JANUARY 29, 2010: Controversial plans to link animal disease compensation payments to biosecurity standards on farms have been revealed by Defra.

The plan was revealed in the Draft Animal Health Bill, published by the Department. The Draft Bill’s main purpose is to outline the principles of the Department’s Responsibility and Cost Sharing plans. But it also covers plans to simplify existing provisions on animal disease compensation payments in England and Wales. Planned changes to the compensation regime include ‘provisions to allow reductions in payments where a person has contributed to the spread of disease or breached relevant regulations’. Defra said building greater responsibility sharing would help bring about ‘essential behaviour change in the livestock sector in relation to risk ’as long as ‘suitable financial contributions and incentives’ are also introduced. NFU head of food and farming Kevin Pearce said, while the move was likely to be popular politically, the big concern was whether it was practically achievable and could be done equitably, without unfairly disadvantaging farmers.

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