UK Farmers Facing Tax for Cattle Outbreaks

Bird flu, foot and mouth, cost Britons $246M this year
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Nov 18, 2007 6:14 PM CST
A highland cow grazes in a field at a rare breeds farm in Baylham in Suffolk eastern England where a cow has been found with bluetongue Sunday Sept. 23, 2007. Further tests are being carried out at...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – UK farmers face an $82 million tax bill to pay for curbing cattle infections. Farmers are likely to gripe, the Guardian reports, because diseases have already slammed profits—and the government is to blame for leaking foot and mouth disease from a lab last summer. But the environment ministry is cutting $615 million and must balance the books after recent outbreaks.

The idea of taxing farmers arose after the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak, which cost roughly $6.1 billion and led to the culling of seven million animals. Said one official, "There is a general acceptance that the introduction of a levy would not only be fairer for taxpayers, but also give farmers a much bigger incentive for taking the right biosecurity measures necessary to prevent disease spreading."