Row Erupts over TB Tests

UK - A row has broken out over what has been labelled the unnecessary slaughter of healthy cattle because of new blood tests that have been introduced by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for bovine tuberculosis.
calendar icon 20 May 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

The concern among the farming community rose at the weekend following Sunday newspaper reports of one Devon farmer, where the tests showed 89 cattle in his herd were infected with TB.

However, when the cattle underwent a skin test, just one of the cattle proved positive.

The farmer, Tony Yewdall who runs a herd of 450 prize Guernsey cattle asked Defra for a retest, but this was disallowed and the 89 cattle were destroyed.

The report by Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph says that 84 of the cattle were destroyed unnecessarily and the farmer received £100,000 in compensation and the farm faces losses of another £100,000.

Defra claims that the blood tests detect the disease earlier, but post mortems on the animals slaughtered showed the disease in five.

Following the report, the organic monitoring body the Soil Association said: "Thus 84 healthy cows were unnecessarily killed, costing taxpayers nearly £100,000 in compensation alone."

Mr Yewdall, speaking after the results were  confirmed, is reported to have said: "All the others were killed unnecessarily. It's quite appalling. Because they were pedigree, we cannot replace these animals and we  shall have to see whether we can stay in business.

  • View the Sunday Telegraph story by clicking here.

    Further Reading

    - Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.
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