This document contains the following information: The introduction of the ban on swill feeding: first report session 2007 to 2008.
This report contains the results of the Ombudsman’s investigation into the complaint made by Associated Swill Users (ASU) against the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in relation to the introduction of the ban on swill feeding, following the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in 2001.
ASU contended that the consultation had been fundamentally flawed and the results had been misrepresented; there had been an inadequate rationale behind the decision to introduce the ban; Defra had been unclear about the scope of the ban and its application; swill farmers had been given very limited time for compliance; and that Defra’s refusal to award compensation to former swill feeders had been based on a failure to recognise the true impact of the ban on swill farmers.
ASU subsequently extended their complaint to include the contention that failures in the inspection regime at a swill farm in Heddon-on-the-Wall had effectively allowed illegal feeding activities to go unchecked and thereby led to the outbreak of FMD.
The report concludes that the decision on compensation for swill users made by Ministers when considering the introduction of a ban in May 2001 was not taken in the full light of the facts, and was maladministrative.
It also finds that the failure of the Defra inspector to follow proper procedures, and to make and submit appropriate records in relation to animal welfare matters, was also sufficiently serious as to constitute maladministration. But the maladministration cannot be said to have resulted in an unremedied injustice to ASU members, as ministers have revisited their decision on compensation in full light of the facts.
This paper was laid before Parliament in response to a legislative requirement or as a Return to an Address and was ordered to be printed by the House of Commons.