Brown offers pig compensation hope

31 August 2000

Brown offers pig compensation hope

By Alistair Driver

FARM minister Nick Brown has given a strong indication that farmers will receive compensation for pigs slaughtered under the governments pig welfare disposal scheme.

He has also announced a further reduction in the size of the first surveillance zone around the Norfolk breeding unit at the centre of the outbreak in East Anglia.

This will free up nearly 200 more farms from movement restrictions, he said.

In a letter sent to National Pig Association chairman John Godfrey on Wednesday (Aug 30), the minister said he was hoping to announce the details of compensation before the weekend.

I am seeking Commission clearance for a state aid to introduce payments linked strictly to dealing with welfare problems, he said.

Payments would be retrospective. But once clearance was forthcoming I would ask the Intervention Board to expedite them as far as possible to assist the East Anglian industry with its cash flow.

He added, however, that it will be hard to justify compensation for business losses. This has never been the purpose of making payments in disease outbreaks, he said

His comments were welcomed by Mr Godfrey. He said: I am delighted with this response as the Minister has clearly indicated that he expects to be able to make an announcement with respect to compensation for beleaguered producers within days.

Mr Godfrey went on to say that conditions for pigs in East Anglia had been deteriorating rapidly due to movement restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the disease.

The human suffering was also substantial, he added.

Mr Browns comments came as farmers in the five surveillance zones set up by MAFF to contain swine fever appeared to be shunning the welfare scheme.

By Wednesday afternoon the Intervention Board, which is running the scheme, said it had only been contacted by one farmer interested in participating.

The scheme has been set up by MAFF to alleviate welfare problems caused by pigs mounting up on farms because of movement restrictions imposed by MAFF.

The National Pig Association said farmers were waiting to see if they would receive compensation for pigs entered into the scheme before deciding to participate.

Under the scheme, hauliers, slaughterers and renderers will all be paid in full by government dispose of pigs, but nothing definite has been announced for farmers.

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