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UK: compensation for FMD is a difficult story

Obtaining damages as a consequence of the 'double' Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in the south of England could become a difficult matter for many UK producers.

It is thought that one of the outbreaks last August in the county of Surrey might have been caused by one of two laboratories in Pirbright - however, it could be hard to prove that in court when it comes down to individual cases.

Julie Robinson, National Farmers' Union (NFU) chief legal advisor told Farmers Guardian that it is likely lawyers can prove that the outbreak was caused by a Pirbright laboratory.

Big step
It would also take a 'big step in law', however, to recover damages through the courts for farmers who have suffered losses due to movement restrictions and the export ban, she said.

Robinson told the NFU council that the first stage was to establish who was in a position to claim from either Merial, the Institute for Animal Health, or Defra over biosecurity lapses at Pirbright that caused the outbreak.

Altogether eight cattle premises were included in the FMD outbreaks in August and September of this year. The outbreaks mainly caused British livestock industry to come to a standstill as a consequence of transportation and export bans.

Related websites:

• Merial

• Institiute for Animal Health

• Department of Food, Rural Affairs and Agriculture

• Farmers Guardian

• National Farmers' Union (NFU)

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