30 July 1999
Green light for casualty claims under OTMS
By John Burns
THE Intervention Board is to pay for casualty cattle slaughtered in the early weeks of the over 30-month scheme after farmers called in the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
But many producers, who have pressed for a decision for over three years, have been disappointed because the grounds for payment are tightly restricted.
The board will only make flat rate payments of £230 a head on casualty cattle that, for reasons beyond the owners control could not be presented into the OTMS.
Claims are only valid for a four-week period between 29 April and 25 May, 1996 (10 June in Scotland).
To qualify for payments, the producer must be able to prove cattle were eligible for the OTMS and that they could not be entered for a valid reason.
Veterinary evidence of the need for emergency slaughter, and that cattle were fit for human consumption, is required.
Confirmation is also needed that the carcasses were disposed of correctly and no payments were received.
Richard Haddock, who runs 300 lowland suckler cows in Devon campaigned for three years for the payments, eventually resorting to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Mr Haddock had to arrange emergency slaughter for 15 cows due to be sold as culls but grounded by the BSE crisis.
After an on-farm consultation with a government vet and the RSPCA, he took advice and had the cattle weighed, slaughtered and cremated at his own expense.
All but one were slaughtered before the 29 April, 1996, qualifying date, and so he has been told he will get one £230 payment but nothing for the other 14.
“So we fight on, through the Ombudsman,” he said. “I followed MAFF advice and did it by the book and this is how we get treated.”
All claims have to be registered with the Intervention Board by 31 August.