23 November 2001
Farmers asked to commit virus fraud
A PEER has accused the government of asking farmers to commit fraud to back a billion-pound claim for foot-and-mouth compensation from the EU.
The Times reports that a letter from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs asks farmers to help compile a record of clean-up costs.
A log of cleaning and disinfecting work carried out on farms is required by the EU auditing office, explains the letter.
The letter reads: Due to the emergency and the workloadit was not possible to collate all the information that was required.
I am now writing to all of the early culled farmers to ask for their assistance in writing out he log/diary.
The letter was highlighted in the House of Lords by the Countess of Mar. She said it asked farmers to fraudulently produce a log.
Meanwhile, Defra has eased foot-and-mouth controls on 1,450 farms by lifting the Penrith Spur resticted infected area.
This relaxes animal movement controls in Melmerby Fell, Dufton Fell, Kirkby Thore, Shap Fells, Martindale Common and Penrith.
At the same time the boundary of the infected area has been redrawn, removing 944 farms in Cumbria. The reduced infected area now contains 1,230 farms.
Defra Cumbria regional operations director, Ray Anderson, said: “This is a landmark in the efforts to restore Cumbria to normality following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.”
He said that farmers north of what was the infected area who had stock culled had not been able to restock with stock from outside the infected area.
Now they are outside the infected area, they can restock with animals from at risk and foot-and-mouth free counties.
Defra said the decision to lift the restricted infected area followed an intensive programme of blood testing to detect undisclosed disease.
- The Times, 23 November 2001, page 1