Attard’s lawyers have presented the case to appear in front of the Constitutional Court. They told this newsroom that their case is based on the breach of fundamental human rights, including illegal arrest.

Gianni Attard insists that the claim that the court has ordered the execution of the rest of the sheep is not true.

The Veterinary Department has said that the sheep had to be killed because the test could only be acquired once the animal is put down. Also, it appears that the same department deems every animal which is not registered as sick because its roots are not traced.

It appears that, according to results of samples by the Veterinary Services Department, none of the 216 sheep culled in 2012 were actually sick. In court, veterinary surgeon Frank Galea had testified that the sample from brain stems resulted negative to Mad Cow Disease.

Gianni Attard’s farm in Gharb is always guarded by two police officers 24 hours a day seven days a week. He said they were collectively being paid more than €500 per day. It is estimated that the Maltese taxpayers have already paid more than €600,000 for three years of constant surveillance.

Sunday’s speech by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat also focused on the controversial sheep-culling case of farmer Gianni Attard, saying that it has been made known that Mr Attard never met or spoke with Dr Muscat, meaning that the Prime Minister could have never promised anything to the farmer. This shows how Dr Busuttil has been caught out in a lie, he said.

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