Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Non-pure bull semen imported into Jersey

Jersey calf
Legislation governs the importation of bull semen into Jersey

Semen from a non-pure breed Jersey bull has been imported into the island despite strict laws, agricultural authorities have revealed.

Restrictions on importing American bull semen were partly relaxed in Jersey in 2008, ending a complete ban that had been in place for more than 200 years.

But to protect the herd's purity, semen must come from bulls with seven or more "pedigree generations" behind them.

The 13 calves born using the semen will be removed from the Jersey Herd Book.

At least three of them, one just a few days old, have already been put down.

The Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society (RJA&HS) said it had received information from America that a bull, whose frozen semen was brought to Jersey, has ancestors of another breed.

That means the semen should have been banned from entering the island.

Maintaining pedigree status

The society has written to all cattle breeders in Jersey telling them about the rule breach.

A committee from the RJA&HS met on Tuesday night to decide what action to take - the bull must not be used for any further breeding.

James Godfrey, the chief executive of the society, said: "The committee considers it of the utmost importance that the pedigree status of the island herd of Jersey cattle is maintained.

"This has come to light through advances in the scientific study of bovine genome.

"The committee is determined to deploy all the technologies and resources available to protect and improve the herd of Jersey cattle in the island from which the breed originated."

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