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Mink Farms

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many mink farms were operating in England and Wales on 28 February; and if she will list their locations by county. [13805]

Mr. Morley: As at 28 February 2001, there were the following licensed mink farms in England:

CountyNumber
Cornwall1
Dorset1
Hampshire1
Isle of Wight1
Lancashire4
Northumberland1
Staffordshire1
South Yorkshire1
West Yorkshire1
Total12

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list all movements of farmed mink that took place in England and Wales during (a) 2000 and (b) 2001. [13802]

Mr. Morley: There is no requirement to inform the Department of the movement of mink. Under the Mink (Keeping) Regulations 1975 (as amended), such movements must be carried out in closed cages or other containers which prevent mink from escaping. The movement of farmed mink in Wales is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales. However, I understand that there have been no licensed mink farms in Wales for some years.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what dates each of the mink farms operating in England and Wales were inspected during 2001; and what plans there are to inspect farms after 30 September. [13801]

Mr. Morley: Mink farms in England were inspected on the following dates in 2001:

CountyDate of security inspectionsDate of welfare inspections
Cornwall30 January
Dorset27 June
Hampshire27 June26 January
16 July2 February
24 October
Isle of Wight14 June
Lancashire3 April
4 April
Northumberland22 February
South Yorkshire1 May
West Yorkshire13 September

Due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, a number of planned mid-year security and welfare inspections could not be made. However, the usual programme of inspections will now continue for those mink farms still in operation.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) breeding female and (b) other mink were present at each of the mink farms operating on 28 February; and if she will show the figures by (i) farm and (ii) county. [13804]

Mr. Morley: We estimate, following visits by independent consultants engaged by the Department, that in February 2001 a total of 30,000 female and 6,000 male mink were being kept in England. I am unable to release details by farm because of commercial confidentiality.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many mink farms were operating and contained live mink in England and Wales on 1 October; and if she will list their locations by county. [13803]

Mr. Morley: As at 1 October 2001, three mink farms in England were licensed and contained live mink, two in Lancashire and one in Hampshire.

Energy Performance (Buildings)

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many responses were received to the Government's consultation on the proposed EU directive on the energy performance of buildings; and how many of these responses welcomed the proposal. [12756]

Mr. Meacher: Approximately 150 written responses were received in response to the Government's consultation on the proposed EU directive on the energy performance of buildings. The consultation closed on 26 October and the responses are currently being analysed, but an initial review of the responses so far indicates that all but three were broadly supportive of the proposed directive. A summary of responses will be published on the DEFRA website in due course.

Foot and Mouth

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her estimate is of the percentage of FMD cases where transmission of the disease was (a) from animal to animal, (b) airborne, (c) from contact with persons who had handled infected animals, (d) from contact with persons who had no contact with infected animals and (e) due to other causes. [12293]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 2 November 2001]: Investigations into the epidemiology of the outbreak are continuing and a number of publications are planned. The following interim results are minimum estimates for the single cause of infection.

Number of casesPercentage of cases
(a) Animal to animal924.5
(b) Airborne180.9
(c) and (d) Personal contact733.6
(e) Other causes(24)1,84090.9
Total2,023

(24) See breakdown in following table


Breakdown of (e) 'other causes'

Number of casesPercentage of cases
Local transmission1,58778.4
Dairy tanker130.6
Other fomite120.6
Other vehicles291.4
Under investigation1999.9

Notes:

1. Figures do not distinguish between those persons who handled infected animals and those who did not.

2. Many infected premises had multiple possible sources of infection. If investigations reveal that there was more than one potential source within the appropriate time frame and the case falls within 3 kilometres of an earlier premises, the cause is recorded as 'local' transmission.

3. A fomite is defined as any inanimate object capable of carrying the virus.


Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what differences there are between the guidance given to Herefordshire council about grants to assist businesses affected by foot and mouth disease and that issued to Business Link and the Forest of Dean council and to Gloucestershire council. [6468]

Alun Michael: Within the guidelines it was left to individual regional development agencies to decide how to manage and prioritise the assistance given. Officials have looked at the way this has been dealt with by south-west regional development agency and Advantage West Midlands and are satisfied that although differing in detail both are consistent with the guidelines. I will write to my hon. Friend with further details.

Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of jobs lost in the agricultural sector as a result of the foot and mouth outbreak. [7749]

Alun Michael: The Department does not have statistics which could accurately reflect any job losses in the agricultural sector resulting from foot and mouth disease. As part of our efforts to properly interpret the social and economic impact on rural areas we are currently running a telephone survey of a sample of farmers who have been directly or indirectly affected by foot and mouth disease. This survey includes questions relating to the employment effects of the outbreak.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what requirements farms must comply with in order to qualify for (a) cleansing and (b) restocking following a foot and mouth outbreak; [8147]

Mr. Morley: Cleansing and disinfection and restocking are key stages in the FMD eradication process.

Our policy is to ensure that cleansing and disinfection is carried out thoroughly and efficiently while at the same time ensuring the best use of public funds. Preliminary cleansing and disinfection (C and D) is carried out during the slaughter and disposal stage on all premises known, or believed to be contaminated with foot and mouth disease in order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading to neighbouring farms. Twenty-four hours after this stage has been completed, secondary C and D can commence, the purpose of which is to reduce the risk of recrudescence and allow for restocking. Restocking can commence once the farmer has a certificate stating the C and D has been satisfactorily completed.

The Department will normally pay the costs of secondary C and D providing farms are (a) in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair, (b) there are no health and safety implications for those involved in the cleansing operation and (c) that the costs incurred are proportionate to the individual farm situation. Since 5 August, contractual arrangements have been tightened and farmers encouraged to undertake secondary C and D themselves, wherever possible.

Restocking must be accomplished in such a way as to balance the needs of the livestock industry and the veterinary and scientific advice as to the disease control risks involved in this process. The key elements of our restocking policy are as follows:


Further advice on restocking is available to farmers on the DEFRA website http://www.defra.gov.uk/.


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