Government must pay compensation for FMD

The government's refusal to compensate the meat industry following the 2007 foot-and-mouth outbreak is unaccepatable in the face of the Anderson report, meat bosses have claimed.

Stuart Roberts, director of the BMPA said: "The outbreak cost our members alone in excess of £20m, and these downstream costs that government resist paying for must bear more heavily in the minds of policymakers.

"The current government stance to not compensate us for the outbreak when yet another report has highlighted their responsibility in relation to the cause of the outbreak is unacceptable."

The Anderson report hit out at the government laboratory at the heart of the outbreak, Pirbright. It said the virus should never have escaped the facility, which was describes as "shabby and dilapidated", and the regulatory system was poor.

Roberts said that the BMPA supported the recommendations made by the Anderson report. "The lack of progress since 2001 on issues related to livestock data is disappointing and it is critical that sufficient priority and resources are assigned to this work.

"A key lesson must be to ensure that everything possible is done to eliminate the risks associated with the circumstances which led to this outbreak"

"We are pleased that Anderson has recognised the impact on the wider food chain and it is vital that these impacts are truly reflected in future policy decisions."

He added there were areas the BMPA would have like the review to have explored in more detail, such as the incompatibilities of superimposing arbitrary European export/trade rules on top of established and complex European and domestic disease control legislation.

"We would advocate an established risk analysis particularly for licensing meat and meat products, to simplify the rules and establish principles for handling these products at various stages of an outbreak. This would not only simplify the rules but also improve the licensing procedure for government and enforcement bodies."

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