The government’s controversial approach to compensating farmers for TB-stricken cattle has been challenged this week.

Devon farmer David Partridge has lodged a legal challenge at London’s High Court over the level of compensation he received from DEFRA for pedigree Holsteins.

The amount he was paid for the cattle, which were compulsorily slaughtered in 2006, was based on an ‘average value’ compensation table drawn up by DEFRA earlier that year.

Mr Partridge said the compensation was “unfair and unequal” and discouraged good husbandry and efforts to eradicate the disease.

DEFRA paid £8726 compensation for eight cows slaughtered under scheme. Mr Partridge claimed each over the cows would have fetched more than £3000 on the open market.

NFU president Peter Kendall backed the legal challenge and said the scheme showed “blatant unfairness” to farmers with high-value animals.

“If the government took decisive action to tackle bovine TB, in partnership with farmers, I am convinced we would see the compensation bill fall.

“In the meantime they must right this wrong.”