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Bovine TB

Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average cost is of a pre-movement bovine tuberculosis test; and whether his Department has estimated the cost of moving to a whole-herd annual test. (110995)

A pre-movement tuberculosis test is a private transaction between an individual farmer and his or her local veterinary inspector.

The cost of moving to annual herd testing for the whole of England has not been estimated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what work (a) has been and (b) is being carried out to tailor the evaluation tables for compensation on bovine tuberculosis slaughter for the added value of (i) high yield dairy cattle, (ii) organic stock and (iii) pedigree stock. (110998)

The decision to introduce a new cattle compensation system, in February last year, was not made lightly, and was taken only after two public consultations. Wherever possible, the Government have responded to detailed concerns raised by interested organisations. Following our consultations, significant enhancements to the system were made—in particular, the number of table valuation cattle categories was increased from the proposed 29 to 47.

In line with Government's on going commitment to work in partnership with interested organisations, Defra has set up the Cattle Compensation Advisory Group (CCAG) to monitor, with the industry, the introduction of the new compensation system.

Defra and the CCAG are discussing a range of ideas the group has suggested for enhancing the current compensation arrangements—these include the specific areas raised by the hon. Member. While Defra has not ruled out the possibility of changes to the compensation system, they are not inevitable. Any changes would need to be justified and fair to farmers and the taxpayer. They would also need to take account of the extensive evidence on the level of over-valuation experienced under the previous system based on individual valuations.