EU: Costs for livestock protection and damages can now be fully compensated

The European Commission has decided that farmers and livestock owners can now receive full compensation for investments and damages. More specifically, the compensation covers investments in protective measures and damages caused by large carnivores, such as wolves. In addition, the farmers also receive full compensation for indirect costs. Until now, farmers and livestock owners had to pay 20 percent of the costs themselves. This decision is a big investment to help the people adapting to new circumstances.

Please also read: The art of proper herd management

Direct and indirect costs covered

The decision of the European Commission allows farmers and livestock owners to claim direct and indirect costs. This means both investments for protection measures, as well as damages to livestock. For example, famers will get fully reimbursed when building electric fences, or when purchasing suitable guarding dogs. These measures will help protecting livestock from large carnivores, like the wolf. Member States can now also fully cover veterinary bills for treating wounded animals, as well as search and rescue operations for missing animals. Altogether, countries can now reimburse 100% of costs related to prepare and deal with the return of large carnivores in Europe.

The European Commission showed earlier that livestock protection is the key towards a coexistence with nature. This will contribute to the human-wildlife conflicts, which are actually always human-human conflicts about nature. Especially in Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria, people welcome full compensations as the wolf populations continue to grow. Earlier, the governments already decided to invest millions of euros in livestock management to provide proper protection.

Member States now can implement

As the European Commission opened the door for full compensation, it is now up to each EU member state to implement the decision. Most likely, these funds become available through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and state aid funds. The claim that protective measures are too expensive and a cull of large carnivores is more effective, became even less relevant. Studies showed that allowing culling actually increases poaching, which causes more problems for species protection. On the other hand, proper livestock protection measures are more effective than killing wolves.

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5 thoughts on “EU: Costs for livestock protection and damages can now be fully compensated

  1. Dear Lauren, thank you for your question. As the official announcement from the European Commission states: “Support to help resolving conflicts associated with the conservation of the protected animals can be granted from EU funds, notably under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and from national funds (state aid).”

  2. Thanks for the article. Do you know where the money comes from? Indeed, if it’s the rural development fund which is due to increase the share of money going to compensation, it’s not such good news for rural areas as there will be less and less money for other rural issues. I am wondering for example if the LIFE funding has started to pitch in, or if national co-funding has been increased.

  3. Dear Elena, thank you for your comment. You are right that not all kinds of indirect costs are included in the decision of the European Commission. Nevertheless, indirect costs from searching missing animals, or veterinary bills after attacks that were previously not covered, are included now. So it is definitely a step in the right direction in finding a coexistence with people and wildlife.

  4. Thanks for this informative article! However, when costs of fencing material are reimbursed that doesn´t cover ALL indirect costs – I was really surprised and happy when I first read that, but indirect costs relevant especially to small-scale farmers (in Germany) are also related to e.g. constructing the fence in the first place, or to mowing below electric fences for cattle keepers — extra working hours that they can´t necessarily put in. I just wanted to point that out – that there´s still some indirect costs left that would be good to compensate. In Germany, volunteers are helping the farmers out here, but can´t and shouldn´t have to cover all the work that comes up.

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