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bTB-Infected: Do Farmers Get Due Compensation?

13 June 2008

UK - The controversial tabular valuation system for cattle has recently come under scrutiny in a High Court Judicial Review, but why is the policy hated by farmers and yet so valued by Defra.

According to Alistair Driver writng for Farmers Guardian, there have a been a lot of words used to describe the cattle tabular valuation system since its introduction in England in February 2006 – ‘unjust’, ‘inequitable’, ‘unacceptable’, and ‘wholly discriminatory’ are just some of them.

WAccording to Farmers Guardian, while some farmers will have routinely gained, perhaps receiving over £1,000 for slaughtered animals worth hundreds, others will have felt consistently underpaid, typically losing a few hundred pounds on each animal slaughtered.

However, for farmers who have lost large number of high value pedigree and organic animals to bovine TB – the most common of the four diseases covered by the system – it has been nothing short of catastrophic.

Where once compensation was based on an animal’s market value, farmers now receive a figure based on simple market averages in pre-determined categories that may amount to just a fraction of its true worth.

Last year, Devon farmer Jeremy Jones received around £20,000 in compensation for 28 ‘elite’ pedigree dairy animals slaughtered because of bTB. Yet independent valuers brought in specially placed their combined worth at £85,000.

Mr Jones described the award as ‘deeply disheartening’. “These figures do not seem to reflect any market value,” he said.

Others hit hard by bTB outbreaks say the system has cost them over £100,000, with knock-on effects on productivity set to carry on long into the future as a result of their inability to replace quality stock.

  • View the Farmers Guardian story by clicking here.

    Further Reading

    - Find out more information on Bovine Tuberculosis by clicking here.
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