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The farms that suffered most were the small family farms that earned their income by farming - that had concentrated on breeding good quality animals

Dear Mary,

Thanks for putting Nick Green's photographs on warmwell and for your comments. In all the comments about “compensation” paid to farmers for the killing of their animals, it seems to be forgotten that no compensation was paid to farmers. In order to kill the animals, Defra had to buy them from the owners. They did so by compulsory purchase, in just the same way as when the Ministry of Transport buys a house to put a motorway through it. They paid what they assessed and agreed was the value of the animals. The animals did not have to die. Even if they had been suffering from FMD, most would have recovered. In any case, most of the animals killed were not infected. Defra decreed that the animals should be killed for their notion of what was “the public good”.

Having bought the animals and killed them, Defra paid no compensation for the loss of earnings or the disruption of the farmer’s businesses caused by the peremptory removal of the animals. Neither did Defra pay any compensation to other farms placed under restrictive orders (including the many farms in what were defined as the “the infected areas”). These were prevented over long periods from trading. Farms that had their animals killed were left without the means of earning their income. Farms that kept their animals but were closed and prevented from moving their animals or their products were also left without the means of earning their income and they had, in addition, the continuing and relentless expense of caring for their animals.

Farming activities were specifically excluded even from the “business recovery fund”! Our cheesemaking business was brought to its knees by the restrictions imposed on us. We were prevented from making and selling cheese; but we still had to carry on looking after and feeding the sheep that provide the milk – and we still had to feed ourselves and pay all the household expenses without any income. We still have not recovered. We were refused aid from the much trumpeted business recovery fund, because cheesemaking is classified as “primary agriculture”. No business engaged in primary agriculture (i.e. no farm) was allowed compensation - but other businesses like those engaged in tourism or even the firm which services our bulk milk tank did receive compensation!

And yet the public at large believes that farmers were “compensated” – and the tourist industry suffered!

The type of farming businesses that suffered less damage from having their stock subjected to a forced sale and killed were those that made their money out of trading rather than farming. Those businesses like Willie Cleaves’, which specialised in buying up animals, transporting them around the country and reselling them, benefited from an unusually rapid and successful sale. The farms that suffered most were the small family farms that earned their income by farming - that had concentrated on breeding good quality animals and had kept closed herds and flocks. Another case of joined up government?