A move by the EU Commission will see farmers granted 100 per cent compensation for livestock damage caused by ‘large carnivores’, including the lynx.
The state aid will also fully reimburse farmers for investing in preventative measures to deter such predator attacks, such as the installation of electric fences, the use of guard dogs and the deployment of intervention units and experts on predators in problematic areas.
It came as farmers in Kielder Forest, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders nervously awaited a decision which could see the reintroduction of Eurasian lynx into Kielder Forest.
A list of protected species in the EU includes wolves, bears and wolverines and lynx.
Ruud Tombrock, executive director of the Humane Society International/Europe, said it was critical farmers achieved coexistence with wolves and other large carnivores.
But the National Sheep Association (NSA) said while it would be welcome new for those in countries where these animals exist already, ‘it really shows the impact and damage large carnivores can and do cause our neighbours farming in other European countries’.
A spokesperson said: “NSA is still very much against the introduction of the lynx and we do not see compensation as the correct way forward in the UK.
“The welfare losses and damages cannot be justified when there is no need for the predators to be present in the first place.
“It also is not clear if this covers issues such as reduced conception rate and lamb losses due to stress, and how this would be implemented in terms of proving costs.”