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NFU Opposes Draft Animal Health Bill

by 5m Editor
28 January 2010, at 9:31am

UK - The NFU says it remains completely and fundamentally opposed to any costs being transferred to livestock farmers for dealing with animal disease outbreaks after the publication of the new draft Animal Health Bill.

The Bill extremely concerns the NFU with its lack of detail about potential cost-sharing; it says this element will be introduced in a Finance Bill sometime in the future.

NFU President Peter Kendall said: "We have lobbied for some time on this issue and consulted our members; we remain completely opposed to any cost burden being passed on to livestock farmers, particularly as we believe there are genuine savings to be made within Defra's current Animal Health budget.

"Livestock farmers are already paying their fair share; they contribute significantly to the overall cost of animal health and welfare and adhere to strict biosecurity on farm. Reducing or removing compensation for farms deemed to have failed relative requirements is another major area of concern for us. While this may sound reasonable to some, our fear is that it will be impossible to develop a fair and proportionate system which takes into account individual farming businesses and the variety of livestock kept and different types and strains for diseases. Government also needs to be clearer about how it will increase protection to the industry from exotic diseases entering the country."

The NFU called for an independent body for Animal Health and believes the proposed body is a positive step forward. However, the devil is in the detail and we need to scrutinise the draft Bill very closely to ensure that the proposed body meets the needs of livestock farmers. We will also be seeking clarification on why the Government now feels that it needs to introduce cost sharing measures through a Finance Bill and will maintain our fundamental opposition to such a move.

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