Farmers refuse to co-operate with cost-sharing following TB decision

Farmers have vowed not to co-operate with the government in a bid to force it to reverse its decision over a badger cull.

NFU president Peter Kendall said the NFU would pull out of the government’s consultation on cost- and responsibility-sharing with immediate effect.

“We must fight and frustrate,” he said at the NFU protest over the badger cull announcement in London this week (8 July).

“We have to challenge any future costs being passed onto the industry as a result of cost and responsibility sharing.

“I call for the industry to stand together on this.”

Broken trust

The Tenant Farmers Association said the government’s decision had left it with “no choice” than to pull out of the cost-sharing consultation.

“Trust between the government and industry has gone,” TFA national chairman Greg Bliss said.

“The government’s drive to pass further costs onto the industry is a legacy of its poor management of the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak and its inability to deal sensibly with the curse of bovine TB.”

TB test

George Dunn, TFA chief executive, said an industry meeting on withdrawing from the cost- and responsibility-sharing discussions would be held on 15 July.

At a press conference with DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn at last week’s Royal Show, livestock farmer Ben Pullen said he would not carry out the TB test which was due to be conducted on 60 of his cows this week.

Mr Pullen, who lost 21 cattle from his 500-head herd in Churchtown, Gloucestershire, last year, told the minister he saw “no point” in continuing testing if the government would not sanction a cull.

“We can’t go on like this – desperation calls for desperate actions. As long as government doesn’t do anything, you will get no co-operation from me.”

On the FWiSPace forums

The decision to pull out of cost-sharing consultations has been backed by FWi Space members.

Writing on the forums, “Townie” said the farming industry should adopt a policy of non-cooperation “across the board”.

“We have to combine direct action with simply not implementing what [the government] requires.

“If the government is really serious about solving the supposed food crisis, they have to get real about supporting farmers, not weighing them down.”

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