Lawyers demand BSE compensation

28 April 2000

Lawyers demand BSE compensation

By John Burns

LAWYERS are preparing to sue the 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.

Agricultural law firm Burges Salmon is likely to be base the case on the 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 Farmers For Action, the group of grassroots producers which was set up earlier this year.

In November 1995, Mr Haddock and other Devon farmers wrote to the then junior agriculture minister Angela Browning asking for help.

They wanted 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.

The farmers then asked the government to loan the industry the necessary funds free of interest for up to twenty years.

The money would have been paid back over that period from a compulsory levy on all cattle sales.

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