7 August 2001
Vaccinate next time – Haskins

By FWi staff

VACCINATION should be used to eradicate any future outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, claims the man appointed to rescue areas hit by the virus.

If animals were vaccinated, insurance companies would be more willing to offer cover, claims Labour peer Lord Haskins.

In an interview with The Times, the rural recovery co-ordinator said this would save the government millions of pounds in compensation.

The chairman of Northern Foods, an advocate of large, efficient farms, also predicted that half of todays 240,000 farms would disappear in the next 20 years.

But, speaking on the Radio 4 Today programme, Lord Haskins was more conciliatory, saying there was room for small units supplying local markets.

However, writing in The Guardian, George Monbiot says Lord Haskins is a “rural destruction co-ordinator” intent on the rout of small farmers.

“Putting Lord Haskins in charge of rural recovery is like putting Norman Tebbit in charge of race relations,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, controversy surrounding compensation to farmers and calls for compulsory insurance against the disease continue to make the headlines.

Brussels has launched a fraud inquiry into compensation payments following a highly critical report by its veterinary inspectors.

The EU Food and Veterinary Office warned Britain two months ago that the system was “flawed”, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Former National Farmers Union chief economist Sean Rickard claims that farmers leaders recognise that compensation has been “astronomically high”.

He suggests to The Guardian that payments should have been based on average market prices over the past year, which would have halved payments,

“You should not underestimate the ability of farmers and their advisors to work the system,” said Mr Rickard.

In The Times, outspoken farmer Oliver Walston defends the payments, pointing out that they are for lost assets, not loss of income.

But he adds: “As usual, the farming lobby manages to make a sows ear out of a silk purse by appearing secretive, surly and ungrateful.”

It is high time that every farmer realised that it is the publics business how much they receive, and full figures should be published, claims Mr Walston.

Costs of insuring against foot-and-mouth have multiplied by as much as 10 times since the epidemic began, reports the Financial Times.

The newspaper says this revelation will complicate the already thorny issue of who would pay for any future epidemic, farmers or the government.

The government has come under fire after admitting that it over-estimated the cost of the virus cleanup by almost four times, reports the Daily Express.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs admitted that the cost will be 200m, not 800m as was previously claimed.

No new cases of foot-and-mouth were reported for the second consecutive day on Monday (06 August).

This is the first time this has happened since the epidemic began is February. The total number of UK cases stands at 1928.

  • The Guardian, 07 August, 2001, page7, 15
  • The Daily Telegraph, 07 August, 2001, page 1, 4
  • The Times, 07 August, 2001, page 1, 6, 12
  • Financial Times, 07 August, 2001, page 4
  • DailY Express, 07 August, 2001, page 10

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Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage