A 'heifer' had to undergo a bureaucratic sex change after a series of what would be called 'cock-ups' in ordinary parlance left the animal in gender limbo.
The strange set of circumstances unfolded after a farmer bought the animal at a livestock mart in the midlands, only to discover later that the bullock was registered as a 'heifer' on its ID card.
The registration error for the animal had apparently gone unnoticed by the seller, a farmer from outside Birr, Co Offaly, who had purchased the animal at a previous mart sale.
The mistake had not been detected at any sale through which the animal had passed and had not been picked up and corrected during herd tests.
When the purchaser refused to take the 'bisexual' animal, because of the error on the card, the seller was contacted, who also refused to take back the animal. It emerged that the animal was sold a day before its 12-month TB test was up. Due to the hold-up in finalising the sale, the stay at the mart had coincided with the unfortunate animal going out of test and the former owner was not willing to take it back.
As one wag put it: "The 'heifer' was all dressed up but with nowhere to go."
The Department of Agriculture were then contacted and asked to approve a gender change on the AIMS records for the animal.
After a lot of to-ing and froing, the entry on the ID card was eventually recognised as an inadvertent error and the bullock was on his way to his new home following a gender change on his ID.