Sunday, September 24, 2006

More on the EU Animal compensation cut...

After our posting below, which sketched out Commission proposals to change the rates of animal disease compensation payable to reporting farmers in member states, more from that document has surfaced - although we expect it to be of little use to UK farmers. Defra - formerly MAFF in a new jacket - have a history of making things more complicated for, or of less value to their so-called 'partners' - or any other member of the European club for that matter.

The Commission proposals limit animal disease compensation paid by all member states to 75% of market value (80% in LFAs, Less Favoured Areas) and then only to businesses able to substantiate a 30 percent loss. And any compensation would be limited to 'small or medium sized' enterprises.

But hidden in the depths of the paperwork is an option to offset 'consequential losses'.

These occur when farms are put under a 'restriction notice by Defra, and can be as expensive and onerous as the death of the individual candidate animal(s). The farm cannot trade at all, except for direct slaughter, or, in rare circumstances and with Defra's permission, to another holding of the same status. That means a standstill on all breeding stock sales, store stock and calf sales. Only finished beef animals and cull cattle can move, and then direct to abattoir or via dedicated collection centres.

As we have pointed out before, the accumulation of extra stock numbers may cause problems with pressure on feed and housing, and with tuberculosis restriction, the testing of all cattle every 60 days for years at a time, is time consuming and stressful both to men and beasts.

But within the EU package - and we are not defending it in any way ( see on our sister site; ) is a section on such 'consequential losses'. Although member states would be limited to paying only threequarters of market value on an individual animal, and then only in a breakdown which involved a 30 per cent loss to the business concerned, a further 75 percent of cash could be available for 'consequential losses' of the disease.

Defra however, is indicating 'shock horror', and that it has no intention of taking advantage of this option, stating: "Current UK policy is that we do not pay for consequential losses".

More here:

The whole point of this debacle, with the greatest respect to Defra and its numerous spokesmen (and women of course) is that Defra have very little choice in the matter anyway. That competance has been signed away to the unelected and nebulous 'Commission', who in our humble opinion have got this particular rule change totally, recklessly and dangerously - wrong.

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