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Cost Sharing Discussions With DEFRA are 'Exhausted'

by 5m Editor
7 July 2008, at 9:32am

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union says it has ‘exhausted’ negotiations with DEFRA on animal health cost sharing proposals.

Deputy President John Thomspon

UFU Deputy President John Thompson said the UFU holds the view that DEFRA are continuing to target animal health simply as a means to cut costs.

John Thompson said; “Animal health is a priority issue for local farmers and it is a crucial issue for the future well being of food production in Northern Ireland. Instead of talking about cost cutting in Animal Health, Government should be considering how to invest in Animal Health so that we can ensure our health status is as high as possible, especially at a time when food security is on the national agenda”.

The UFU says its meetings with DEFRA have now been exhausted, but work will continue locally with DARD to discuss cost sharing and responsibility issues. Cost sharing is also being considered as part of an EU wide Community Animal Health Plan and the UFU says it would be premature for the UK Government to implement a cost sharing model before the EU Plan emerges.

John Thompson said; “We have repeatedly highlighted that farmers already contribute significantly to the cost of animal health such as the cost associated with herd testing and many other costs such as meat inspection charges, offal charges and BSE testing charges. This is not an issue where the Government can simply continue to transfer costs onto the industry. Farmers won’t absorb any further animal health costs without a proper input into animal health policies. TB is an example of how the Governments current approach to animal disease is not working and how we could not sign up to cost sharing when the measures we would be helping to pay for are clearly not working”.

5m Editor