The scrapie compensation trial is too long

The scrapie, which was confirmed at the Syðra-Skörðugil farm in Skagafjörður last Friday, is a big shock to everyone, according to Sigfús Inga Sigfússon, mayor of Skagafjörður Municipality.

There are around 1,500 sheep on the farm, both adult and lamb, and these must now be disposed of in accordance with current legislation. Syðra-Skörðugil is located in Húna- and Skagahólfur and in this area the last scrapie was diagnosed last fall.

Sigfús says the farmers of Syðra-Skörðugil have not yet had time to think about the damage as sheep were roaming when scrapie appeared. However, he says farmers will be shocked when the pace of work slows down a bit.

“It’s thirty years of breeding work that evaporates in one go”says Sigfús.

Least suitable season

Yesterday there was réttir in Skagafjörður, and the sheep from Syðra-Skörðugil went to pens and were sorted with other sheep. All sheep ended up in one common area before being divided into individual pens. Sigfús says there was no other option and points out that cases of scrapie had happened before this time of year.

“Of course people are concerned” He says, pointing out that there are easier ways of transmitting the virus than during shootings. “But this is not the most appropriate time of the year for diagnosis, it’s true” Says Sigfús.

He does not receive remuneration for work

He says he knows farmers diagnosed with scrapie have criticized the compensation system. They are paid for soil replacement, wood material replacement, etc., and this work is not included. “We really need to appreciate the hard work the farmers put into this”, says.

Farmers have pointed out this many times and Sigfús says it knows that some of the farmers who suffered losses last year kept a very diligent record of their working time so that it was clear what the job really was.

He also heard from farmers that the compensation agreements had lasted too long.

Gunnar Þorgeirsson, chairman of the Icelandic Farmers’ Association, says the scrapie control and loss compensation regulation has been reviewed and discussed with the ministry over the weekend. Gunnar hopes the conversation will continue.

When asked, he says that the question of the amount of compensation and speeding up the process must be mentioned in the interview. He also mentions that benefits should be paid faster than after the scrapie outbreak in Skagafjörður last fall.

“The damage has actually been fixed, but it hasn’t been long since this case was finalized, so we’d like to speed up the process more than it was done last fall.” Says Gunnar. The damage to farmers is considerable.

It took five years to receive the benefits

In 2007, scrapie was detected at the Skollagróf farm in Hrunamannahreppur. The farmers on the farm, Sigurður Haukur Jónsson and Fjóla Helgadóttir, did not negotiate compensation with Matvælastofnun (Icelandic Food Inspection) and the case was referred to the Expropriation Compensation Committee, where they were awarded higher compensation.
The couple then received only a third of the compensation, so in July 2012 they referred the case to the district court, where they won. However, they did not receive the rest of the payments.

“Shortly after that, I reported it to Morgunblaðið and material was published about it, then they paid”says Sigurður. The story was written in October 2012, five years after the scrapie outbreak.

Source: Yle


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