GOVERNMENT vets forced a Huddersfield farmer to destroy an entire herd of cattle following an outbreak of bovine tuberculosis.
The culling of the 140-strong herd of cattle occurred following a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) investigation in early August.
The farm in question has not been revealed but it is thought to be one in the Denby Dale or Clayton West region.
Only 40 of the Holstein cattle tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) but with 20 more cows giving inconclusive results it was decided the entire 140 should be destroyed.
A Defra spokesman told the Examiner they did not disclose the details of individual cases but said they had restricted animal movements following the incident to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.
A spokeswoman said: “There have been fewer than five cases of whole herd slaughter in the last year across Great Britain.
“Animal Health is working closely with owners of affected herds in order to respond quickly and robustly and bring this cluster of new TB incidents under control, including rapid deployment of ancillary Gamma Interferon blood tests to boost the sensitivity of TB testing.
“We are also testing traced and contiguous premises, and the partial slaughter of one heavily infected herd has occurred.
“Possible additional medium-term TB surveillance measures in this area of West Yorkshire are being considered, and we are grateful for the ongoing cooperation of the farmers and private vets involved.
“Defra is obliged to pay compensation for cattle that are culled as a result of TB.
“We believe the valuations paid provide a fair balance between the costs that are expected to be carried by the taxpayer and those expected to be carried by farmers.
“The farmer affected can now only move cattle onto or off his premises under a licence issued by the local Animal Health office until the herds have two consecutive clear tests.”
Chairman of the Denby Dale Area Committee, Clr John Cook, said his sympathies were with the farmer.
He said: “I think it’s a tragedy, it’s their livelihood.
“For a farmer’s livestock to get TB it’s going to be a culling situation.
“They do get some compensation but it will not be adequate to replace all the cows.
“They will also have to foot the expenses for cleaning and decontaminating the premises.”
Clr Cook said it was known that badgers carried the disease and the National Farmers Union had been calling for a badger culling.
Government officials have so far resisted the campaign.
A Kirklees Council environment spokeswoman confirmed that Defra had closed a number of footpaths in the region for a couple of days in a bid to reduce the risk of a further outbreak.
A spokeswoman for the NFU confirmed they had heard about the culling but did not know who or where it was as the farmer involved was not a member.