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Responsibility and cost sharing

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Currently in a disease outbreak, all the cost of Government intervention is borne by the taxpayer.

Background

Both the Anderson Inquiry (Lessons to be Learned Report) into the Foot and Mouth Disease Epidemic in 2001 and the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy were launched in 2004. They recommended that the responsibility and cost of livestock health and welfare should be appropriately balanced between the industry and the taxpayer.

Objectives:

  • to explore whether it is possible to apply coherent principles and develop a more sensible and balanced sharing of responsibilities and costs between Government and Industry in managing both endemic and exotic animal health disease
  • to achieve better management of animal disease risks so that the overall risks and costs are reduced. This supports the Animal Health and Welfare Strategic Aim of "Prevention being better than cure."

Through the sharing of responsibilities industry will see the following benefits:

  • an increased involvement in the decision making process
  • greater influence by taking greater responsibility for its own decisions and managing its own risks 
  • reduced and improved Regulation
  • clearer and simpler compensation arrangements.

Government will benefit from increased industry involvement in decision making, which should mean a greater ability to respond and deliver outcomes more effectively and efficiently.

Europe

This work is not confined to the UK. The European Union (EU) Community Animal Health Policy (CAHP) Evaluation Team recommended the development of responsibility and cost-sharing schemes in Member states - EU Community Animal Health Plan 2007-2013 (external link).

Cost sharing is well established in other EU Member States. For example, in the Netherlands, livestock producers have agreed to finance (up to a ceiling) animal disease outbreaks through a bank guarantee. In Spain, voluntary private insurance (with subsidised premiums) is in place. Further afield, in Australia, producers have entered an agreement to retrospectively repay the costs (subject to certain procedures) incurred in dealing with outbreaks of certain diseases.