Page last updated at 15:07 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 16:07 UK

Bull semen mistake costs 67,000

Deveron Limited Edition and Hamish Sclater
Deveron Limited Edition was owned by Hamish Sclater

An artificial insemination centre has been ordered to pay 67,000 in damages after the semen of a valuable Aberdeen Angus bull was wrongly labelled.

Farmer Hamish Sclater, of Turriff, Aberdeenshire, has been awarded the settlement after Deveron Limited Edition's semen could not be sold.

More than 1,000 straws of semen from the bull could not be exported or sold at home.

The award was made against Carlisle firm Lindsay AI.

In a case held at Carlisle County Court, Judge Peter Hughes QC heard that Mr Sclater had agreed a valuable contract to sell semen from Deveron Limited Edition to the Irish Angus Cattle Society.

Deveron Limited Edition was a limited edition in more ways than one
Judge Peter Hughes QC

The semen could only be taken at sites specially licensed.

The labelling mistake was discovered in November 2005, by which time Deveron Limited Edition had died and the semen could not be replaced.

In his judgment, the judge said: "Deveron Limited Edition was therefore a limited edition in more ways than one.

"The semen collected by the defendants was all there ever would be and the only means of breeding from him."

'Huge losses'

Lindsay's AI has been ordered to pay damages of 31,845 relating to the loss of profit on the sale of 1,158 straws and 36,100 for the lost enhancement to the value of the herd.

Mr Sclater said: "I am just a normal farmer trying to get on.

"I am still astonished that we had to go to court when liability was admitted two and a half years ago, but our losses are huge as has been proved by the judgment.

"We have been lucky in the support we have had from our friends, family and others in the farming community."

Deveron Limited Edition sired just one bull calf naturally, which sold for 20,000.

Stewart Fyfe, from Burnetts Solicitors in Carlisle, who represented Mr and Mrs Sclater, said: "This has been a very interesting case because it raised some tricky issues of foresight of loss in negligence and breach of contract claims.

"In the end, our judgment has been proved correct.

"Of course, getting judgment doesn't guarantee that Lindsay's AI can afford to pay what's due, but the Sclaters have certainly been vindicated for pursuing this claim."

At family-owned Lindsay AI, Helen Lindsay told the BBC Scotland news website the company was disappointed at the figure awarded and that an appeal would be contemplated.

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