Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Defra to appeal Tabular Valuation ruling

Yesterday (August 4th.) Defra announced that it would appeal the decision of Lord Justice Stanley Burnton in the case brought by David Partridge. The case, heard on July 14, ruled that applying table values to high value cattle ‘offends the principle of equality’ as it discriminates against their owners without sufficient justification.

We covered the Partridge Farms case here. Cash strapped and under pressure to 'save money' this is a case Defra cannot afford to lose. Equally, the breeders of high genetic pedigree cattle cannot be expected to surrender high value animals to the altar of political expediency for a handful of what they are worth.

In an ideal world, cattle farmers should be able to obtain top-up insurance for such animals but the situation with this politically motivated plague is such that the insurance underwriters have withdrawn cover. Exposure to risk is too high the man-from-the-Pru said. And in a world where only the short term is 'valued' at all, it was ever going to be the case that while farmers were screwed had their compulsory purchase monies reduced, the bTB bandwagon would roll on with the majority - two thirds - of its budget increasing at 20 per cent annually to cope with increasing Tb 'incidents'.

In a bizarre twist to this story, we have been alerted to another anomaly within the compulsory purchase maze. While camelids, those long necked fashion-statement lawnmowers such as alpacas and llamas receive full valuations from Defra, as the spillover into other species continues, goat keepers receive nothing at all. This we are told, is the result of deals done (fishing quotas?) when the UK joined the EEC (European Economic Community). In 1972, Government undertook to exclude goats as agricultural animals and therefore any part of our agricultural economy. So when goats are found to be infected with TB, or fail an owner funded skin test there is no compensation whatsoever for reactors.


Anonymous said...

i sympathise with the pedigree owners - the idea that all cattle are of the same value is nonsense. That said, a value table does ensure consistent values and it must be quicker than getting individual valuations. Would a two-table system work? A standard table and a pedigree table? Or would this be too simplistic as well?

Matthew said...

Anon 9.17
The tabular valuation has pedigree and non pedigree sections, but the problem is that there is one price for over 3 years, and under 3 years. This regardless of whether the recipiant is an aged jersey house cow, who just happens to have paperwork, or a 3 year old top of the heap holstein.
I don't know what the answer is either: in an ideal world, insurance top ups should be the answer to such differences. At the moment, they are just not available to most of us.
Each month Defra publishes its new tables for the month, in the News section of Animal Health home page.

Anonymous said...

if defra and the government have negociated with eu in the past, that uk goats are not to be included as agricultural animals. why are we as owners having to comply with double tagging, amls movement forms and books and compentancy tests and all the paperwork and hassles that go with it( agricultural livestock) and still not be able claim what little subsidies there are. as it only applies to sheep/cattle not goats.??

Matthew said...

Anon 3.02
Playing 'devils advocate', I would guess that as 90 per cent of DEFRA's business plan originates in Brussels (EU),directives cover all member states of the EU. Goats are an agriculturural asset in some areas, as are horses, which also come under 'food animals' banner within the EU and also have to have identification etc.

As we have seen, Defra can be highly selective when it comes to choosing directives, interpretation of directives and especially gold plating of directives, if only to justify their continuing exsistence.....