Farmers lose out on FMD hearing

A bid by farmers to claim damages following the 2007 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak has been dismissed

A bid by farmers to claim damages following the 2007 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak has been dismissed. The seven remaining farmers’ claims, in the National Farmers’ Union-backed legal case, were dismissed on 31 March, when judgment was handed down following a hearing in the High Court in February. A further seven claims had already been settled without an admission of liability.

The hearing, which took place on February 23-25, concerned applications that had been made by the defendants in the case – the Institute for Animal Health, Merial Animal Health and Defra – to have the claims either struck out or for judgment to be given in their favour.

In the judgment, Mr Justice Tugendhat found that the farmers have no real prospect of succeeding on any of their claims, so, for that reason, dismissed them.

Commenting on the case, NFU president Peter Kendall said: “This judgement is a huge disappointment to livestock farmers. The impacts of the FMD outbreak in 2007 were crippling for many businesses.

"If there had been proper biosecurity and containment at Pirbright, the outbreak wouldn’t have happened.”

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