The owner of a prize-winning bull – due to be slaughtered on Wednesday 19 January after testing positive for bovine TB – has won an eleventh-hour reprieve in the High Court.
A judge ordered Hallmark Boxter, also known as “Boxy”, to be spared while farmer Ken Jackson, of Forlorn Hope Farm, in South Yorkshire, made one last legal bid to block the slaughter.
Mr Jackson disputed the validity of the TB test and has been fighting for several months for a re-test, offering to pay for it himself.
A positive blood sample was taken from the bull in April last year and DEFRA ordered it to be slaughtered.
Mr Jackson, whose farm is at Stubbs Walden, north of Doncaster, argued that the officers who took the sample mixed two half-full vials in the field, contrary to written procedures. He wanted the positive test declared null and void by the courts.
He has obtained evidence from Professor Paul Torgerson that suggests the sample cannot be relied upon because of the danger that it was contaminated.
The bull, one of the most valuable British Blonde bulls in the country, remains in isolation.