29 July 1998
Calf Processing Aid Scheme to be scrapped
By FWi staff
THE controversial Calf Processing Aid Scheme, which pays farmers to slaughter new-born male calves, is to be scrapped this autumn.
The scheme, which was introduced to reduce the number of beef animals on the market as demand dropped in the wake of BSE, will close on 30 November.
“Its continuation would distort calf prices in the short term and artificially constrain the production of home-reared beef in the medium term,” said Agriculture Minister Nick Brown in a written Parliamentary answer today (Wednesday).
More than a million calves have been slaughtered, at a cost to the taxpayer of well over £100 million, since the scheme started just over two years ago.
The aim was to provide an outlet for male dairy calves which can no longer be sold abroad because of the export ban on British beef. MAFF officials believe that the continuing fall in BSE cases means that the scheme is no longer necessary.
Dairy farmers received approximately £80 for each calf killed under the scheme, equivalent to £4000 a year for the average dairy herd of 100 cows.