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Government has failed to take "tough decisions" on animal disease says Farron

February 8, 2010 12:00 AM

Hilary Benn has been challenged by Liberal Democrat Farming Spokesman Tim Farron over the Government's proposals to charge livestock farmers for dealing with animal disease.

Speaking last week in the House of Commons, Mr Farron criticised the Government for "failing to take the tough decisions" on animal disease and called into question the Government's motives for transferring animal disease policy into the hands of an unelected quango.

Mr Farron also condemned the Government's decision to introduce an animal disease levy as reckless and warned that further attempts to increase industry contributions for disease prevention will cause further damage to the industry

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The government have failed to take the tough decisions needed to tackle bovine TB - instead they have decided to set up a new animal health body so that elected ministers can pass the buck for tough decisions to an unelected quango.

"Given that the 2007 Foot and Mouth outbreak came from Government-licensed premises, it's hugely unfair to ask farmers to pay £22million a year to clean up diseases that were not their fault.

"The Government's decision to pass the buck is a disgrace. Farmers understand the need to protect public health. But in the current economic climate there can be no justification for shifting the cost to livestock farmers."