Defra Guilty, But Still No Payout for Swill Feeders

UK - DEFRA has been found guilty of maladministration over the ban on pig swill at the time of the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic.
calendar icon 19 December 2007
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The verdict by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman follows a five-year investigation into the decision to close the £40m swill processing industry.

But the Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, ruled against compensation to 62 farmers who lost their livelihoods because of the ban. The Association of Swill Users said the outcome “defied logic” and vowed to continue its fight on behalf of farmers who had lost everything.

“The Ombudsman agreed with what the farmers have said all along – that those who made the decision to ban pig swill did not have a clue about the impact it would have on farmers,” said ASU spokesman Alex McGaw.

“Many of those farmers have gone out of business as a result of that decision but they will get no compensation for it. It’s disgusting.”

It is still not known what caused the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic and whether pig swill was implicated. It is estimated that the ban on swill feeding is generating an extra 1.7 million tonnes of waste in landfill sites.

The Ombudsman said Ministers who ruled out paying compensation when the ban was introduced had not taken the decision “in the full light of the facts”. It was therefore maladministration. Her decision not to award compensation might seem “harsh”, but said it was “inevitable” everything was not done as well as it might have been during the epidemic.

The investigation found no official veterinary opinion was sought before the ban. The German government gave farmers four years to adapt while Defra allowed them two weeks.

Source: icWales

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