An investigation has shown that the UK’s Ministry of Defence has paid out over 8 million GBP in recent years to farmers in Cyprus for knowingly killing farm animals during military exercises.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly paid out over 8 million GBP to claimants in Cyprus, where the major RAF base at Akrotiri is located, since 1995.
The investigation from Declassified showed that in the last five years, 1,764 claims for animal losses have been made to the MoD in Cyprus.
The animals killed included unborn and baby goats, according to reports.
The report states that in 2018-19, almost 750,000 GBP was paid out in compensation, with most of the money going to settling 334 claims of animal losses from farmers.
The largest payout in that period was 5,031 GBP, which reportedly covered “abortions” and vet fees and was paid to a farmer whose pregnant goats were killed by low-flying RAF aircraft.
Over half of the animal deaths reportedly came close the Paramali river, an area of wildlife protection which the MoD itself says contains some of “Europe’s most valuable and threatened species”.
These species include falcons and kestrels, and Declassified say internal documents show the MoD knowingly caused animal deaths.
RAF planes are reportedly permitted to fly just 100 feet above the ground in the area.
Local community leader George Stylianou told the Cyprus Mail that eh was aware that vets are “sometimes” asked to investigate animal deaths to see if they were “a result of military exercises”.
He said the incidents are “not too common” and the British authorities are usually fine with paying compensation.
An MoD spokesman said: “All military training and activity in the SBAs [sovereign base areas] takes place under strict conditions with precautions taken to minimise risks.
“Where livestock is unfortunately affected, arrangements exist to fully compensate farmers.”
A statement added that: “British Forces Cyprus has a proud environmental record which includes protecting thousands of wild flamingos, sea turtles, the only remaining Eleonora’s Falcons on the island and preventing illegal bird trapping.”
Akrotiri is part of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, a British Overseas Territory which is administered as a sovereign base area.
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