Welsh review bovine TB compensation payments

Wales’ system for compensating farmers who lose cattle to bovine TB could be changed amid claims that payments are too high.

Compensation is currently based on individual on-farm valuations but Welsh farm minister, Alun Davies, is considering adopting the system in operation in England.

In 2006 the Welsh government backed away from a plan to introduce tabular valuations but Mr Davies is now revisiting the issue.

He said it was time for a compensation system that was fair to both cattle keepers and taxpayers. The current system has led to criticism that some farmers are paid twice the true value of their cattle.

(More on bovine TB and badger culling)

In launching his review, Mr Davies also suggested that a system was needed which encouraged cattle keepers to play a part in eradicating TB.

“I have reviewed TB compensation arrangements and have decided to consult on the introduction of a table valuation system in Wales. I believe there are distinct advantages to adopting this system, particularly as it would speed up the removal of diseased animals from farms and reduce the risk of further TB spread,” he said.

The EU Audit and Task Force recently criticised the level of TB valuations in Wales compared with published market prices. “By not recognising this criticism we could jeopardise EU co-financing of certain bovine TB control measures,” said Mr Davies.

The consultation will run until 22 April.