John Bowler, managing director of egg company John Bowler’s Eggs, has criticized DEFRA’s cost-sharing proposals for dealing with exotic livestock diseases.


Poultry producers are being asked to pay a livestock levy of 0.04 pounds per bird place toward the cost of surveillance and preparation for outbreaks of exotic diseases. But any producer with less than 397 birds will be exempt under current proposals.  


“The proposed system does not differentiate between larger commercial producers, who already invest in sound health and bio-security measures as a matter of course, and those higher risk flocks, predominantly smaller, who don’t,” Bowler says. 


“The larger producers subject to the levy would therefore be paying twice, and it concerns me that the small-scale and backyard flocks would be exempt given that they could be the ones to aggravate the situation if avian influenza, for example, was found,” he adds.