September 10 2008 ~ "unpopular plans to take money directly off farmers could be dropped..."
On the subject of the much-needed, more independent new body to oversee animal health policy, (see below) NBA director, Kim Haywood is quoted in the Farmers Guardian. The NBA is dismayed by plans to install an expensive new organisation, possibly modelled on the "over-staffed and sluggish Food Standards Agency", to run animal health policies - a new organisation for which the bill is mainly funded by farmers.
"Defra should appoint a much cheaper industry-Government group that can meet in its existing offices and have immediate access to Department heads and the Secretary of State...One of this group's first tasks should be to save farmers, tax payers and Government a fortune by putting all animal health control programmes and finances under a microscope and stripping out its inefficiencies.The article goes on to report that Ms Haywood said she was 'dismayed' at the prospect of the registration scheme and outlined why it could cost cattle farmers as much as £30 a head. "Under current plans such a scheme would have to generate £425 million a year to fund Defra's unreformed Animal Health operation and then acquire a building for the proposed new body which could require a one-off payment of at least £150 million. On top of this, contingency funding to meet the expense of exotic disease outbreaks, like FMD, avian flu, bluetongue and swine fever, would have to be accumulated for research into exotic disease protection, also funded with levy proceeds too."
The money recovered could then be used to fund solutions to both routine, and epidemic, disease problems and unpopular plans to take money directly off farmers could be dropped."
September 9 2008 ~ " remove animal health and welfare from the political arena..."
A readable and urgent article by Caroline Cranbrook, (Vice-President Suffolk CLA and Chairman of the Eastern Region Grazing Forum), appeared on Saturday in the East Anglian Daily Times warning that vital grassland and grazing animals are, in East Anglia in particular, seriously under threat.
Confidence in livestock farming has been lost as a result of seemingly never ending new rules and regulations, so many of which
"... are time-consuming, costly and seem to be devised by people who know little of the realities of farming in Great Britain..."Without grazing, the consequences for the landscape, for biodiversity, for tourism and for the local food chain, would be devastating.
"If livestock farming is to survive, government must lobby much harder in Europe to ensure that regulation is appropriate, proportionate, sensible - and affordable. Government must also allow the industry to take much more responsibility and control of animal disease and welfare."One solution is to remove animal health and welfare from the political arena. The article tells us that the CLA economist, Professor Allan Buckwell, has suggested
"a new, independent, non-ministerial, non-departmental agency to deal with decision-making and policy implementation for all issues of animal health and welfare... It would obviously have to have the confidence of the industry and the public, with a 50:50 industry/government balance on the board."Read Caroline Cranbrook's article in full.