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Compulsory slaughter prices will be fairer

by 5m Editor
4 November 2003, at 12:00am

UK - From next year there will be more transparency and less confusion over compulsory slaughter payments.

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Government is planning a scale of payments for pigs and other livestock that will be equivalent to market averages applying at the time. High value stock will get more individual treatment.

The new system is designed to be cost neutral. Defra says it wants to offer fair compensation to farmers but to avoid over valuation. The need for an overhaul of the current system for compulsory slaughter compensation became clear during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.

Defra plans to introduce a new system next year that is simple, transparent and sufficiently standardised to deliver predictable levels of compensation. It has launched a consultation exercise. The paperwork is in the NPA library.

Under the new system pigs, cattle, sheep and poultry will be divided into categories and each category will be allocated a current market value.

Expensive breeding stock and other animals worth significantly more than current market values will have their own scheme whereby they are pre-valued and registered with Defra.

Compensation for statutory slaughter of animals has grown like topsy and currently is calculated using a different method for each disease. The arrangements are fragmented and in some cases contradictory, says Defra.

Apart from being fairer to both farmers and the public purse, the new rationalised system will also improve disease control as it will avoid the need for valuations at point of slaughter, which in the main is what happened during foot and mouth and which can interfere with disease control measures during an outbreak of fast moving exotic disease.

It is also likely the new system will reduce delays in producers receiving their compensation cheques, says Defra.

The pig diseases to be included in the scheme are African swine fever, Aujeszky's, classical swine fever, foot and mouth, swine vesicular disease and teschen disease. (Teschen disease hasn't been seen in UK for a number of years. It causes paralysis usually followed by death in three or four days.)

Bearing in mind the need for the new payment scheme to embrace operational simplicity, do you think these categories (below) adequately cover the pig sector? As part its current consultation Defra would appreciate feedback from producers. NPA members who wish to make comment should email Ann Petersson at NPA.

Pig compensation categories proposed by Defra
Breeding sows and replacements Any female animal which has given birth and any female animal 85kg and over intended for breeding but not yet farrowed
Breeding boars Any boar used or intended to be used for breeding, 100kg and over
Non breeding stock 0-11 weeks
Non breeding stock 11-26 weeks

If you think the proposed category system is flawed, and can come up with something better, Defra would like to know.

Standard compensation rates for cattle and sheep will be based on market prices and will be calculated and published monthly. Pigs will not be so easy because there is insufficient live market data for weaners or slaughter animals.

'We propose that our agreed categories, for commercial animals, will have to rely on deadweight prices as a basis. We understand that commercial pig producers already list their assets under categories that reflect the production cycle," says Defra in its consultation document.

How would you set the compensation prices for pigs? Defra would like your views. Email Ann if you have any ideas.

High value animals

High value animals that cannot be included in the proposed standardised system will probably be subject to a pre-valuation approach where owners who consider the value of their animals to be above standard rates will be able to ask for a valuation by a valuer drawn from a panel of independent valuers.

Defra proposes the valuation would be paid for by the producer concerned and would need to be updated at least once a year. After a given period the registered value would lapse.

Defra is keen to have producers' views on the idea of a pre-valuation scheme for high value stock. For instance, bearing in mind price fluctuations during the year, how could valuations be adjusted with the minimum cost and bureaucracy?

Disease Compensation Paid
African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever Affected animals: half the value of the animal immediately before it became affected: in every other case, the value of the animal immediately before it was slaughtered
Aujeszky’s Disease Market value of the animal: maximum 3300
Foot & Mouth 100% of valuation (of individual animal) carried out by independent valuer (though at one stage in the 2001 outbreak farmers were able to opt for standard values)

Source: National Pig Association - By Digby Scott - 3rd November 2003

5m Editor