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Animal Rights Extremism

Mr. Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures he is taking to combat animal rights extremism. [156062]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Government have included a number of measures in the Criminal Justice and Police Bill, currently before Parliament, aimed at combating the activities of animal rights extremists. These include a new power for police to remove protesters from outside homes; measures to strengthen provisions on the sending of malicious communications; and a system to prevent disclosure of the home addresses of Directors of vulnerable companies.

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We have also consulted closely with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to encourage a consistent approach to enforcement in this area. A consultation document is being issued tomorrow, 28 March, setting out a package of measures in this area, and copies will be placed in the Library.


Live Animal Exports

Mr. Prosser: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many (a) live sheep and (b) live pigs were exported for (i) slaughter, (ii) further fattening and (iii) breeding in 2000 broken down by country of destination. [147060]

Ms Quin: The total number of live sheep and live pigs certified for export from the UK during 2000 for slaughter, further fattening and breeding are shown in the following table:

Country of destinationBreedingFatteningSlaughter
Live sheep
Republic of Ireland2553120
Tristan da Cunha80----
United Arab Emirates15----
Live pigs
Czech Republic150----
Republic of Ireland1,26120061,393
South Korea1,235----
United States of America24----
Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo617----

Owing to a computer malfunction which occurred at the end of 2000, the above figures exclude some exports which took place during the month of December 2000.

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These figures are derived from the computer system used to issue export health certificates and are subject to updating and amendment.


Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he has given to the British Horseracing Board about the holding of (a) horseracing fixtures in general and (b) the Cheltenham Festival in March; and if he will make a statement. [152288]

Ms Quin [holding answer 5 March 2001]: On 5 March my Department provided the British Horseracing Board with a detailed veterinary assessment of the conditions necessary to reduce the risk of spreading foot and mouth disease through horserace meetings. The key conclusions are as follows:

The decision as to whether individual meetings, including the Cheltenham Festival, should proceed is a matter for the race organisers and racecourse owners. If required, the Foot and Mouth Order 1983 provides powers to prohibit the holding of any sporting or recreational event inside an infected area.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will speed up the arrangements for valuing animals that have to be slaughtered because of foot and mouth disease. [156065]

Ms Quin: An Order has been made to change the valuation procedure for animals slaughtered for foot and mouth disease. This Order gives farmers the option of payments at standard rates, or of having animals valued by a valuer. This is intended to help speed up the valuation process and so ensure that animals can be slaughtered as quickly as possible.

The standard rates of valuation are as follows:

Breeding ewes (in lamb/lamb at foot)90
Cull/draft ewes32
Hoggets (male and female old season's lamb)55
New season's lamb60
Breeding sows130
Cull sows80
Piglets on sow18
Stores: Breeding units (weaners)30
Stores: Finishing unit55
Clean cattle: steers (under 30 months old)600
Clean cattle: heifers (under 30 months old)500
Clean cattle: young bulls (under 30 months old)580
Breeding cows1,100
Breeding heifers900
Breeding bulls1,000
Cull cattle (including clean cattle over 30 months old)325

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Mr. Luff: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice he has given to county councils about the disinfection of vehicles using public roads near locations associated with outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. [153840]

Ms Quin [holding answer 15 March 2001]: The Foot and Mouth Order 1983 sets out requirements for the disinfection of vehicles that enter or leave an infected premises. While there are no powers or EU rules to require the disinfection of vehicles that pass adjacent to such premises, MAFF has posted advice on its website about the precautionary measures people should take in the vicinity of livestock farms.

Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to ensure that meat imported for the Ministry of Defence and local authorities does not come from countries infected with foot and mouth disease; and if he will make a statement. [154010]

Ms Quin: All meat imported to the UK for human consumption must comply with Community animal and public health provisions that require meat to be accompanied by veterinary certification and to come from approved establishments in approved countries. These permit the importation of meat from some countries where foot and mouth disease is present but only where the veterinary authorities have contained the disease in specific regions. Community rules permit imports of meat from those regions only if it has been deboned and fully matured and is therefore not considered to present a risk of spreading foot and mouth disease. Countries to which these controls currently apply are Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. However, because of their foot and mouth disease situation meat may not currently be imported from South Africa, Swaziland or Argentina. There is, and I envisage, no exemption from these general rules for the Ministry of Defence or for local authorities.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what discussions he has had with farmers and farm organisations over his Department's decision increasingly to restrict herds where inconclusive reactions to foot and mouth tests are found. [154036]

Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: Ministers have held regular and wide ranging meetings with farming and other organisations since the earliest days of the foot and mouth outbreak. Restrictions are imposed on herds where disease is suspected to exist. Disease may be confirmed on clinical grounds alone if the State Veterinary Service is satisfied that animals are clearly exhibiting signs of the disease. Where doubt exists as to whether the clinical symptoms actually relate to foot and mouth disease, samples are taken for testing. The testing process will ultimately lead to a positive or negative

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result. On occasions it may be necessary to take further samples before a clear result is obtained, particularly a negative. Restrictions will not be lifted until it is certain that the disease is not present.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how frequently his Department's website relating to the foot and mouth crisis is updated; and if he will make a statement. [154282]

Ms Quin: The Ministry's website relating to foot and mouth disease is updated at least twice a day. We recognise the importance of putting a wide range of information on the internet to assist farmers and the industry, and will continue to ensure that we provide a comprehensive and timely service.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what equipment for handling carcases of slaughtered livestock infected by foot and mouth disease was transported from Marsh Farm, Fambridge, Essex to Wick Farm, Layer-de-la-Haye, Essex; how and when it was transported; and what measures were taken to disinfect equipment before it was transported. [154314]

Ms Quin: [holding answer 19 March 2001]: One teleporter, hired from Sonic Rail Services Ltd., was moved under its own power with a MAFF escort on 10 March 2001 between 19.00 hours and 20.30 hours. Before being transferred between premises the teleporter was fully disinfected in accordance with the Foot and Mouth Disease Order 1983. The disinfection was supervised by a MAFF official.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on the risk of foot and mouth being spread throughout Shropshire by vehicles transporting infected carcases, to the rendering plant at Widnes. [154485]

Ms Quin [holding answer 19 March 2001]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) on 26 March 2001, Official Report, columns 513-14W.

Mr. Opik: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what evidence he has received indicating a linkage between foot and mouth disease and Welshpool market; and if he will make a statement. [154557]

Ms Quin: We have confirmed a number of cases of foot and mouth disease in animals which have passed through Welshpool market. Further epidemiological investigations are continuing, the results of which will be published.

Mr. Steen: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans are in place to use the rendering plant at Marsh Barton, Exeter for foot and mouth cases. [154436]

Ms Quin [holding answer 19 March 2001]: Following the successful introduction of rendering foot and mouth carcases at the Prosper de Mulder plant in Widnes, carcases have been sent to the plant at Marsh Barton since 16 March. Further plants at Great Torrington in Devon and at Paisley are now also being used.

Mr. Todd: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will publish a list of suspected foot and mouth sites on his Departmental website at the time of signature of form C. [154492]

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Ms Quin [holding answer 19 March 2001]: Details of premises under form C are now placed on the Ministry's website. This will be updated once a day.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what methods of slaughter were used for killing livestock at Wick Farm, Layes-de-la-Haye in Essex; and what assessment he has made of the extent to which the methods used complied with the required animal welfare standards. [154719]

Ms Quin [holding answer 20 March 2001]: The susceptible livestock were slaughtered by licensed slaughtermen using captive bolt, an approved safe method of slaughter.

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