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30 Oct 2002 : Column 808Wcontinued
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assistance has been given to local authorities to educate residents on the dangers to livestock from illegally imported meat. 
Mr. Morley: A campaign to raise public awareness of the dangers posed by illegal meat imports has been co-ordinated centrally by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. A variety of methods have been used in the campaign, including posters, leaflets, and radio fillers. Two Government information videos have just been produced. A leaflet on the importance of biosecurity has been issued to farmers. At the level of local authorities, in this financial year, Defra is funding jointly with the Food Standards Agency to provide additional training for enforcement officers on import rules.
Mr. Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what she is doing to encourage trading standards officers to prosecute those who trade in illegally imported bushmeat. 
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against those importing meat illegally. We have made clear that prosecutions are an important aspect of deterrence which we would like to see used where there is clear evidence of a serious breach of the rules. We are willing to work with local authorities to produce further guidance if this would be helpful. In addition the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is matching funding with the Food Standards Agency to provide additional training for officers from local authorities, including trading standards officers, on import requirements. One of the key aims of the training will be to raise awareness of the illegal meat trade and give officers advice on which cases should be prosecuted.
Mr. Morley: According to data held on the Illegal Imports Animal Products Seizures (ILAPS) database, there have been 984 seizures of illegally imported meat from 1 May to 30 September 2002 inclusive. The penalty in 983 of these cases was destruction of the produce, and in the other the produce was re-exported. In addition, one successful prosecution was brought by Crawley Borough Council in July 2002 and six cautions were issued by the London Port Health Authority in October 2002.
Mr. Morley: There is comprehensive legislation in place to protect the welfare of all farmed animals. In particular, the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000, as amended, include detailed requirements for pigs and laying hens. There are also species-specific welfare codes. Arrangements are in place to implement new EU directives on pig welfare and to update the existing welfare code. New codes for laying hens and meat and breeding chickens were introduced in July.
Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on banning the use of animals in circuses; and whether she will include a ban on animals in circuses in the new Animal Welfare Bill. 
Mr. Morley: The proposed new Animal Welfare Bill will be an enabling measure under which the Secretary of State would be able to bring forward detailed proposals to regulate or prohibit certain practices in order to promote the welfare of the animals concerned. It is through this mechanism that any move to restrict or prohibit the use of animals in circuses would be made. This particular issue is complex, with strongly held opinions on all sides. Any decision on the future of animals performing in circuses would only be taken after the most thorough consultation.
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have been spent by DEFRA staff at UK air and seaports assessing biosecurity since the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 28 October 2002]: Staff from the State Veterinary Service, and Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate carry out a wide range of duties at ports and airports. Information on the hours spent assessing biosecurity is not available. Since 2001, SVS staff have increased their surveillance work at ports and airports.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) minimum, (b) average and (c) maximum time taken to remove TB reactor cattle from farms in the last 12 months was. 
|Area||(a) Minimum||(b) Average||(c) Maximum|
(16) Animal removed and slaughtered on day of TB skin test reading.
(17) Removal affected by FMD movement restrictions
The data in the table relate to samples from TB reactor cattle which were subject to bacteriological examination. Data for other animals slaughtered for the purposes of TB control are not available.
Further analysis of the data available has shown that 75 per cent. of cases were removed and slaughtered within 36 days of the skin test reading in Great Britain and in England; 90 per cent. within 45 days in Great Britain (47 in England); 95 per cent. in 56 days in Great Britain (57 in England) and 99 per cent. within 78 days (79 in England).
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on the European Commission's proposals in the Common Agricultural Policy's mid-term review to cap subsidies for individual farms. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 October 2002]: The Government's policy on the commission's proposal to cap subsidies for individual farms is that it goes against the grain of proposals that are intended to encourage increased efficiency. It would discourage rationalisation and modernisation and discriminate against efficient large-scale producers.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on decoupling of subsidies from production as part of the mid-term review of the common agricultural policy; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr. Morley: We are in favour of decoupling in principle. It helps to reconnect farmers to markets, removes perverse incentives to environmental damage through overproduction and should contribute to a successful conclusion of the WTO development round and discharging our obligation to the poorest countries. However, there are a lot of issues to resolve before we can introduce a workable system.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if the Government aims to achieve real budgetary savings in the CAP as part of the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 October 2002]: The Government's view is that the Commission proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy do not go far enough. We believe that agricultural expenditure should be reduced over time and that the mid-term review should provide for real budgetary savings.
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's position on the place of modulation in the European Commission's proposals for the mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 October 2002]: The Government supports a shift from production linked support to agri-environment and rural development measures. However, we do not believe that the Commission's proposals for achieving this through modulation go far or fast enough. In particular, the proposals would not deliver real budgetary savings which are necessary to put the CAP budget on a more sustainable footing. In addition, the Commission's proposal includes a franchise excluding very small farms and ceiling on payments to the largest farms which would be unnecessarily complex to administer, and could introduce distortions in farm
Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's policy is on subsidised agricultural exports from the European Union with regard to mid-term review of the Common Agricultural Policy. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 23 October 2002]: The UK supports the commitment made by World Trade Organisation (WTO) members, including the EU, to "substantial improvements in market access (import tariff reduction); reductions of, with a view to phasing out, all forms of export subsidies; and substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support" as part of the current round of WTO negotiations (the Doha Development Agenda).
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will estimate the yearly costs of the Common Agricultural Policy to the EU budget over the next four years if there (a) is and (b) is not decoupling of subsidies from production in the Common Agricultural Policy. 
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Mr. Morley: The European Commission have forecasted the annual cost of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to the EU budget until 2006, as set out in the table. These estimates assume the continuation of current policy and exclude expenditure on rural development. Without knowing how a decoupled payment system would work in detail any assessment of its impact of the EU budget would be purely speculative.
Source: European Commission
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on the Common Agricultural Policy with regard to the mid-term review. 
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