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UFU to meet DEFRA over animal health costs issue

by 5m Editor
22 June 2007, at 8:45am

UK - The Ulster Farmers’ Union will attend talks next week with DEFRA, to discuss Government proposals that farmers should contribute to animal health costs. UFU President Kenneth Sharkey said there could be no deal on animal health cost sharing proposals unless farmers were given a proper input into animal health policy making.

Mr Sharkey sees this as a critical meeting. "These negotiations have reached a very important moment. DEFRA’s proposals so far during this process would result in farmers contributing to the costs of animal health control, but without any say in animal health policy. This is not acceptable to the industry. Just look at the Governments reluctance to deal effectively with Bovine TB. How could we sign up to sharing the cost of TB when there is no effective strategy in place to deal with it, and we are being given no say in future changes to policy,” he said.

Mr Sharkey said that DEFRA were not proposing a partnership approach with the industry, but this agreement must be tabled, otherwise it would not be reached. "I will not ask farmers to bear another financial burden if it won’t deliver benefits to the industry," he stressed.

At the meeting, UFU also plans to re-iterate that farmers already contribute significantly to disease control both in terms of time, such as herd testing, and direct costs.

5m Editor