Following a five-year investigation into the decision to close the Â£40m (€55m) swill processing industry at the time of the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic, Defra has now been found guilty of maladministration.
The verdict was passed by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Ann Abraham.
Her decision not to grant compensation to the 62 farmers who lost their livelihoods on account of the ban has been described as “defying logic” by the Association of Swill Users.
“The Ombudsman had agreed with the farmers’ claims that those who enforced the ban did not consider the consequent impact this would have on pig farmers”, said Alex McGaw, spokesman for the ASU vowing that the organisation would continue their campaign to gain compensation for the farmers.
Whether pig swill was implicated in the 2001 epidemic is still not clear. What is certain is that the ban on swill feeding has generated an extra 1.7 million tonnes of waste.
The Ombudsman justified her ruling stating that the Ministers who denied compensation at the time of introduction of the ban “did not take the full facts into account” which amounts now to a case of clear maladministration.
She maintained further that during the epidemic “some steps were not taken as they should have been”, but her decision to decline compensation was “inevitable” in light of the circumstances at the time.
â€¢ Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman UK
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