Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food
The Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Ascertainment
of Value) (No. 4) Order (S.I. 2001/1242)
1. The Committee considered the above instrument
at its meeting on 24 April 2001 and has requested a memorandum
on the following points:
(1) Article 2(4) provides
that, where the owner of an animal
(a) decides that he wishes
to have the animal valued by a valuer; or
(b) has not expressed any wish under paragraph
(3) or (4)(a) in respect of an animal liable to be slaughtered
at the direction of the Minister prior to the slaughter of that
the value of the animal is the amount determined
in writing by a valuer appointed by the Minister.
(i) in relation to subparagraph (a), what
steps the owner must take, and within what period of time, once
he decides that he wishes to have the animal valued by a valuer;
(ii) the intended effect of subparagraph (b),
and why it is needed. Does that subparagraph have the effect that,
where the owner does not wish to have the animal valued by the
valuer, the value of the animal is to be the amount determined
by the valuer? If so, how is it consistent with article 2(3)?
2. The Ministry submits that this Order has to be
considered in the light of the current foot-and-mouth disease
emergency. An important factor in this regard is that once the
decision to slaughter an animal has been taken it is imperative,
in the interests of effective disease control, that the slaughter
takes place as soon as possible. Instructions to Foot-and-Mouth
Disease Operations Directors issued by the Ministry provide that
affected animals are to be slaughtered as soon as possible and
in all cases within 24 hours of report. Thus any mechanism by
which compensation is provided must not impede slaughter of animals.
A copy of these Instructions are attached to assist the Committee.
3. The effect of article 2(3) of the Order together
with article 2(4) is that the owner of an animal must indicate
that he wishes to accept the standard rate before an animal is
slaughtered otherwise an individual valuer will be appointed.
No particular form is required for the indication. Paragraph 6
of the Ministry instructions provide that as soon as the decision
to slaughter has been taken the owner must be immediately offered
compensation at the standard values. The owner must also be told
of the alternative arrangements should he not wish to accept the
standard value. Usually, if the owner does not wish to accept
the standard value, he will communicate that he wishes the Minister
to appoint a valuer at this time. A specific time period for doing
so is not specified in the Order as it is envisaged that the owner
will notify MAFF at the earliest opportunity so as to avoid any
delay in receiving compensation for his animals.
4. Under paragraph (9) slaughter can take place once
the animals have been valued under paragraph (4). Article 2(4)(b)
therefore has the effect of ensuring that the slaughter of animals
is not delayed by the unwillingness of owners to express a choice
as to which method of valuation he prefers.
5. Where a valuation has been given in accordance
with article 2(4), article 2(7) provides inter alia that
the owner may decide to accept the standard value or challenge
the valuation by reference to an arbitrator.
"(2) Article 2(7) provides
that, where the owner has given notice that he disputes the valuation,
he may either (a) accept the standard value, or (b) ask for the
question of value to be referred to arbitration. Within what period
of time from the date of the notice must the owner choose either
course and what is the position if he chooses neither course?"
6. Article 2(6) provides that if, within 14 days
after the owner has received the valuation he has not given notice
in writing that he disputes that valuation, he shall be deemed
to have accepted that valuation.
7. Although a period of time within which the owner
is required to choose either of the options set out at (2) above
is not prescribed by the Order, it is, of course, in the owner's
immediate interest to ensure that either procedure is initiated
as soon as possible so that compensation can be paid without delay.
In practice, when notice under 2(7) is received, the Ministry
Instruction provides that the owner should be given an opportunity
to accept the standard valuation. If this is not accepted the
matter is then referred to an arbitrator appointed jointly by
the Minister and the owner in accordance with article 2(7)(b).
If the matter is referred to arbitration it is always possible
that the arbitration proceedings could be settled on terms accepting
the standard value.
"(3) Explain the purpose
and effect of article 2(9), and verify the reference to "Schedule
3(1)" to the 1981 Act."
8. As explained above, the purpose and effect of
article 2(9) is to ensure that slaughter is not delayed consequent
on the owner immediately disputing any valuation. The issue has
been arising in practice and needed to be clarified. The reference
to Schedule 3(1) should be a reference to Schedule 3(3)(1). The
Ministry apologises for this error but submits that the meaning
and effect of the article are still clear. This error will be
corrected at the earliest opportunity.
30 April 2001