EU demands could add 67,000 to cull

Beef crisis: Deal on lifting ban could bring higher death toll

Britain could be forced to cull an extra 67,000 cows to meet European demands for the eradication of BSE in the British herd, Douglas Hogg, the embattled Minister of Agriculture, told MPs yesterday.

Downing Street sources last night signalled that Britain may be prepared to go along with the demands in order to secure a deal on the framework plan for lifting the ban on British beef exports before the EU summit on Friday in Florence.

But Mr Hogg was warned by Tory members of the Agriculture Select Committee that he would face stiff resistance from MPs and farmers if he went ahead with the extended cull.

Britain has offered to cull up to 80,000 cattle to give assurances to its European partners, but Mr Hogg told the cross-party select committee that an additional cull of cattle born in 1989-90 was being demanded by EU ministers. That would mean raising the cull by an additional 67,000 cattle.

Reports yesterday suggested that the Government was prepared to consider European demands to slaughter another 20,000 cattle most at risk of developing BSE, provided a framework for lifting the beef ban is agreed. But Mr Hogg said: "I am very much aware that there would be considerable anxiety about a proposal for a compulsory cull in respect of the year 1989-90.

"I should say that the press reports to the effect that we have put that year on the table, which appeared today, are quite untrue. Though I'm bound to say I don't recognise the figure 20,000, if the cattle in the year 1989-90 were to be the subject of a compulsory cull - and that is not our proposal - the numbers are around 67,000."

Mr Hogg said there would be difficulty in extending the selective cull to the year 1989-90 because farmers had not been required to keep records then.

He was warned by Richard Alexander, Tory MP for Newark, that culling an extra 20,000 cattle was "at the borders of acceptability". Edward Leigh, a Euro-sceptic Tory MP, said the cull of 30-month-old cattle contributed "not one jot" to the protection of human health.

Farmers said last night they would not accept an extension of the proposal for a selective cattle cull which would mean an extra 67,000 dairy cows being slaughtered. They say they would rather see the export ban remain in force than take part in what they see as an unnecessary scheme with no scientific justification.

"We can see a scenario where we will refuse a selective cull and the export ban will continue," said Ian Gardiner, policy director of the National Farmers' Union. " It would concern us because exports are so important. But we are not going to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of dairy farmers just in order to resume beef exports."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue