A South Devon smallholder has said she is prepared to go to prison to save her bull calf from being slaughtered.

Newton Abbot-based Sheilagh Kremers’ herd of 12 pedigree Dexter cattle was tested for TB two weeks before Christmas – one was found to be a TB reactor.

Ms Kremers said she was devastated when the vets told her that the calf, Mousles Fern, must now be slaughtered.

She has objected to the fact that a reactor test only indicates the presence of the causative bacterium and is not definitive in confirming that the animal actually has the disease.

“It’s like a doctor telling me I must die and then they’ll test me to see whether or not I had cancer.”

It’s wrong that cattle are being killed while TB is not controlled in wildlife, she added.

A DEFRA vet has so far failed to persuade her that the calf must be slaughtered. Ms Kremers said she was determined to refuse them access to kill the calf even if it meant going to jail.

“If we are forced to slaughter Mousles Fern, it will be 18 months of hard work down the drain,” Ms Kremers said.

“Mousles Fern is worth about 500 and any offer they make following the valuation is non-negotiable.”

Meanwhile other farmers in the West Country are rumoured to be considering withdrawing their co-operation with DEFRA.

Non-co-operation has been mentioned in protest at the changes to compensation valuations and at the introduction of pre-movement testing.