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High Court Rejects Claim Over Alpaca Bovine Tuberculosis Tests

Ned Westaway

Mr Justice Murray has rejected a judicial review claim seeking to require the re-testing of a stud male alpaca following earlier tests showing positive results for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) (R (MacDonald) v SSEFRA [2019] EWHC 1783 (Admin)).  The judgment discusses in detail the legal background and testing regimes that apply to bTB in South American camelids.  One particular issue was the use of “priming” by injection of tuberculin via a skin test prior to serological (blood) testing. 

Having considered all of the issues raised, the Judge concluded:

“The Secretary of State is the expert decision-maker, entrusted by Parliament to control diseases in animals, such as bTB in camelids.  In the absence of the establishment by Ms Macdonald of a public law error made by the Secretary of State in reaching the Decision and in deciding to issue the TN03 Notice, the Secretary’s decisions must be respected by the court.”

Ned Westaway, instructed by the Government Legal Department, appeared for the Secretary of State