Bird flu compensation inadequate in Israel
An Israeli inter-ministerial committee decision that grants an
estimated 7 million Israeli shekels (US$800,000) to poultry farmers for indirect
damages caused by the outbreak of avian influenza in March is not enough,
poultry farmers said.
"The State of Israel is abandoning the farmers who faced damages after
cooperating [with the authorities] in order to eradicate the disease," said
Poultry Farmers Association secretary Yaakov Cohen. "Farmers deserve
compensation, not 'support' given to them as an act of charity," he said in
response to the wording of the decision.
The government's method of calculating compensation "is wrong and causes
utmost damage to the farmers," he added, noting, for instance, that the
committee decided to pay only half the cost of destroying chicks and eggs in the
hatcheries over a three-week period. Compensation should also be given on the
full period of forced closure of the sector and the months during which they
could not export their produce, Cohen argued.
Estimating the amount needed to cover indirect damages at "tens of millions
of shekels," Cohen stressed that the poultry farmers' argument with the
government is based on the principles of the compensation arrangement and that
the full figure would not be known until every farmer submits individual
The Agriculture Ministry has said the estimated 7 million Israeli shekels
included 3.5 million for interruptions to raising and marketing operations of 85
growers in 70 communities; 1.5 million for the destruction of chicken feed and
sensitive parts of the coups; and 2 million to cover 50 percent of the damage to
hatcheries. 20 million shekels has already been paid to poultry farmers to
compensate for the direct damage caused by the culling of 1.2 million birds.
The European Union is only now allowing farmers to begin selling unprocessed
chicken products, as a six-month period has passed without new incidence
flu, the ministry said.
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