FARMER Hillary Ogden is fighting to save her cow Cleo from being put down after a row over tuberculosis tests.

Cleo, who has two calves, was tested for TB in July, with the results coming back inconclusive.

Mrs Ogden, of Battledown Farm in Waterlane near Oakridge Lynch, believes the tests were inconclusive because Cleo was pregnant at the time, which she says lowers the animal’s immune system.

The simmental-cross cow was re-tested by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, along with another cow, on September 25 and passed.

However, the other cow failed.

Mrs Ogden was left heart-broken when she received a letter three days later from the APHA informing her that cow was to be put down because the first test was indecisive and Cleo had been in contact with the other cow which did have TB.

The cow that tested positive was put down on Monday.

Mrs Ogden said that Cleo had not been in contact at all with the other cow and that if she had to be put down so should all of her other animals by that logic.

She said: “I’m so upset, I can’t tell you. She had the tests. I keep my cows in the best conditions possible, she is a healthy cow, the only reason it was inconclusive was because she was pregnant.

“She was retested on September 25 and passed. Then three days later we get a letter to say the tests in July were inconclusive, and because she’s been near the other cow, she has to be put down as well. It’s awful, she has two recently born calves, and they are going to be left without a mother.”

Hillary has 40 breeding animals at her farm, all have regular checks and tests.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was unable to comment on the individual case.

However a spokesman said: "England has the highest incidence of bovine TB (bTB) in Europe and that is why we are taking strong action to deliver our 25-year strategy to beat the disease and protect the livelihoods of our dairy and beef farmers. 

"This includes one of the most rigorous surveillance and testing programmes for TB in cattle herds in the world, which means we can find disease earlier and deal with it more robustly.

"In circumstances where TB is strongly suspected following an inconclusive test an animal could be put down to eliminate the possibility of spreading the disease."

Bovine TB is caused when the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis is airborne and spread via badgers. It can be found in many types of mammal.

There has been a big increase in the number of cattle put down due to TB in the last 20 years.

In 1998 there were 6,000 cows slaughtered in England, this went up to 29,228 in 2016, according to statistics by Defra.

The risk of humans contracting TB from a cow is very unlikely, you can only get it from inhaling bacteria or drinking unpasteurised milk from an infected cow.