Sheffield & South Yorkshire

South Yorkshire bull Boxy clear of TB after tests

A farmer who went to the High Court to stop his bull being slaughtered is celebrating after the animal was cleared of having bovine TB.

Ken Jackson, from South Yorkshire, went to court after government vets ordered the bull to be slaughtered after a positive TB sample was found.

But after the court agreed the initial test could be flawed, the bull's latest test has proved it is clear of TB.

Mr Jackson said "lessons needed to be learned".

The prize-winning Hallmark Boxter, also known as Boxy, was tested by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in April 2010 who found the bull had given a positive bovine TB blood sample.

The farmer argued the officers who took the sample mixed two half-full vials in the field, contrary to procedures, and went to the High Court earlier this year to stop the bull's slaughter.

The judge quashed the notices of intended slaughter, ruling the test was flawed.

The bull, which is based in Walden Stubbs, has had five blood tests since April 2010, all of which have tested negative.

'Must work together'

Mr Jackson, who owns 70 cattle at Forlorn Hope Farm, said the family was determined to prove that the "bull had nothing wrong with it."

He added: "Defra must work with the farmers not against them.

"It's a big problem that needs to be talked about. Defra needs to learn from this and work with the farmers."

Despite the official all-clear, the bull will remain in isolation until a blood test is carried out on the full herd later this month, as a precaution.

In a statement, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, for Defra, said: "All TB related restrictions on the animal will now be lifted.

"We have complete confidence in our TB testing and control regime, which is internationally respected and is helping to stop the spread of this terrible disease.

"But even though our testing system is robust and extremely effective, no test is 100% reliable and on rare occasions there may be false negative and false positive results

"However when cattle test positive it is our duty under domestic and European law to remove the animals so that they don't infect others."

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