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The BBC's Ben McCarthy
"Nobody has visited or written to apologise"
 real 56k

Saturday, 21 April, 2001, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Farmer's fury over slaughter mistake
Maff will investigate why the sheep were killed
Maff will investigate why the sheep were killed
A farming couple have spoken of their fury after a grid reference error by the Ministry of Agriculture led to the unnecessary slaughter of 500 of their animals.


I am very angry, very angry indeed

Wayne Nuttall
The 300 lambs and 200 ewes were killed by Maff vets as part of the firebreak zone to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Cumbria.

Wayne and Julie Nuttall, from Punderland Farm in Little Clifton, condemned Maff for gross incompetence and demanded compensation.

Mr Nuttall said Maff had not apologised.

"I am very angry, very angry indeed - especially as I've heard nothing of them," he told the BBC's Breakfast programme.

Mr Nuttall said he had originally been told by Maff officials that the animals were killed because they were in "the culling area".

He said: "We were not anywhere near it.

"They said we were in the culling area - there were no tests, they just killed them.

"I was informed the day after that it was a mistake.

"They said 'these things happen' and said the government were pushing and corners were having to be cut and said mistakes will be made."

'Compensation'

He has been left with just 38 cattle in a winter barn.

A spokesman for Maff said: "We're going to be investigating as to how this took place.

"In any operation of this scale a certain degree of error is inevitable.

"While it doesn't compensate for his loss, the farmer will be compensated for the loss of his animals."

He added that global positioning systems would be made available to all slaughter teams in future.

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