Defra to hold cost sharing seminars

Defra is holding seminars across the country to give livestock farmers the chance to shape the future of animal disease policy.

The seminars are designed to help farmers understand, and contribute to, the government's new proposals for responsibility and cost sharing of animal disease outbreaks.

The public purse spends £400 million a year on animal health and welfare, which increases substantially when disease outbreaks such as avian flu and foot and mouth disease occur. The cost to the farming industry is also considerable, and currently those affected have no decision-making powers over these policies.

Defra has therefore proposed funding and decision-making arrangements which would be shared between the industry and the Government. The views of farmers and livestock keepers across the country are being sought to help develop and shape these proposals and the seminars will form part of this consultation.

Lord Rooker, Minister for Food and Farming said: "These seminars are a vital way for animal keepers to contribute to the ideas surrounding the sharing of responsibility and cost for animal diseases.

"Defra is taking the seminars across the country to involve as many of those affected as possible and to make sure voices are heard. We look forward to welcoming a cross-section of farmers and livestock keepers everywhere."

The seminars are free and are independently facilitated. Places are limited and those interested should sign up in advance by emailing to rcsworkshops@defra.gsi.gov.uk or calling 0207 238 5758.

Dates of the workshops are as follows: Wed, 13th February, in Exeter; Fri, 15th February, in Reading; Thurs, 21st February, in Bristol; Fri, 22nd February, in Stourport-on-Severn; Mon, 25th February, in Tunbridge Wells; Wed, 27th February, in Stoke on Trent; Fri, 29th February, in Duxford, Cambs; Mon, 3rd March, in Nottingham; Thurs, 6th March, in York; Wed, 12th March, in Lancaster; Thurs, 13th March, in Carlisle; Fri, 14th March, in Newcastle.