Friday, 10 August 2007

Who really pays for foot and mouth?

Rod Liddle has a point (in fact, several rather good ones) in this week's Spectator, though I don't imagine he will be the after-dinner speaker at any NFU events for a while:

"It took some of our farmers less than 24 hours after the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) last week to demand an immediate and comprehensive culling 0f Britain’s ramblers, dogs, badgers, Defra vets, tourists, van drivers, biochemists, etc etc. It is not enough that we should subsidise our farmers once over; when misfortune occurs we should then further compensate them — and suffer in silence as they demand that footpaths be closed, wildlife exterminated and so on. They have not yet gathered, or do not care, that the meat industry is of minuscule importance to the economy compared to the tourism and leisure sectors; still less that the land upon which they rear their cattle is heavily supported by the taxpayer......

The last FMD outbreak, back in 2001, ended up costing us (rather than the farmers) some £8 billion, excluding revenues lost through damage to our tourism industry.... Did any farmer end up out of business or even out of pocket after the 2001 debacle — a debacle, it is worth reiterating, that was brought on [by] farmers, er, farmers?"

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