Organic compensation anomaly prompts TB slaughter refusal

An organic dairy farmer is refusing to let DEFRA slaughter a TB reactor on his farm until it agrees to pay a fair level of compensation for the organic sector.

Currently, organic farmers do not receive any premium compensation for cattle slaughtered as TB reactors.

This is both totally unfair and illegal, claims Rory O’Connor, who keeps 40 cross-bred cows at Lower Kerswill Farm, Diptford, Devon.

He has written to the State Veterinary Service requesting that the rules be changed immediately.

“On a matter of principle I cannot support a system that makes no allowance for organic livestock in the compensation scheme,” he wrote.

“The word organic is a legal definition.

How is it possible then for DEFRA to ignore organic livestock completely in the table of valuations?”

Mr O’Connor’s cow, a nine-year old New Zealand Holstein Friesian, is worth at least 1500, he claims, but the compensation offered is just 642.

“This is a travesty and a slap in the face, which I am not prepared to accept lying down.

What does it say about DEFRA’s commitment to organic farming if we are being treated in this way?”

His spring calving cattle currently average 7500 litres, with 1600kg of cake, and are cross-bred with Jerseys and Swedish Reds to be particularly healthy and long-lived.

Over 60% have had four or more calves, with more than 30% exceeding seven lactations.

“Our cross-bred cattle have been as carefully bred as any pedigree herd, and cross-breds are generally the most valuable cows at any farm sale.

But DEFRA is conveniently ignoring that.”