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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 19:37 GMT
Farmer's petition to help cattle
Fern, the pedigree Dexter calf
Government officials have refused a second test on Fern
A Devon farmer has started a petition calling for new measures to stop the "senseless slaughter" of cattle which may have bovine TB.

Sheilagh Kremers, 63, from Newton Abbot, has so far refused to let government vets slaughter a bull calf which tested positive.

Mrs Kremers wants new measures to combat the disease, including vaccination of farm animals.

More than 22,705 cattle were killed in 2004 after positive bovine TB tests.

Re-test refused

Mrs Kremers said badger culls were among possible measures the government should consider to tackle the increasing problem.

The farmer also wants another test on her Dexter calf Fern after the first returned positive.

But vets from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have refused, saying second tests were only carried out if there was strong doubt.

The positive test means Fern may have come into contact with the disease, and under government rules, cattle thought to be carriers of the disease must be shot.

A post-mortem examination would reveal whether the animal had the disease.

Mrs Kremers has said she would not let Defra officials or a valuer onto her 27-acre New Park Farm.

Defra has said it will obtain a court order to destroy the calf if necessary.

The other 11 cattle in Mrs Kremers' herd had negative results to the TB tests last month.


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Anthony Gibson
"If we get a 'no', there will have to be further discussions"



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