19 January 2001

TB compensation pledge from Tories

THE next Conservative government will compensate farmers for consequential losses associated with tuberculosis outbreaks in cattle, a senior Tory has pledged.

James Paice, MP for Cambridge South East and a member of the Shadow team for agriculture, said urgent action was needed to tackle the growing problem of TB. Badger culling on newly-infected farms and neighbouring holdings should be introduced in the event of three successive positive TB herd tests, he said.

A Conservative government would examine compensation for consequential loss arising from TB – especially in areas where badger culling trials are being conducted to establish whether the animals pass the disease to cattle, said Mr Paice.

He told farmers weekly: "At this stage I cannot guarantee 100% compensation for the consequential losses suffered by farmers as a result of TB. But I can say that we would find some money, especially for those in the control areas of the trial where people feel they have been left out to dry."

Results from the culling trial are not expected until 2004. Mr Paice said it was essential to protect the integrity of the study. Compensation for farmers was vital to ensure that the trial results were valid and to help overcome the temptation for farmers to take the law into their own hands and kill badgers, he said. &#42