EU commission drops disease compensation threat

The National Farmers Union has fought off EU Commission proposals that would have cost British farmers millions of pounds in compensation for animal disease outbreaks.

Intense lobbying by the NFU and Defra on a proposed new EU Regulation governing so-called "state aids" to farmers has resulted in three potentially hugely damaging proposals being scrapped.

These are:

? A limit of compensation to no more than 75% of the animals' market value

? Compensation only becoming payable if more than 30% of production was lost

? Larger farming business being excluded from compensation altogether.

NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said: "The dropping of these threats will come as a huge relief to livestock farmers.

"We have been working extremely hard on the draft Commission proposals. The original draft proposals would have placed significant restrictions on how aid for animal disease would have been made in the future.

"Removing these three major concerns from the latest draft proposals is a direct result of our efforts, together with support from Defra. It is good to see common sense has prevailed and the Commission considered all the points that we made to them."

In addition the NFU hopes changes in the Commission proposals will pave the way for a much more meaningful discussion on the Community Animal Health Plan (CAHP).

Raymond said: "The original state aid proposals were overshadowing the discussions on the very important CAHP.

"Our objective is to get a much more co-ordinated approach to EU animal health policy which brings the Commission, member states and producers much closer together so we can achieve our combined objective of reducing the threat of animal disease and minimising the costs for producers."

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