Somerset farmer destroys bison herd because of stress caused by government tests

Paul Richards with his bison before they were destroyed Credit: ITV News West Country

Paul Richards likes his animals to lead a stress free existence, he even pipes music to his wild boar at his farm at West Coker near Yeovil. But he says rules and regulations meant his bison were put through unnecessary stress as they had to be tested for TB. Penning them up together sent them berserk.

The animals weigh more than a ton and are classed as dangerous wild animals. They have to be enclosed with impenetrable fences. Because of that he argues they couldn't spread TB to other farm animals. When ready for slaughter they could be dispatched on the farm before being taken to the abattoir.

The fields are now largely empty, Woodentop Farm has a few horses, some chickens and 100 wild boar. Paul Richards says the government should be encouraging farmers like him to open up niche markets. The irony is that while many farmers are struggling to make a profit from milk or beef he couldn't keep up with demand for bison meat.