The Insular Council of Minorca yesterday announced that it is bringing forward initial payments of compensation to sheep farmers who lost livestock because of the Blue Tongue virus outbreak. Agriculture Councillor Ester Riudavets said yesterday that the council has come up with 120 million pesetas to start the compensation process. The virus, believed to have come from Eastern Europe or North Africa, claimed the lives of 4'350 sheep on Minorca and the Insular Council has decided to dig into its own pockets because the process of securing compensation from central government will be a lengthy one. According to Riudavets, a maximum of 35'000 pesetas will be paid per sheep either slaughtered or struck down by the virus, in some cases. 27 percent of the island's 16'200-strong sheep herd was wiped out and a minimum of 13'500 pesetas per animal is to be paid, but farmers who lost 80 percent of their flock will receive more.


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