Foot and mouth policy switch causing confusion

Until this week, farmers would receive a set sum per culled animal regardless of the beast’s value. But now the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said it will appoint an independent valuer to determine the amount of compensation paid.

PKF partner Ian Schofield, who has studied the crisis throughout, believes the change will fuel uncertainty.

‘The system they?re putting in place is the correct system,’ he said.

‘In an ideal world it would have been used when the epidemic was at its peak but it couldn’t be done then because of the numbers,’ he added.

‘It will fuel uncertainty, but there are facilities to appeal if they think a valuation is unfair,’ he said.

Schofield said the problems arose when the disease was at its peak and valuers could not get onto farms to see the animals. The government, therefore, fixed the amount for compensation.

The government said farmers could notify DEFRA within 14 days to dispute the valuation.

It is believed one of the reasons for this move were rumours that farmers are infecting their animals with the virus in order to obtain compensation. This morning, the financial times reported that a farmer from Pembrokeshire was offered £2,000 for infecting her animals with foot & mouth.

‘But if actual valuations are happening there isn’t anything to gain,’ said Schofield

DEFRA said the cost of foot & mouth had increased to £2.28bn.

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