Battle over prize bull Boxy cost £133,000

THE huge legal cost of court action over prize-winning bull Hallmark Boxter can be revealed today.

The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) said its total bill for defending the 17-month case to determine Boxy’s fate after a bungled test for bovine TB came to £133,000.

The champion British Blonde bull will be let out of his paddock on Ken and Anita Jackson’s farm at Stubbs Walden, near Doncaster, once the rest of the herd has been cleared by a routine test.

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Defra said the bill comprises Mr Jackson’s legal costs and the fees of its counsel. But last night Mr Jackson said: “My legal costs alone have come to £114,000, Defra have offered me £90,000 and I will have to take advice on this.

“I would not like to think how much this has cost the taxpayer overall – it has been a huge waste of public money.”

The Jackson family launched their fight following a slaughter order issued last year by the Leeds division of Animal Health, the veterinary service of the Department. Boxy was condemned on the basis of a blood sample, but the family argued vets had broken the rules by mixing two blood samples and asked for the order to be void.

Defra insisted, however, the bull posed a threat of spreading bovine TB and must be destroyed. Lawyers argued that its breach of procedure was trivial but Mr Justice McCombe quashed the notice of intended slaughter in April at the High Court and the bull sailed through follow-up tests for TB.

An Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency spokesman said: “We have complete confidence in our TB testing and control regime, which is internationally respected and is helping to stop the spread of this terrible disease. When cattle test positive it is our duty under domestic and European law to remove the animals.”