30 July 1998
NICK BROWN, the new minister for agriculture, has got off to a flying start by ordering a new cull of all offspring of cattle with BSE.
The voluntary scheme will help Britain to boost its case for an early lifting of the ban on beef exports. There are hopes that a European agreement to restart exports can begin in the autumn.
Mr Brown said progress had been made in discussions on the agreement but they would not be complete before the summer break.
The value varies according to the age and weight of animals, from around £100 for a calf of less than one month, to £540 for a two year old animal. Pedigree animals would be valued individually. The cull could cost as much as £1bn this financial year, with taxpayers picking up the cost of slaughter.
The voluntary scheme will be superseded by a compulsory scheme, once agreement is reached in Brussels. Compensation will be on the same basis.
The National Farmers Union said because scientific conditions required by the European Union had been reached, there should be an immediate lifting of the ban. Ben Gill, the unions president, said the offspring cull would make refusal to lift the ban even harder.
- Brown announces major changes for agriculture, FWi, yesterday
- The Independent 30/07/98 page 8
- Financial Times 30/07/98 page 11
- The Scotsman 30/07/98 page 28