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Foot and Mouth

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what sources of information he used to reach an understanding of the natural history of the foot and mouth disease virus. [152414]

Ms Quin: The Ministry has access to the world reference laboratory and world experts at the Institute for Animal Health at Pirbright, Surrey. There is also a significant body of knowledge available in published scientific papers.

Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to pay higher compensation rates for pedigree livestock destroyed under foot and mouth control orders. [152417]

Ms Quin [holding answer 6 March 2001]: Compensation for animals destroyed to control foot and mouth disease is paid at the full market value of the animal immediately before it became affected with disease, or immediately before slaughter in all other cases. Animals are subject to an independent valuation prior to slaughter. This will take into account whether an animal's pedigree status or any other factor has a bearing on its value.

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice his Department has given to zoos about the foot and mouth disease outbreak and the future of rare and endangered species. [152522]

Ms Quin [holding answer 6 March 2001]: The Ministry has prepared advice with the Zoological Federation and its veterinary advisers for zoos, wildlife parks, city farms and similar establishments.

This advice has been posted on MAFF's website www.maff.gov.uk. It provides basic information on how the disease is spread and explains what can be done to reduce the risk of disease spreading to animals contained on these sites. For example, zoos should prevent contact between the public and animals and ensure that no waste food is fed to the animals. Disinfection procedures should be introduced or improved for staff, visitors and for any vehicles that enter compounds containing susceptible animals.

We have not provided specific advice on rare or endangered species.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when compensation payments to farmers for the slaughter of animals will start to be made. [152610]

Ms Quin [holding answer 6 March 2001]: Arrangements are in place to ensure that compensation claims will be processed and paid immediately.

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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the risk assessment for the spread of foot and mouth disease on herds of wild deer will be published. [152686]

Ms Quin: Farmed deer are covered under the Animal Health Act 1981 and the Foot and Mouth Disease Order 1983 as ruminating animals, and are susceptible to foot and mouth disease.

An initial veterinary assessment indicates the risk of wild deer spreading the disease is low. As more information becomes available about the epidemiology of disease in the areas where there are wild deer, the risk assessment will be updated. The final risk assessment will be published soon.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what plans he has to help farmers who will lose income as a consequence of not being able to move cattle before the 30 month period; [153189]

Ms Quin [holding answers 6 and 12 March 2001]: Compensation is payable for the market value of animals slaughtered to control foot and mouth disease. It is not payable for the consequential losses caused by foot and mouth controls, for example when movement restrictions cause animals to become ineligible for the human consumption market. There are no plans to make such payments in response to the current outbreak, but the situation will be kept under review.

Irish Veterinary Regime

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will discuss with his counterparts in the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and the Minister of Agriculture of the Irish Republic about creating a single veterinary regime for the whole island of Ireland. [151879]

Ms Quin [holding answer 5 March 2001]: Officials in the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland already enjoy close links with their counterparts in the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the Good Friday Agreement commits both jurisdictions to formalising those links. There have been preliminary discussions at ministerial level. Officials in Belfast and Dublin are working to develop a common approach to animal health issues on the island of Ireland and to even closer co-operation in dealing with matters of common concern.

Compulsory Slaughter

Mrs. Ray Michie: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list (a) farmed animals, (b) other organisms and (c) commodities in respect of which compensation is not payable to growers or owners in the case of compulsory slaughter; and if he will make a statement. [152326]

Ms Quin: Compensation is paid for any animal slaughtered or any thing seized (whether animate or inanimate) under the Animal Health Act 1981 in respect

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of the control of animal disease. Compensation is not payable for the consequential losses, for example caused by movement restrictions.

Compensation is not paid when the destruction of stock is imposed as part of an official exercise to eradicate a fish disease.

Compensation is not normally paid to growers or owners in the case of compulsory destruction under the Plant Health Act 1967 of plant or plant products which are, or are suspected of being, infected with a quarantine plant pest.

Swine Fever

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the causes of the recent classical swine fever outbreak. [152770]

Ms Quin [holding answer 8 March 2001]: Extensive tracings were made of personnel, pigs, livestock, feed and other agricultural vehicles onto and off all 16 infected premises. Investigations to date support the initial findings that the second infected premises was the index case and that pigs there were exposed to CSF virus in early June 2000.

The most likely source is thought to be an infected pork product, since back-tracing failed to reveal any evidence of infection and no other local source was detected. Subsequent spread was caused by commercial pig movements or by lateral spread.

Organic Farming

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what systems are in place for the monitoring and evaluation of the schemes for converting to organic farming funded by the Government, with particular regard to the effect on yields. [153164]

Mr. Morley: An evaluation of the Organic Farming Scheme, which will contribute to the interim evaluation of the English Rural Development Programme, will begin in the summer of 2001. The study will aim to provide a comprehensive evaluation of MAFF's policies relating to conversion to organic production, including the rationale for such intervention and the effectiveness and efficiency achieved in meeting policy objectives. However, achieving particular yields either by farm or in total is not one of the objectives of the scheme.

Farm Product Prices

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make statement on trends in (a) farm gate and (b) retail prices of farm products over the last five years. [152298]

Ms Quin [holding answer 5 March 2001]: Farm gate prices as measured by the index of producer prices for agricultural products declined 26.3 per cent. over the five years to December 2000. Retail food prices increased 3.9 per cent. over the five years to January 2001 compared with an increase of 13.9 per cent. for all items RPI. Agricultural commodities account for a relatively small proportion of the retail price of food, with most of the costs accounted for by processing and distribution.

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CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Millennium Dome

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total operations and running costs were of the millennium dome for 2000. [147728]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 30 January 2001]: The figure provided by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is subject to the Company's necessary external audit scrutiny. That work will begin shortly and will inform the content of the Company's Annual Report and Financial Statements for the period 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2000. The report and statements will be published in due course. NMEC has advised that total operating or running costs for the millennium dome in the calendar year 2000 was £145.5 million.

Athletics Championships (Funding)

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the difference between cost and funds secured to date for staging Manchester 2002. [152516]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 6 March 2001]: My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office is responsible for co-ordinating Government involvement with the Commonwealth Games. Manchester 2002 Ltd. is raising income from a combination of sponsorship, television rights, merchandising and ticket sales to meet the estimated operating costs of £62 million of the Games. To date, they have attracted £18 million.

When bidding to stage the Games, Manchester city council undertook to underwrite the Games and that commitment remains.


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