Welsh Assembly rejects TB compensation tables

Politicians in Wales have thrown out proposals to introduce valuation tables for bovine tuberculosis compensation.

In a surprise move that will reignite opposition to the identical tabular compensation system introduced in England in March, Welsh Assembly members voted on Tuesday (23 May) to reject the proposals in the principality.

The consensus reached by assembly members was that the proposals were “unfair to cattle owners” and an “inefficient use of taxpayers’ money”.

They will have to be amended before they can be presented to the assembly again.

Plaid Cymru’s countryside minister Ellin Jones explained:

“The proposals over-valued animals of poorer condition and quality and under-valued animals of higher condition and quality.

Not only was this unfair to cattle owners, especially pedigree cattle owners, but was an inefficient use of taxpayers’ money,” said the member for Ceredigion.

NFU Cymru president Dai Davies said:

“It was pleasing to see that assembly members saw sense on this issue.”

Farmers’ Union of Wales TB spokesman, Evan Thomas, also welcomed the decision saying that any future review of the compensation system must take account of the animal’s quality, not just its age.

But in England Richard Haddock, former NFU livestock board chairman, said:

“I hope this sends a clear message to the DEFRA ministers of the need to review the situation in England.

“Table valuations are one of the biggest injustices forced on the livestock sector in this country for many years.”

His sentiments were echoed by dairy farmer Alan Williams, who said the Welsh decision had spurred him on in his fight against tabular compensation payments.

Mr Williams of Newton St Margaret, Herefordshire, told Farmers Weekly in April (News, 28 April) that his Plox herd of pedigree Holstein Friesians would go bust under the new evaluation system and he would rather go to prison than accept it.

“In the past three years I have lost 153 cattle.

If they had used a tabular valuation system to calculate my compensation I would have received £170,000 less than I did.

“God, I wish I was Welsh.”