Chaos over introduction of fallen stock rules 


            By The Journal  May 26 2003

            With less than a week to go for farmers to sign up to Defra's
proposed subscription scheme for fallen stock, the Liberal Democrat shadow
rural affairs secretary has urged Government to postpone the deadline until
the scheme is ready to put in place.

            Andrew George has written to Secretary of State Margaret
Beckett, after reports suggested that only one third of livestock farmers
have signed up so far.

            They only have until May 28 to do so.

            Under current plans, unless 50pc of eligible farmers sign up,
the scheme will not go ahead.

            Mr George said: "Defra complain that farmers haven't signed up
to the stock collection scheme but the Department's dithering over its
organisation of the scheme is at the root of the problem.

            "The burial ban is simply unenforceable until the official
regulation has been laid before Parliament. And as the stock collection
scheme will not be ready until August at the earliest the Government cannot
expect farmers to foot the bill for delays which could have been avoided by

            "Some farmers have told me that they have received two letters
from Defra, while others have been asked to join despite giving up livestock
farming or retiring altogether.

            "The subscription deadline must be put back to at least July,
giving the Department time to sort itself out, check that its benchmark is
the right one and consult the industry."