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Organophosphorus Sheep Dips

Lord Morris of Castle Morris asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: On 1 July 1999 the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) published its report on the effects of exposure to organophosphorus sheep dips. The report identifies handling of OP sheep dip concentrates as the main source of potential exposure. It suggests that the identified exposure to concentrates was associated with an increased likelihood of ill-health in the groups studied. The report is being submitted immediately for consideration by the OP Working Group of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) which is reviewing the evidence on the possible ill-health effects of OPs. We expect to receive advice from COT, and from the other independent expert advisory committees on the implications of the COT advice, by the end of the year. In addition, we have asked the Veterinary Products Committee and the Advisory Committee on Pesticides to consider urgently, in advance of the COT advice, whether the report has any immediate implications for approvals of OPs or whether further measures are necessary.

On 1 July my honourable friend the Minister of State also wrote to representatives of manufacturers seeking an early meeting to discuss what action they will be proposing in response to the report. We have placed copies of the report in the Library of the House.

MAFF: Meetings with Consumer and Environmental Groups

Viscount Hanworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: MAFF Ministers and/or officials have had more than 360 meetings with the consumer/environmental/pressure groups listed below since June 1998. Genetically Modified Organisms/biotechnology were discussed during approximately 40 of these meetings.



    Scottish National Heritage


    World Wildlife Fund


    Organic Farms & Growers

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    Organic Food Federation


    Marine Conservation Society


    Parnham Trust


    National Food Alliance


    Wildlife & Wetlands Trust


    Humane Slaughter Association


    Horror Out Of Farming


    Joint National Conservation Council


    Worcestershire Wildlife Trust


    Soil Association


    Royal Society for the Protection of Birds


    National Trust


    British Deer Society


    Wildlife Trust


    Woodland Trust


    Butterfly Conservation Trust


    Linking Environment And Farming


    SAFE Alliance


    British Trust for Ornithology


    Council for the Protection of Rural England


    Climate Action Network


    Plant Life


    National Conservation Council


    English Nature


    Consumers' Association


    National Federation of Conservation Groups


    Croydon Conservation Group


    Consumers in Europe Group


    Women's Institutes


    Consultative Farm of Whaling


    Salmon & Trout Association


    Campaign for Protection of Shechita


    National Housewives Association


    Friends of the Earth


    Anaphylaxis Campaign


    Latex Allergy Support Group


    Welsh Consumers Council


    British Trust for Ornithology


    Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


    UK Arctic Conservation Forum


    London Conservation Working Group


    Free Radicals


    Consumers International


    Pesticides Trust


    Townswomen's Guild


    Cornish Guild of Smallholders

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    Small Farms Association


    Devon Smallholders Association


    North Cornwall Smallholders


    Family Farmers Association


    Council for the Protection of Rural England


    Ramblers Association


    Devon Wildlife Trust


    Compassion in World Farming


    Gaia Foundation


    Wildlife & Countryside Link


    Scottish Consumers Council


    National Federation of Badgers Group


    Sherwood Forest Trust


    English Heritage


    Wildlife Trust


    Cotswold & Gloucestershire Farm Attraction Group


    Wiltshire Rural Forum


    Wiltshire Woodland Forum


    Great Western Community Forest


    Dorset Rural Forum


    The Rare Breeds Survival Trust


    Greenpeace


    Green Alliance


    Gene Watch


    Women's Environmental Network & Genetics Forum


    World Society for the Protection of Animals


    International Federation for Animal Welfare.

Cattle Passports: Fees

Viscount Hanworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for consultation on the proposed level of fees for cattle passports.[HL3584]

Lord Donoughue: The Cattle Tracing System (CTS) was launched by the Government in September 1998. The system is run by a new organisation, the British Cattle Movement Service, (BCMS). The new system enables a full record to be kept of cattle and where they have been throughout their lives, helping the livestock industry to provide assurance to its customers.

Since its launch and until 5 July 1999, 2,330,113 passports for cattle have been issued by BCMS, at an average rate of 11,650 per day. It is expected that between 2½ and 3 million cattle passports will be issued annually. At the current time, 90 per cent. of passports are issued within three working days of an application

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being received. In addition, since last September, 1,446,993 movements of cattle have been recorded on the new system; and 221,506 calls from farmers have been handled by the BCMS call centre since it opened in July 1998.

