Swill users demand compensation

THE VIDEO‘S emergence has brought renewed calls for compensation for the 62 swill users who lost their livelihoods when swill feeding was banned in 2001.

Veterinary experts reviewing the tape said the unit shown was in no way representative of a properly farmed UK swill feeding unit.

And the Country Land and Business Association‘s solicitor Chris Price added that the video would add weight to the claim that swill users were shut down wrongly.

“Bobby Waugh‘s Burnside Farm was not typical,” said Mr Price. “One poorly run unit does not implicate 62 other well run farms.

“Under the Human Rights Act a state cannot destroy a livelihood without paying compensation. The government must now review this decision and ensure that justice is done,” he said.

Members of the campaign group the Association of Swill Users also saw the video.

“This video quite clearly shows that Burnside Farm was allowed to deteriorate over a long period of time. We were not to blame for that,” said Lynda Davies, the group‘s national co-ordinator.

“We were made scapegoats and had our livelihoods taken away because of this one farm and the failure of the system that was in place to protect us as all.

“The local Chinese restaurants won £20,000 in compensation after they were wrongly blamed for playing a role in the disease‘s spread.

“Mink farmers were compensated when they lost their businesses and swill is still fed in the rest of Europe.

“And yet one group of honest, scrupulous farmers didn’t receive anything whatsoever,” said Mrs Davies.

“We‘ve been blamed, even vilified after the government made a knee-jerk reaction at the height of the F&M crisis.”

Former swill feeder Mark Prescott said that three years after the ban he was finding life increasingly difficult.

“I was told by DEFRA officials to go into the composting of waste feed instead.

“But I‘m not a farmer anymore. The government put a stop to that. So, I don’t qualify for any grants. The equipment I had invested in to feed my pigs stands idle.

“It‘s daft because we were boiling waste and recycling it. There‘s a lot more danger in dumping it on a landfill. None of it makes sense until you see that video.

“Then you realise we were just convenient for the government – just scapegoats,” he said.

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