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Proposals to Rationalise Compensation for Notifiable Animal Disease Control

by 5m Editor
28 October 2003, at 12:00am

UK - Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government today unveiled proposals to rationalise compensation for notifiable diseases.

Proposals to Rationalise Compensation for Notifiable Animal Disease Control - UK - 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 second 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.

Additional Information

  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 at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/disease-comp/index.htm should 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 January 7, 2004

Source: Defra - 27th October 2003

5m Editor