November 5, 2003



UK Proposed More Transparency in Compulsory Slaughter Payments for Livestock


From 2004 onwards, there will be more transparency and less confusion over compulsory slaughter payments.


The UK government is planning a scale of payments for pigs and other livestock that will be equivalent to market averages applying at the time. High value stock will get more individual treatment.

The new system is designed to be cost neutral. Defra says it wants to offer fair compensation to farmers but to avoid over valuation. The need for an overhaul of the current system for compulsory slaughter compensation became clear during the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.

Defra plans to introduce a new system next year that is simple, transparent and sufficiently standardised to deliver predictable levels of compensation. It has launched a consultation exercise. The paperwork is in the NPA (National Pig Association) library.

Under the new system pigs, cattle, sheep and poultry will be divided into categories and each category will be allocated a current market value.

Expensive breeding stock and other animals worth significantly more than current market values will have their own scheme whereby they are pre-valued and registered with Defra.

Compensation for statutory slaughter of animals has grown like topsy and currently is calculated using a different method for each disease. The arrangements are fragmented and in some cases contradictory, Defra commented.

In addition to being fairer to both farmers and the public purse, the new rationalised system will also improve disease control as it will avoid the need for valuations at point of slaughter, which in the main is what happened during foot and mouth and which can interfere with disease control measures during an outbreak of fast moving exotic disease.

The new system is also likely to reduce delays in producers receiving their compensation cheques, says Defra.

The pig diseases to be included in the scheme are African swine fever, Aujeszky's, classical swine fever, foot and mouth, swine vesicular disease and teschen disease. (Teschen disease hasn't been seen in UK for a number of years. It causes paralysis usually followed by death in three or four days.)


Standard compensation rates for cattle and sheep will be based on market prices and will be calculated and published monthly. Calculations for pigs will be more difficult because there is insufficient live market data for weaners or slaughter animals.

'We propose that our agreed categories, for commercial animals, will have to rely on deadweight prices as a basis. We understand that commercial pig producers already list their assets under categories that reflect the production cycle," says Defra in its consultation document.

High Value Animals


High value animals that cannot be included in the proposed standardised system will probably be subject to a pre-valuation approach where owners who consider the value of their animals to be above standard rates will be able to ask for a valuation by a valuer drawn from a panel of independent valuers.

Defra proposes the valuation would be paid for by the producer concerned and would need to be updated at least once a year. After a given period the registered value would lapse.

Defra is keen to have producers' views on the idea of a pre-valuation scheme for high value stock.

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