The Livestock Auctioneers’ Association is considering making an application for a Judicial Review of the new laws on pre-movement testing of cattle, due to come into force on 20 February.

The LAA has met solicitor Burges Salmon, which has sent a letter to DEFRA outlining its concerns.

Robert Whitelock, chairman of the association, said:

“DEFRA has not consulted adequately on the new rules and has failed to take account of concerns raised by the livestock industry.”

Although the LAA has said it will assist the government in implementing effective measures to combat TB, it is unconvinced that the proposed rules are supported by scientific evidence.

It also claims that DEFRA has failed to consider the full impact of the rules on the livestock sector.

It is currently seeking independent expert advice on the likely effects of the Order.

Tony Durston, of Middle Farm, West Horrington, Somerset, said the livestock community needed to wake up to the practical implications of the new rules very urgently.

“Farm incomes are going to suffer, there are animal welfare issues, and without a doubt it will bring about the closure of more livestock markets, which is the last thing we want.

“Once these rules have been physically implemented the chances of reversing them are virtually zero.

This needs to be addressed very quickly.”