Sunday, October 18, 2009

EU Cash - for what?

This week, the European Union has agreed in principle to fund the testing and slaughter of more British cattle.
"THE UK’s bovine TB eradication plan has been given the green light by the EU’s animal health committee, which agreed a €10 million funding package to help implement the plan.The funding will be available to contribute to the costs of TB testing and compensation for cattle slaughtered."

Farmers Guardian has the story.

It is not clear from the news dripping out of the European Commission, just what sort of 'eradication' package the UK presented.
Scotland, having decided to 'go it alone', is not included, but the title not only implies a bit of serious dot-joining, the documentation issued by the DG SANCO (Directorate General for Health and Consumer Affairs) authorities in the EU, spells out governmental responsibilities quite clearly.
The elimination or reduction of the risk posed by an infected wildlife reservoir enables the other measures contained in the programme to yield the expected results, whereas the persistence of TB in these wildlife populations impedes the effective elimination of the disease.

Major socio-political resistance (lobbyism) against any measure involving the removal of infected wildlife or interventions affecting the environment are to be expected. The additional costs associated with these actions are not likely to be negligible."
As we have said many times, a one sided non-policy such has been foisted on this country since a £1 million bung in 1997, is totally responsible for the unholy mess our cattle industry now finds itself in.
But spillover of bTB into numerous other mammalian species in happening in increasing numbers, with alpacas leading the field in numbers. And for them, inter herd spread appears a big problem. It would appear that once an alpaca or llama becomes infected, bTB spreads through these delightful animals very quickly, swiping them one after another.

So what of this 10 million euro cash pot, that will arrive from the UK and German taxpayers via the auspices of the 'European Union', presumably to implement T-Beggar's recommendations of more testing, more slaughter of cattle, and more ways to live with this (increasing) level of bTB? As the SANCO document says (in more than one place) unless parallel measures are taken to eliminate the risk from wildlife reservoirs, in tandem (that means ' at the same time'), any cattle measures and thus any amount of cash poured in to facilitate them, is destined for the same black hole which Lord Rooker so eloquently described in 2007 when he told the ERRA committee,
"Defra have no policy, and have spent £1 billion to no good effect in the last decade.

And now they have 10 million more euros to play with.

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