Cattle farmers embroiled in the registration crisis surrounding the Ballinloan herd have reacted with disbelief after 62 top-class Limousins had their passports withdrawn.
The British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) said it made the move because of “errors relating to the registration of either the date of birth and/or the parentage of the animals concerned”.
Almost all of the 62 were high-value pedigree animals, and the list included the bull Ballinloan Jaegerbomb, which has already been the focus of an inquiry into parentage.
Doubts about the identity of the Carlisle 2015 junior champion’s dam were first raised a year ago.
In March 2018, it emerged breeder Stuart Fotheringham had mistakenly recorded the dam as the Neuf daughter Ballinloan Fruttella.
After the error was spotted, the British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS) used DNA testing to confirm Jaegerbomb’s dam was actually Ballinloan Geneva.
The test result appeared to resolve the issue and the breed society confirmed the bull would keep its pedigree status.
“The pedigree for the bull will be amended accordingly. For clarity, Ballinloan Jaegerbomb retains his pedigree status.
“All calves registered to Jaegerbomb will have full pedigree status as normal,” the society said at the time.
A temporary suspension was lifted and semen straw sales continued, many of which changed hands for £50 each.
However, the BCMS has now stepped in and cast further doubt on the parentage of Jaegerbomb and the 61 others from the Ballinloan herd.
An RPA spokesperson said: “We are aware of this case. While it is not appropriate to provide full details, the issues in this case did not arise through any error of the Cattle Tracing System operated by BCMS.
“In cases where the traceability of cattle appears to have been compromised, the relevant authorities are responsible for safeguarding the food chain by removing cattle passports, pending further investigation.”
Jaegerbomb alone is thought to have produced and sold more than 2,000 straws.
Concerned owners, who fear they could see their pedigree status scrapped, have been contacting the breed society for news.
In a statement released today (8 May), the breed society said Mr Fotheringham was under investigation by the BCMS and the Trading Standards department of two local councils relating to alleged registration errors.
The society said its own investigation – regarding breaches of its rules – were on hold to avoid prejudicing the investigation of the statutory authority before it is complete.
In the meantime, they have advised members that own the animals in question to ensure they are properly described on the register, taking into account the BCMS notice.
They also advised members considering purchasing or selling any Ballinloan and/or Ballinloan-related animal, including progeny, to seek legal advice.
Since the full list was revealed on 1 May, pedigree Limousin breeders have also taken to social media to express their shock.
Ballinloan Jaegerbomb owner Ian Handley of Gunnerfleet Limousins used the herd’s Facebook page to respond to the revelation.
“We are utterly devastated, as you can imagine, to be told that the progeny of Jaegerbomb cannot be sold,” said Mr Handley, who paid 24,000gns for the bull at Carlisle in 2015.
“We are doing all we can to try and resolve any issues. But at this present time our future with Limousin looks bleak – there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.
“Our hearts go out to all the other breeders in the same devastating situation as us, unable to trade any Jaegerbomb progeny. Also, please do not AI any cattle to Jaegerbomb until further notice.”
Since he posted his reaction last week, Mr Handley said he had received huge support from other breeders and fellow farmers.
“We would like to thank everyone for your support, kindness and messages in the past few days, which have been a very stressful and draining time. Without their support, this ordeal would have been so much harder to deal with. Hopefully we can continue breeding Limousins.”
Other farmers have also used Facebook to express their disbelief. Thomas Peters said: “Look how many are on the list – I thought it was just one bull!”
And Philip Broome revealed that his business was caught up in the fallout. “I have half my herd in calf to him [Jaegerbomb] and I only have 10 ped cows, but it’s a lot for me trying to build up a good herd.
“I thought the BLCS issued a statement that it was OK to go ahead and use Ballinloan Jaegerbomb again?”
Andrew Mairs responded to Mr Broome. “Same here. I specifically phoned the society to check before using him and was told it was all sorted and fine to use ,” Mr Mairs said.
The BLCS has said it would make further comments once investigations are completed.
The 62 animals that have had their passports withdrawn
- UK 542434100932 Ballinloan Daphne
- UK 542434101366 Ballinloan Hunihuni
- UK 542434101674 Ballinloan Lulu
- UK 542434101702 Ballinloan Lethal
- UK 542434101730 Ballinloan Lambourghini
- UK 542434101737 Ballinloan Lemoncello
- UK 542434101786 Ballinloan Mashmallow
- UK 542434101814 Ballinloan Monica
- UK 542434101870 Ballinloan Mulledwine
- UK 542434101961 Ballinloan Norlisk
- UK 542434200807 Ballinloan Caroline
- UK 542434201101 Ballinloan Fancyme
- UK 542434201752 Ballinloan Lottalove
- UK 542434201794 Ballinloan Messi
- UK 542434201801 Ballinloan Mandy
- UK 542434201808 Ballinloan Missmarple
- UK 542434201822 Non-registered
- UK 542434201871 Ballinloan Nico
- UK 542434201892 Ballinloan Napolian
- UK 542434201906 Ballinloan Newyork
- UK 542434301669 Ballinloan Lazer
- UK 542434301711 Ballinloan Lustre
- UK 542434301725 Ballinloan Laird
- UK 542434301809 Ballinloan Madonna
- UK 542434301865 Ballinloan Marble
- UK 542434301872 Ballinloan Neptune
- UK 542434301893 Ballinloan Nectarine
- UK 542434301907 Ballinloan Notredame
- UK 542434301935 Ballinloan Nerys
- UK 542434301949 Ballinloan Newsatnine
- UK 542434400137 Non-registered
- UK 542434401278 Ballinloan Glenmorangie
- UK 542434401453 Ballinloan Ivory
- UK 542434401502 Ballinloan Isadora
- UK 542434401516 Ballinloan Iklefikle
- UK 542434401691 Ballinloan Lara
- UK 542434401810 Ballinloan Melanie
- UK 542434401950 Ballinloan Nena
- UK 542434401957 Ballinloan Novara
- UK 542434501461 Ballinloan Izzy
- UK 542434501587 Ballinloan Jaegerbomb
- UK 542434501664 Ballinloan Lynn
- UK 542434501720 Ballinloan Liquorice
- UK 542434501783 Ballinloan Master
- UK 542434501804 Ballinloan Melissa
- UK 542434601406 Ballinloan Herb
- UK 542434601567 Ballinloan Jericho
- UK 542434601595 Non-registered
- UK 542434601686 Ballinloan Lacy
- UK 542434601735 Ballinloan Lionheart
- UK 542434601756 Ballinloan Lush
- UK 542434601896 Ballinloan Nike
- UK 542434601973 Ballinloan Northuist
- UK 542434701407 Ballinloan Humphrey
- UK 542434701680 Ballinloan Lipsy
- UK 542434701694 Ballinloan Landlord
- UK 542434701743 Ballinloan Littlegem
- UK 542434701806 Ballinloan Melinda
- UK 542434701862 Ballinloan Malteser
- UK 542434701890 Ballinloan Nikita
- UK 542434701939 Ballinloan Ninja
- UK 542434701960 Ballinloan Nikitie