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The cutting reads: "Mr Badshaw said it was fundamentally unfair that British farmers were compensated at the taxpayers' expense for their stock being slaughtered while plant growers facing the epidemic of "sudden oak death" were "facing ruin"

See also Bryn Wayt's comment which opens in a new window.

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We find it interesting that Ben Bradshaw's idea of what was "unfair" about compensating farmers for culled animals should differ so very markedly from that of Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler's Committee and the EU Parliament:

DEFRA is, of course, very anxious to save money where it can after the fiasco - of which we have heard little lately, concerning the millions missing from the Treasury coffers because the EU refused to pay compensation in full to the UK. This was not because they felt that paying compensation was unfair. It was because the UK government had not satisfied them about the way it had handled the crisis. ".....the European Commission does not show any sign of being impressed. It has capped the UK's right to repayment at a mere 250 million, leaving 1 billion outstanding: a sum it seems the UK Government may now never be in a position to claim." Booker's Notebook 18/01/2004

Extract from Foot and mouth disease: lessons from the 2001 crisis, proposals for the future 17/12/2002 - EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT OPINION OR RESOLUTION

"......On the question of compensation, Parliament stated that the Commission should consider whether and to what extent national compulsory insurance schemes for the livestock farming sector might in future be supported through co-financing of expenditure on public support. Alternatively, it might be more appropriate to provide financial assistance to the Member State affected by the outbreak of a disease within the framework of an ad hoc decision.

Parliament felt that the practice adhered to in compensating farmers in the event of an FMD outbreak is unjust. It is not clear why only farmers whose animals have been culled should receive compensation, while none is paid to farmers who have been unable to market animals or animal products properly because of the movement ban.

It is also desirable to take into account economic losses arising from these bans.

The provisions of Decision 90/424/EEC concerning compensation payments by the EU should be amended accordingly

Parliament called on the Commission and the Member States to adopt certain measures, including the following:

  • -the Commission should play an active part in developing a worldwide strategyto control FMD within the framework of the FAO, do more to assist the countries concerned in their efforts to control or eradicate FMD, particularly by making vaccines available and providing assistance with diagnostic tests in areas chronically affected by the disease based on the principle 'helping people help themselves', and seek to improve cooperation with regard to information (early warning systems);

  • -the Commission and Member States must actively strive to bring the waiting period for regaining FMD-free status after application of a strategy of vaccination without subsequent slaughter of the vaccinated animals into line with the period used when a slaughter policy is applied, in other words, three months in both cases.

  • - the Commission should review its overall strategy for preventing and controlling livestock diseases in the EU.

    The preparation of such a strategy should also address the extent to which the increasing globalisation of the food trade plays a part in the increasing number, and spread, of animal disease outbreaks, and identify appropriate measures to counteract this process - e.g. inter alia, the reduced movement of meat and livestock within and between Member States, and the provision of more local abattoirs

    Parliament went on to make recommendations on the content of contingency plan sand on import controls, as well as on research and development and on compensation.

    With regard to the latter, it stated that the Commission should publish a communication laying out various possibilities for an insurance scheme or guarantee fund covering the part of the costs for FMD and other livestock diseases borne by the EU budget. This communication should provide a cost-benefit analysis of such schemes and recommendations on, for example, a private insurance scheme with re-insurance or guarantees from the European communities, or an EU Animal Health Fund to be financed, up to a certain ceiling, by contributions from all livestock farmers. The communication should also include recommendations on the introduction of such schemes for non-direct costs of livestock disease epidemics in both the agricultural and the non-agricultural sector.