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Scrapie in Lowland Sheep

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Lucas: We have no records on the feeding practices of lowland sheep. Scrapie has been notifiable in sheep and goats in Great Britain since 1993. There is no evidence to suggest that the incidence of scrapie is increasing.

Scrapie Strains: Comparisons

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Lucas: We are not aware of any attempts to characterise strains of scrapie identified in Europe in a manner that permits direct comparison with British isolates.

15 Jul 1996 : Column WA48

Pesticide Combinations: Synergistic Effects

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of recent research, including that by Steven F. Arnold, et al, that pesticides and other chemicals which have low potencies in isolation produce potent synergistic oestrogenic effects up to 1,600 times greater than additive effects and what is their response to the researcher's opinion that these results may have profound environmental implications.

Lord Lucas: The Government are aware that a paper by Steven F. Arnold et al, appeared in the 7th June edition of Science. This paper will be considered along with the existing body of work which, taken as a whole, suggests that the interactions of combinations of pesticides and other chemicals in the environment are at most additive.

BSE Countermeasures: Cost and UK Contribution

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their answer of 24th June (HL Deb, col. WA 49) whether they will now estimate what is their current expectation of total expenditure throughout the European Union in respect of measures to deal with BSE including beef market support measures and all others, and state what part of that will be borne by the United Kingdom and what part will be spent in the United Kingdom.

Lord Lucas: The European Commission's current CAP budget proposals contain provisions of £1,200 million in 1996 and £299 million in 1997 for measures so far agreed to deal with BSE including additional beef market support measures. As well as expenditure on slaughter compensation schemes covered in the answer of 24th June, this includes extra provision for the calf slaughter premium, private storage aid for veal, intervention purchases above those previously budgeted for and compensation to beef producers. The 1997 preliminary draft budget for the CAP also contains a reserve of £410 million to cover the cost of further support measures which may be necessary, including compensation for selective culling in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is forecast to contribute about 15 per cent. to the EU budget in 1996 and 14 per cent. in 1997 before our Fontainebleau abatement is taken into account.

About £287 million of the 1996 amount is expected to be spent in the United Kingdom, excluding the share of additional intervention purchases, for which a breakdown is not available. All of the £299 million in 1997 is expected to be spent in the United Kingdom.

15 Jul 1996 : Column WA49

Foot and Mouth Disease in Imported Elephants

Lord Mountevans asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What measures are in place to prevent the possibility of Foot and Mouth Disease being introduced into Great Britain through the importation of elephants.

Lord Lucas: Foot and Mouth disease is a significant animal health problem in some parts of the world. That is why we have amended the Importation of Animals Order 1977. From the date of the amending order coming into force, it will be possible for elephants to be imported into Great Britain only under the authority of a licence. Any licences issued will contain specific animal health requirements to ensure that Great Britain's freedom from foot and mouth disease and other diseases to which elephants are susceptible is not compromised.

Meat Hygiene Service: Targets

Lord HolmPatrick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What targets have been set for the Meat Hygiene Service in 1996-97.

Lord Lucas: My right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and for Wales and my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food have set the following targets for the Meat Hygiene Service in 1996-97. These take account of the recent expansion of the duties of the Meat Hygiene Service in relation to BSE.

Financial Performance

To charge plant operators the full economic cost (calculated in accordance with the relevant charging legislation and accruals accounting) of providing the statutory health inspection and controls at fresh meat premises, taking account of any interim support.

To recover from government departments and agencies the full economic costs of providing agreed services or other work undertaken on their behalf.

To comply with budgetary controls resulting from PES and the Supply Estimates as revised in the light of the BSE situation.


To take all necessary measures to ensure that the slaughterhouse industry fully complies with the legislation applying to Specified Bovine Material.

To achieve an overall 3 per cent. improvement in the ratios of overhead to total costs, compared to 1995-96.

To ensure the animal welfare and slaughter/processing provisions are enforced fully in all slaughterhouses, including when operating under the

15 Jul 1996 : Column WA50

Calf Processing Scheme and the over Thirty Months Cattle Slaughter Scheme.

To apply hygiene requirements in such a way as to raise the levels of compliance in both fresh meat and poultry meat slaughterhouses so that two-thirds of all slaughterhouses in each category attain a HAS score of at least 65 by the end of 1996-97.

To provide a formal training programme for all MHS Meat Inspectors, Meat Technicians and OVSs in animal welfare by the end of 1996-97.

To carry out a customer satisfaction survey to assess service delivery by the end of 1996-97.

My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food would also like to draw attention to the fact that the MHS has been instructed on his behalf to carry out new tasks in connection with BSE-related matters. These are administration of emergency aid payments to eligible slaughterhouses and enforcement of SBM controls. On behalf of the IBEA, the MHS is also supervising and controlling the slaughter and processing of animals under the calf processing and 30 months plus schemes.

BSE in Bulls and Steers

Lord Kilbracken asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to their Written Answer to Lord Kilbracken on 11th June (col. WA 160) how many of the 469 male cattle shown therein to have contracted BSE in the United Kingdom to date were entire bulls and how many were steers; and into which age groups they fell.

Lord Lucas: The figure of 469 has now increased to 473. The age groups of these 473 male animals confirmed as BSE cases are:

Great Britain


Northern Ireland


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