Livestock culled in 100-mile map error
By Richard Alleyne
Saturday 21 April 2001
A FAMILY'S livestock was slaughtered by mistake after Government foot and mouth vets got the farm's grid reference wrong. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/et?ac=004825854857104&rtmo=0xbb2Kbq&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/01/4/21/nfnm21.html
A vet and two soldiers culled 200 ewes and 300 lambs at Punderland Farm, Cumbria, insisting that it lay within a 3km firebreak zone. Later they realised that the grid reference was wrong by one digit despite using a satellite global positioning system. They should have been slaughtering animals 100 miles away.
Yesterday the farmers, Wayne and Julie Nuttall, accused the Ministry of Agriculture of gross incompetence and said they would be suing for damages on top of compensation. Mrs Nuttall, 32, said: "We have not had an apology. My advice is to ask more questions, because once they have slaughtered your animals it can't be undone."
The Nuttalls, whose farm has been left with 38 cattle in a winter barn, said the vet and slaughtermen insisted that the farm at Little Clifton was within a cull zone because of an outbreak in the village of Great Broughton.
Mrs Nuttall told them that nobody had heard of such a case. Mr Nuttall, 40, said the vet was insistent. A pig belonging to the couple's sons, Paul, 13 , and two-year-old Tyler, was also killed.
The mistake was discovered after another farmer telephoned the ministry to say there had been no outbreak in the area. A ministry spokesman said: "We very much regret the mistake and the farmer will be compensated."