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Lindane

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to ban the insecticide Lindane following the EU Advisory Committee on Pesticides meeting on 15 April. [81743]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 23 April 1999]: With my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, for Health, for Scotland and for Wales, I am considering the advice of our Advisory Committee on Pesticides regarding the use of the insecticide Lindane. The Committee considered a draft evaluation, prepared by the Austrian authorities, of the data submitted by the notifying companies in the course of the EU review for the Commission.

Correspondence

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the hon. Member for West Derbyshire can expect a reply to his letter of 12 February, acknowledged on 4 March (ref. 124890), concerning the non-payment of the 1998 sheep farm annual premium scheme and the hill livestock compensatory allowances to Mr. S. Allen of Beech Farm, Taddington, Derbyshire. [81904]

Mr. Rooker [holding answer 23 April 1999]: We recently completed our deliberations on the case referred to by the hon. Member and a reply was sent to him on 22 April 1999 by my noble Friend the Parliamentary Secretary.

Rabies

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the countries which are outside the European Union and which are not islands which are currently considered to be free from rabies by the World Health Organisation. [81927]

Mr. Rooker: The World Health Organisation does not publish a list of countries which are considered to be free from rabies. However, the World Survey of Rabies No. 32 for the year 1996 (the latest available), which is

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published by the World Health Organisation, lists the following countries and territories where no rabies was reported in 1996.



    Cape Verde


    Libyan Arab Jamahiriya


    Mauritius


    Reunion


    Seychelles


    America


    Antigua and Barbuda


    Bahamas


    Barbados


    Costa Rica


    Saint Kitts and Nevis


    Uruguay


    Asia


    Bahrain


    Brunei Darussalam


    Cyprus


    Hong Kong


    Japan


    Kuwait


    Malaysia (Sabah)


    Maldives


    Qatar


    Singapore


    Europe


    Albania


    Denmark


    Finland


    Gibraltar


    Greece


    Iceland


    Ireland


    Isle of Man


    Italy


    Jersey (Channel Islands)


    Malta


    Norway (except Svalbards Islands)


    Portugal


    Spain (except Ceuta)


    Sweden


    United Kingdom


    Oceania


    Australia


    Cook Island


    Fiji


    French Polynesia


    Guam


    New Caledonia


    New Zealand


    Papua New Guinea


    Vanuatu.

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Quarantine Kennels

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps his Department takes to ensure that quarantine kennels meet acceptable standards of animal welfare. [81930]

Mr. Rooker: There are arrangements for MAFF Veterinary Officers to inspect quarantine premises four times a year. The inspections are carried out to check on compliance with the standards set with regard to the physical and disease security of the premises and also to check on compliance with the Voluntary Code of Practice for the Welfare of Dogs and Cats in Quarantine Premises in respect of those premises that have agreed to comply with the Code. Premises which do not comply with this Code can be removed from the published list of premises which do comply. The Animal Health (Amendment) Act 1998 gives Ministers powers to set welfare conditions in quarantine kennels on a statutory basis.

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many quarantine kennels have indicated that they will be unable or unwilling to comply with the Animal Health (Amendment) Act 1998; and if he will list them. [81931]

Mr. Rooker: The Animal Health (Amendment) Act 1998 gives Ministers the power to make secondary legislation setting welfare conditions for animals kept in quarantine premises. The Government will hold a full public consultation involving all parties with an interest in the welfare of animals in quarantine, including quarantine kennels. It is at that stage that the position of individual kennels--who will have to comply with the legislation--will become clearer.

Hygiene Inspections

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food which is the competent authority to implement Articles 3 and 4 of Council Directive 64/433/EEC. [81720]

Mr. Rooker: In Great Britain, Articles 3 and 4 of Directive 64/433/EEC (as amended) have been implemented by means of the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995 (S.I.1995/539, as amended). At present, these Regulations are enforced in England by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and in Scotland and Wales by the appropriate Secretary of State. In practical terms, enforcement of the Regulations in GB is carried out by the Meat Hygiene Service (an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food).

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) if he will make a statement on (a) the frequency of veterinary inspections and (b) the exemptions for abattoirs and cutting plants which apply under Article 4(e) of Directive 64/433/EEC with regard to Chapter VIII of Annexe 1; [81719]

Mr. Rooker: Directive 64/433/EEC (as amended) requires all fresh meat intended for sale for human consumption to be produced in licensed premises under

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the supervision of an Official Veterinary Surgeon. The level and frequency of veterinary supervision is set out in Article 9 of the Directive.

Article 4 of the Directive provides a derogation from certain provisions in the case of certain small (low throughput) abattoirs and cutting plants. However, my Department's lawyers have confirmed that this derogation is in respect only of the structural requirements of the premises concerned and does not extend to the conditions applying to the hygienic operation of the premises or to the level and frequency of veterinary supervision required. Nevertheless, following representations from the industry, we have now asked the European Commission to give a view on the applicability of the specific veterinary supervision requirements to low-throughout premises.

There are no derogations from the requirements of Chapter VIII of Annexe 1 of Directive 64/433/EEC (as amended) in the case of low-throughout abattoirs. The Directive requires all fresh meat intended for sale for human consumption to undergo post-mortem inspection in accordance with Annexe 1, Chapter VIII.

Mr. Andrew George: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has implemented Annexe 4 Chapter I (paragraph 6c) of Directive 96/43. [81722]

Mr. Rooker: Yes. This administrative provision, which provides for a composite invoice to be issued to an individual premises carrying out a number of functions (i.e. slaughtering, cutting or storing), is applied by the Meat Hygiene Service when invoicing plant operators for the costs of hygiene inspections.

Beef Exports

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of progress towards the lifting of the ban on the export of British beef; and if he will make a statement. [82223]

Mr. Rooker: The European Commission inspected our procedures for operating the Date-based Export Scheme from 12 to 16 April. The Commission are now writing a report of their inspection for presentation to the Standing Veterinary Committee (SVC). After the SVC have seen the inspection report, the Commission should set a date from which exports of UK beef produced under the DBES can start.

Farmers (Administration Costs)

Mr. Tredinnick: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the costs in real terms of administration for farmers in each of the last four years. [82180]

Mr. Rooker: Costs vary, depending upon the number of schemes participated in. The 1996 efficiency scrutiny on simplifying paperwork estimated that a livestock farmer involved with cattle and sheep and participating in a voluntary conservation scheme, possibly therefore with a heavier paperwork requirement than an average farmer, would spend £2,700 of his time dealing with paperwork. Implementation of scrutiny recommendations, where possible, should now be saving the equivalent of £6.5 million of farmers' time each

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year. Our aim is to keep the paperwork burden to a minimum, consistent with safeguarding public health, funds and the environment.


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