Regard to your story in The SF when it was recorded that the Highland Cattle Society had a 'blip' in the way cattle had been handled – well as we know a blip is a warning dot that appears on a radar when trouble is afoot!

Every cattle breed society has to tighten ups it rules when it comes to cattle health, and make the 'Private test' a thing of the past and insist that a whole herd test is required.

Thousands of pounds are spent annually on herd tests and it is gut wrenching when cheating takes place.

We have first-hand experience of being caught out this year when we bought a Shorthorn Bull that was advertised in The SF. We were told that the bull was clear of Johnes, Lepto and that it was vaccinated for BVD and IBR with Rispoval 4 as a calf – what was omitted that it had tested positive for IBR in April.

On our routine herd test it also tested positive on IBR. We contacted Biobest who told us that Rispoval 4 was not a marker vaccine and they could not tell if the infection came from the vaccine or not. So now we have lost our clear test for IBR – one we had for 40 years!

We contacted the seller, who offered us a deal – a 'Heads you lose, tails I win' type of deal.

The bull was supposed to be white. His top half was white, his lower half was roan.

Yes, it is a great feeling to be caught out. There are many words that can be used in a situation as this and many trusting stock keepers are caught out.

Health schemes are just like the board game Snake and Ladders – you can improve your herd health until you meet a snake!

Angus A Macdonald,