Badger vaccine trial farmer slams TB compensation

A beef producer whose farm succumbed to TB despite being part of a badger vaccination trial has attacked the paltry compensation paid for his slaughtered stock.

The beef farmer asked not to be named but is one of five currently under TB restriction on the National Trust’s Killerton Estate in Devon, where the four-year vaccination trial is in its final year.

The farmer said the trial had failed to protect his stock and the compensation had left him thousands of pounds out of pocket.

See also: Defra to launch online map of TB breakdowns

He spoke of his shock at finding TB in his herd and anger at the lack of compensation paid for the six pedigree cattle, which were destroyed last week.

“The compensation is so low that it doesn’t even cover costs of production,” he said.

Having paid for top-quality genetics to improve the herd, each of the pedigree animals slaughtered was worth £3,000-5,000. That does not account for the fact that five were in-calf to top bulls and one had a calf at foot, he said.

“The compensation is just £1,465 or less – you’d get more at market for any commercial heifer. Why should farmers support the scheme when the compensation does not cover the value of the animal, the labour for testing, and the anxiety? It makes no sense when nothing is being done to stop the spread of TB in wildlife.”

As well as losing one entire bloodline in the cull, the farmer now faced losing top-quality bull calves due to the removal of isolation units from 1 October (see “Pre-movement test ruling changed”). “I’ve got a building on a separate holding that we used to be able to trade out of if the animals tested clear after two 60-day tests.

“Now we can’t do that, so we won’t be able to sell any pedigree animals at all – they’ll just have to go to slaughter,” he said.

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