Comment on the current farming crisis and Lord Haskins' remarks:email received August 29 2004
What is the point in comparing the disaster to arable farmers caused by heavy rainfall with that to livestock farmers in 2001 caused by FMD, as Lord Haskins is now doing in asking for compensation to arable farmers because, as he says, this disaster is worse than that in 2001? He says that "in 2001 farmers, affected by FMD did get compensation". Such a comparison is inaccurate and unfair for at least three reasons:
The current problems are due to natural causes. The problems in 2001 were man-made, created by erroneous and unvalidated control policies that killed millions of healthy animals and paralysed the livestock sector, as well as other industries. Loss of one year's crops cannot be compared with loss of animals, some irreplaceable bloodlines, that had, in many cases, been nurtured and breed for years, and sometimes generations. While farmers whose animals were slaughtered received compensation, farmers whose animals were not slaughtered, but who suffered months of movement restrictions and loss of income, received no compensation.
Arable farmers may well deserve compensation now, but please be fair and accurate and don't set one sector against another.