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PROPOSALS TO RATIONALISE COMPENSATION FOR NOTIFIABLE ANIMAL DISEASE CONTROL

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Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government today unveiled proposals to ...
Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government today unveiled proposals to

rationalise compensation for notifiable diseases.

Animal health and welfare minister Ben Bradshaw said the central aim

of the proposals is to produce a modern, simple and transparent

system that will deliver predictable levels of compensation for

livestock farmers who lose stock to notifiable animal diseases.

At the same time, the measures will take into account the significant

differences in value between commercial and pedigree stock.

Mr Bradshaw said:

'Lessons have been learned from foot and mouth disease, in particular

the need for a system which is both efficient and is transparently

fair from both the farmer and the taxpayer's point of view.'

The current lack of certainty over compensation payments has a

fundamental effect on livestock owners' business decisions, and the

proposals will offer fair compensation to farmers and avoid

over-valuations of livestock. Both the recent National Audit Office

and Public Accounts Committee highlighted weaknesses in the

government's control and monitoring of valuations during the 2001 FMD

outbreak.

At present, compensation payments are paid in three different ways.

Farmers who lose stock to diseases such as bovine TB and foot and

mouth disease are paid on the basis of individual valuations. For

some farmers who suffer losses from BSE receive a fixed level of

compensation depending on the type of animal. And cases of

brucellosis and scrapie, compensation can be calculated through a

monthly average livestock market price.

The consultation paper covers the following proposals

* all animal diseases for which the government currently pays

compensation will eventually be covered by the scheme.

* the scheme will be implemented in two stages. The first stage

will cover bovine TB, enzootic bovine leucosis, brucellosis and BSE,

which do not require primary legislation. The secon d stage will cover

all other species and diseases and will be addressed through primary

legislation.

* regardless of the disease, the same compensation rate will be

paid for categories within individual species.

* standardised category based systems will be developed for cattle,

sheep, pigs and poultry.

* compensation rates will be equivalent to the average market price

for each category of animal where there is sufficient market data.

* the market values for cattle and sheep will be calculated and

published on a monthly basis. Compensation for other species will be

calculated when required.

* a mechanism for continuing the calculation of market values if

markets are suspended in the event of a major disease outbreak.

* animals worth significantly more than the average market value

for an animal in their category can be pre-valued and registered with

Defra. In such cases the compensation payable will be equivalent to

the current pre-valuation.

NOTES

1. Recent disease outbreaks, such as the classical swine fever

outbreak in 2000 and the FMD outbreak in 2001, along with the

continuing problems of bovine TB, BSE and scrapie, has highlighted

that current compensation arrangements for disease control are

fragmented, and in some cases contradictory.

2. The Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland are producing their

own consultation papers on the rationalisation of compensation for

notifiable animal diseases.

3. Responses to the consultation document, which can be found hereshould be sent

to Joe Parsons, Animal Disease Control Division, Defra, Room 107, 1a

Page Street, London, SW1P 4PQ (Tel: 020 7904 8168) (Fax: 020 7904

6128) or e-mail to compensation.consultation@defra.gsi.gov.uk

4. The deadline for responses is 7 January 2004

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