Law firm prepares case for BSEcompensation

28 April 2000

Law firm prepares case for BSEcompensation

A CASE is being prepared to sue government for full compensation for the financial impact of BSE on beef producers. The case will include the consequences of the Over Thirty Months Scheme, including the weight limit imposed part-way through the scheme.

Leading agricultural law firm Burges Salmon is preparing the case which is likely to be based on the specific circumstances of Richard Haddock who runs 300 suckler cows in south Devon. But evidence is also being taken from other parties who believe they have been financially damaged by government action on BSE. Several farmers are behind the prosecution. All are members of the Farmers For Action group.

In November 1995, Mr Haddock and other Devon farmers wrote to the then junior agriculture minister Angela Browning asking for help to set up a scheme to remove cattle at the end of their working lives from the human food chain and to provide full compensation for them.

They asked government to loan the industry the necessary funds free of interest for up to twenty years. It would have been paid back over that period from a compulsory levy on all cattle sales.

"But it was dismissed out of hand as too expensive. In fact governments only cost for compensation would have been the loan interest foregone. So if it is in any way possible to take government – and possibly other parties – to task we will be doing so," said Mr Haddock.

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