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High Court spares pedigree bull

15 April 2011

The High Court has spared a pedigree bull called Boxy from slaughter on the grounds that DEFRA failed to follow its own testing procedures for bovine TB.

DEFRA told Yorkshire farmers Ken and Anita Jackson in April last year that Boxy needed to be slaughtered following a positive bovine TB test.

Jackson launched a judicial review, on the basis that the initial test was not carried out properly and DEFRA failed to follow its own policy of retesting when this had occurred.

Delivering judgment in R (on the application of Jackson) v DEFRA [2011] EWHC 956, Mr Justice McCombe said two separate samples of Boxy’s blood were mixed together by the technician to create a big enough sample for testing in the laboratory, contrary to DEFRA’s operating manual.

McCombe J said: “Mr Jackson says that, when the new syringe was obtained and inserted, only a half tube of blood was obtained; another was called up and a further half tube of blood was extracted.

“At that stage, says Mr Jackson, H.K [the technician] mixed the two samples, saying as she did so: ‘You haven’t seen me doing this. I could get into trouble.’”

Mr Justice McCombe distinguished the Boxy case with Shambo, which involved a clash between the duties of ministers and the rights of members of the community to practice their religious beliefs.

He said that no issue arose in that case “as to the validity of the testing procedures” adopted in implementing the policy.

McCombe J granted the Jacksons’ application for a judicial review. He said he would also consider making an appropriate declaration that the presence of bovine TB had not been “officially established” in Boxy.

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Wills, Trusts & Probate Local government