SOME HI-HEALTH Highland cattle folds have had their status compromised after a ‘blip’ in procedure at the breed’s most recent sale in Oban.

The Highland Cattle Society admitted this week that its own rules had not been followed exactly when allowing a fold, with indeterminate health status, to be allowed to be dispersed at its autumn sale in Oban and sold under the ‘auspices of the society'.

Under its own bye-laws, a fold will only be allowed into a society sale and sold via its auspices 'at its discretion' and only once it has been inspected and advised by two HCS fieldsmen. The SF understands this did not happen, allowing cattle with an unknown health status to be housed at the mart, resulting in disquiet being expressed by some members.

Breed president Gordon McConachie commented: “There is confusion over the IBR status of the dispersal cattle, for which we apologise. We are investigating to find out exactly what went wrong and when, but we were clearly given to believe they had been privately tested.

"Obviously, buyers expect cattle at our sales to have been tested for IBR but, nevertheless, all cattle which go through a ring should be quarantined and tested again afterwards. Under the National Beef Association’s rules at these sales, anyone with any query over an animal bought or sold should contact the auctioneers in the first instance. We believe no-one has contacted them to date on this issue."

Many of the dispersal cattle have gone to herds with high health status and owners will now have to await the results of the end of quarantine blood tests – 28 days after the date that they returned from the sale – to ascertain whether their purchases can go into their folds without compromising the rest of the herd.