A MAJOR row has erupted after 62 animals have had their passports withdrawn by the British Cattle Movement Service – most, if not all of them, are high value pedigree Limousins.

In an unprecedented move, BCMS appeared to have specifically targeted animals from the Ballinloan herd or their offspring due to errors relating to either their date of birth and/or the parentage of the animals concerned. Now, the British Limousin Cattle Society has said that the pedigrees of these cattle and their offspring may be open to question.

Last spring, doubt had been cast on the parentage of the 24,000gns Ballinloan Jaegerbomb, which had been sold to the Gunnerfleet herd, in October 2015, at Carlisle, by the Fotheringham family, of Ballinloan, Dunkeld. After initially being suspended, Jaegerbomb's parentage was later confirmed, but with a different dam, following DNA testing and was back in the herd book. Subsequently, many of his offspring – it is thought that at least 2000 straws of semen from him had been sold – have gone on to do well at shows and sales for his new owner.

Indeed, the Gunnerfleet herd, from Ingleton, Lancs, sold 20 heifers to average £2635 and bulls to a top of 17,000gns for the junior champion and Jaegerbomb son, Gunnerfleet Next, at the February sale, in Carlisle, which had been sold to Jimmy and Donald MacGregor, Dyke, Milton of Campsie.

Ian Handley, of Gunnerfleet Limousins, who owned the controversial bull, commented on social media: "We are utterly devastated as you can imagine after a late in the day phone call [on Wednesday, May 1, 2019] from Iain Kerr to be told that the progeny of Jaegerbomb cannot be sold. We are doing all we can to try and resolve any issues. But at this present time our future with Limousin looks bleak – there seems no light at the end of the tunnel.

"We are in the dark as much as you [other breeders] are at the moment. Our hearts go out to all the other breeders in the same devastating situation as us, unable to trade any Jaegerbomb progeny. Also, please do not AI any cattle to Jaegerbomb until further notice."

Last year, we reported that Jaegerbomb had been allowed to retain its pedigree status after a suspension of several weeks. At the time, (March 29, 2018) the British Limousin Cattle Society issued a statement informing members that the parentage issue with Ballinloan Jaegerbomb had been 'successfully resolved'. "Through DNA testing, the correct dam has been confirmed as Ballinloan Geneva [UK 542434/401306]. The pedigree for the bull will be amended accordingly," said the BLCS at that time. "For clarity, Ballinloan Jaegerbomb retains his pedigree status. All progeny registered to him, and any calves to be registered, will have a full pedigree status as per normal."

That statement now opens up a can of worms for breeders and the society now that BCMS has effectively withdrawn the passports of many Ballinloan-bred animals, and/or progeny – it named 62 in its statement – over who will be liable for settling any monetary compensation, or future loss of business from this mess. BLCS seems to be trying to distance itself from the situation and said this week: "Members considering purchasing or selling any Ballinloan and/or Ballinloan related animal, including progeny, should consider the position carefully before doing so and take their own legal advice."

It added: "Members should immediately ensure that any such animals owned by them are properly described on the register, taking into account the BCMS notice. BLCS will be making amendments to the register to reflect the information available from BCMS, but we have not received copies of all of the notices. Members who own any animals on the list may wish to contact BCMS for more information as to the reason for the notice. BLCS will publish further details as information comes into our possession. We will amend the register for any animals we are aware of."