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FARMER TOLD CALF WON'T HAVE SECOND TB TEST

11:00 - 09 January 2006

A westcountry farmer has vowed to continue her fight to save a bull calf from slaughter despite being told by Ministry vets that the animal will not be tested a second time for bovine tuberculosis. Sheilagh Kremers has refused to let officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on to her land at New Park Farm, Ogwell near Newton Abbot, to cull a calf which tests have indicated is a bovine TB carrier.

Mrs Kremers, 63, is making a stand because she says the Government is failing to control badgers - which she believes is the cause of the disease spreading among cattle. She has now been told, in a letter from the Department for Food and Rural Affairs that her five-month-old pedigree Dexter bull calf Mous'l Fern will not be tested a second time for bovine TB.

The Defra letter said: "I am confirming that no re-test will be carried out.

"After informing the District Veterinary Network of the facts of this case I again confirm there will be no change in this decision."

Defra are due to contact Mrs Kremers again tomorrow to discuss the next stage but she has vowed that she will not change her stance.

She told the WMN yesterday: "It's not going. I'm still doing my utmost to stop it being slaughtered."

Mrs Kremers has denied the Government permission to value the bull for slaughter. She will only get around 500 in compensation.

Defra inspectors tested her herd of 12 rare-breed Dexters for bovine TB and Mous'l Fern was the only one to show signs of exposure to the disease.

But the only way Defra vets can be sure is to kill the calf and carry out a post-mortem examination.

Mrs Kremers has already told the WMN that she is prepared to go to court over the issue. Ultimately she could face six months in prison, a 5,000 fine, or both.

In addition to her battle to save her calf, she is also launching a petition calling for the introduction of more accurate bovine TB tests to stop the spread of the disease from wildlife, together with vaccinations for domestic farm animals to build a resistance.

Anyone who wants to support Mrs Kremers or sign the petition is asked to write to her at New Park Farm, Rectory Road, Ogwell, Newton Abbot, TQ12 6AH. jkirk@westernmorningnews.co.uk