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Transitional Funding For Fallen Stock

02 October 2008

UK - Transitional funding will be made available to farmers for a year to help meet the costs of collection and disposal of cattle requiring BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) testing.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead welcomed Defra's announcement that it will make £2 million available to ease the costs to the industry as they take on full responsibility for the collection and disposal of fallen stock.

Mr Lochhead said:

"The Scottish Government accepts the principle of responsibility and cost sharing. However I have strong reservations over the timescale of implementation imposed by Defra and its affordability to farmers, particularly when the livestock sector is facing other financial pressures.

"Short term transitional funding to help producers meet the costs of collection of fallen cattle requiring BSE testing is welcome. I am also pleased that the free collection service for BSE surveillance on the Scottish islands is to continue, as it is on the mainland, until January 2009. These are two concessions which I argued for.

"But this announcement highlights the imbalance between the Scottish Government having full policy responsibility for animal health and welfare while the budget is controlled centrally by Defra. We are working to secure a devolved Scottish share of the GB animal health and welfare budget to ensure that, in future, funding decisions will reflect Scottish needs and priorities."

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) are a group of progressive conditions that affect the brain and nervous system of animals. This includes BSE in cattle and Scrapie in sheep and goats.

Animal health and welfare policy is fully devolved to the Scottish Government but budgets were retained by the UK Government at the time of devolution. The difficulties associated with this were highlighted by the recent Scudamore review into last year's foot and mouth outbreak and discussions are currently in hand to explore devolution of budgets. This includes the need to resolve contingent liabilities associated with exotic disease outbreaks.

From mid January next year the funding for the free collection and disposal service for cattle over 24 months that have died or been killed on the farm and require BSE testing will end. The free collection service on the Scottish Island will also run until mid January.

The transitional funding of £2 million will be made available to the National Fallen Stock company for cattle that need to be tested for BSE on a GB basis.

The Scottish Government consulted on the Defra proposals earlier in the year to help inform its discussions with Defra Ministers about the proposed changes.

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