6 July 2001
Union welcomes vet bill decision
By FWi staff
FARMERS leaders have welcomed news that the government will pay for veterinary inspections of animals moving out of Infected Areas for slaughter.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced this concession in foot-and-mouth controls after protests from farmers.
Ministers had relaxed restrictions to allow farmers caught in Infected Areas to sell for slaughter further afield, increasing competition for their stock.
But producers pointed out that veterinary costs, plus the costs of cleansing and disinfection could total more than 100 per load.
On Thursday (05 July) junior DEFRA minister Lord Whitty bowed to pressure and announced that the department would pick up the bill.
The National Farmers Union claimed this decision followed sustained lobbying by its representatives.
NFU president Ben Gill said: “This is a welcome relief for livestock
farmers who were increasingly facing the anomaly of paying this charge as
the size of infected areas was shrinking more and more.
“We will continue working to establish more cleansing and disinfection
centres to reduce other associated costs further.”
The union warned ministers that while it fully accepted the need for extra
precautions, the costs were prohibitive, particularly for smaller farms.
Lord Whittys announcement allows for local veterinary inspectors, funded by DEFRA, to carry out inspections.
Four new cases of foot-and-mouth have been confirmed on Friday (06 July), three in Cumbria and one in North Yorkshire. The UK Total now stands at 1818.
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