Farmers to be offered cash to slaughter millions of new-born calves

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The Independent Online
Farmers are to be offered cash to slaughter millions of new-born calves under an emergency scheme to halt the rise in Europe's beef mountain caused by the BSE crisis. The EU's so-called Herod premium, set at pounds 100 for every calf under 20 days killed, will become mandatory as part of a desperate attempt to scale back the huge volume of unwanted beef coming on to the market.

Animal welfare groups in Britain, which have long campaigned against the treatment of animals under the EU's farm policy, will be appalled by the scheme, which forms part of a pounds 2bn strategy to cope with the aftermath of the BSE scare. Beef consumption has plummeted by up to 40 per cent and the meat stockpile in EU cold stores is rapidly swelling to the 1 million tonne mark from a low of 15,000 tonnes earlier this year.

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