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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 12:25 GMT
Farmer wins fight for doomed calf
Fern, the pedigree Dexter calf
Another test will now be carried out on Fern
A Devon farmer who pledged to go to jail rather than allow her calf to be slaughtered, has been told the Bovine TB test may have been flawed.

Sheilagh Kremers' Dexter bull calf, Fern, was found to have "reacted" to tests for the disease at her East Ogwell farm near Newton Abbot.

Now animal minister Ben Bradshaw said not all the instructions issued by the State Veterinary Service were followed.

Mrs Kremers said she was "delighted" that her bull would be retested.

Instructions review

She told BBC News she was somewhat confused it had taken two and a half months to reach this stage and hoped the announcement would open the floodgates for other farmers to be allowed retests.

Mrs Kremers has always insisted a reactor had only a 20% chance of having bovine TB.

Mr Bradshaw has expressed "regret" at what had happened and pledged all Mrs Kremers' legal costs would be met by the government.

I very much regret the course of these events
Ben Bradshaw, government minister

European Union legislation requires the slaughter of reactors after the first positive result and Mrs Kremers' repeated requests for a retest have been declined until now.

Mr Bradshaw, who is also the MP for Exeter in Devon, said recent information concerning the test at Mrs Kremer's farm, had led to a review of the case.

He said the Local Veterinary Inspector who conduced the test had not carried it out in full accordance with the instructions issued by the State Veterinary Service and Mrs Kremer's request to have the animal retested would be granted.

Mr Bradshaw said in a Commons statement: "I very much regret the course of these events.

"We will be telling Mrs Kremers that we will reimburse any legal costs she has incurred as a direct result of this case."

A review into the deferred introduction of pre-movement testing of cattle for bovine TB will also now be examining the instructions and interpretative material and their use by Local Veterinary Inspectors.

Hear from the farmer


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