The Government announced in February 1998 that they would pay for setting up the Cattle Tracing System (CTS) and for running it during its first full year of operation. This represented a benefit of some £36 million to the livestock industry. The Government believe that as the main beneficiaries, the livestock industry should now take over the costs of running the CTS from 27 September 1999. In a consultation document, issued on 8 July 1999, interested organisations are being consulted on the level of charges, what they cover and the methods of payment. We propose that the fee should be £7 per cattle passport. This is in the lower half of the £5 to £10 range indicated in November 1997. This proposed fee does not include the cost of time spent checking the eartags and passports of animals handled by the Meat Hygiene Service, (MHS). Instead it is proposed that the MHS should recover these costs directly from abattoirs. The cost to the abattoir sector is likely to be around £2 million per annum.

The Government propose not to charge for temporary passports, known also as calf passports. Calves are less valuable than older animals. The passport fee will be payable, however, if a temporary passport is submitted for conversion to a full cattle passport.

A copy of the consultation package, including a draft Regulatory Impact Assessment, has been placed in the Library of the House. Comments are sought by 9 August. There will be separate consultations by the administrations in Scotland and Wales, but it is expected that the fee will be at the same rate in all three countries of Great Britain.

Cattle Diseases

Viscount Hanworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What advice the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has provided to farmers on ways they can reduce the risk of diseases spreading to their cattle.[HL3583]

Lord Donoughue: On 8 July we published two leaflets on this issue. The first, Farm Biosecurity: Protecting Herd Health, covers general disease prevention and the second TB in Cattle: Reducing the Risk is aimed more specifically at reducing the threat of tuberculosis.

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This is an important area. Through these leaflets we are aiming to raise farmers' awareness of the importance of good practice in reducing disease risk and the benefits it offers. These leaflets offer good advice that farmers throughout the country should follow.

The leaflets will be given to cattle farmers by State Veterinary Service staff and local veterinary inspectors during farm visits and are being made widely available through markets, the farmers' unions and local Agricultural Department offices. We have placed copies of both leaflets in the Library of the House.

MAFF Veterinary Visits outside European Union

Viscount Long asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, for each employee of the Veterinary Public Health Unit of the Joint Food Standards and Safety Group within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who has visited countries outside the European Union in 1998 or 1999, they will list (a) the countries; (b) the date of the visit and its duration; (c) the grade of the employee; (d) the total cost of each visit; and (e) the purpose of the visit.[HL3453]

Lord Donoughue: The information requested is given in the table below.

Country Visited Date/Duration Employee GradeApproximate Total Cost (Excluding Salary) Purpose of Visit
AustraliaFebruary 98 13 daysVeterinary Advisor (7)£4,500Attend Codex Committee on Food Import and Export inspection and Certification Systems.
USAFebruary 98 23 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)£5,900Attend USDA Foreign Inspector Training Course (to facilitate exports to USA)
HungaryMarch 98 6 daysVeterinary Advisor (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
Czech RepublicMarch 98 9 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
Estonia/ Latvia/ LithuaniaJune 98 9 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
LatviaNovember 98 5 daysVeterinary Advisor (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
Kenya/ Uganda/ MozambiqueNovember/ December 98 23 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
IcelandOctober 98 6 daysVeterinary Advisor (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
USAJanuary 99 21 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)£7,200Attend USDA Foreign Inspector Training Course (to facilitate exports to USA)
ThailandFebruary 99 12 daysVeterinary Head (SCS) and Veterinary Advisor (7)£8,000Imported Food Regulations inspection of poultry meat plants approved to export to EU
AustraliaFebruary/ March 99 18 daysDeputy Veterinary Head (6)£6,000Attend Codex Committee on Food Import and Export inspection and Certification Systems. Attend World Conference on Meat and Poultry Inspection
PolandMarch 99 1 dayAssistant Chief Veterinary Officer£800Present paper to food safety and hygiene seminar
ChinaMay/June 99 20 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)Paid by ECMember State expert on EC visit to review veterinary controls in Third Country
HungaryJune 99 6 daysVeterinary Meat Hygiene Adviser (7)Paid by CCFIDI HungaryAdvice on EC requirements

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