The latest from DEFRA is an extraordinary letter from Mr Bennett, the Exeter DVM.
 
It is addressed to me by name and then continues
 
"Dear Sir/Madam,
 

The Animal Health Act 1981

The Tuberculosis (England and Wales) Order 1984 (as amended)

The Tuberculosis (Scotland) Order 1984 (as amended)

 

OVERDUE TEST FOR BOVINE TUBERCULOSIS
 
Bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests are carried out as part of the TB surveillance programme and to support national TB control measures.  These tests are paid for from public funds and herd owners have an obligation to present their cattle for testing under Regulation 8(1) of the TB Orders.
 
Our records indicate that a VE-CON12 TB test has been overdue in your herd for at least 301 days.
 
Please ensure this test is completed by 31/01/2003.  If this is not done, a notice restricting the movement of cattle onto and off your premises will be served under Regulation 12 of the TB Orders.  This means that you will not be able to move any cattle onto or off the premises, except to a slaughterhouse under the authority of a licence."
 
It continues in this vein...
 
What the devil is a VE-CON12 TB test anyway!!??
 
Apparently the TB testing programme was suspended last year and the local vets have, of course, fallen behind in the testing programme.  DEFRA in its usual heavy handed and officious way have chosen to write these unnecessary threatening letters to the farmers - as though the delay in testing were their faults.  I understand that many other farmers locally have received the same.