Animal health will cost farmers says NFU

Pressure to reduce public spending on animal health is here to stay, farmers have been warned.

Livestock producers will face continuing calls to contribute to disease control measures, said Kevin Pearce, NFU head of food and farming.

Those demands were likely to continue even if there was a change of government following the forthcoming general election, he added.

“We will have to see what happens but, as we’ve said many times, this issue isn’t going away,” said Mr Pearce.

“The whole issue of public expenditure and government spending before and after the next election is going to be key.

“Agriculture is going to have a battle on its hands.”

The government remained determined to press ahead with plans to share the cost of animal health policy with farmers, said Mr Pearce.

It has set up a joint industry and government working group to advise ministers on how best to develop a new body for animal health.

The advisory group was established this summer following calls for farmers to be given a greater say in the development of animal health policy.

It is being chaired by economist Rosemary Radcliffe, who carried out the 2005 review which led to the creation of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.