A WEST Somerset farmer has called on the government to rethink its “failed” policy to tackle Bovine TB.

Michael Reed, a fifth generation Exmoor farmer, slammed the current “slaughter and culling”

programme and urged the government to fast track a cattle vaccine.

Mr Reed, who runs Higher Ranscombe farm, spoke of the distress he and other farmers faced having to watch their herds being decimated.

“It is heart-breaking to see cows being carted away especially when they have young calves,” he said.

“What makes it worse is very often the TB test results are inconclusive but the cows are taken away anyway. I ask for a re-test but the officials aren’t interested.”

Mr Reed, whose family has been farming on Exmoor for over 200 years, added: “All that’s happening just now is culling badgers and slaughtering cattle.

It’s a failed policy but the government is just carrying on with it.” Mr Reed said his 200 acre farm had been clear of BTB for three years. However, in March two cows tested positive while four others had inconclusive tests but were still slaughtered.

A spokesman for the Animal and Plant Health Agency said: “TB can have a devastating effect on farm businesses, which is why there are strict measures to control it. Reactor animals are removed and slaughtered as quickly as possible to help control the disease and reduce the risk of spread within the herd.”