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2 May 2001 : Column WA89

Written Answers

Wednesday, 2nd May 2001.

Victoria Climbie Inquiry

Baroness Williams of Crosby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What will be the precise remit of the Laming inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbie; and whether it will be held in public.[HL1858]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Further announcements about the statutory inquiry into the circumstances leading to and surrounding the death of Victoria Climbie, including the terms of reference, were made on 20 April 2001.The inquiry has been established by the Secretary of State for Health under powers in s.81 of the Children Act 1989 and s.84 of the NHS Act 1977, and the Secretary of State for the Home Department under s.49 of the Police Act 1996. Lord Laming has been appointed to conduct the inquiry. It will be fully independent and heard in public in London. The terms of reference have been placed in the Library.

Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in accordance with the Technical Regulations Directives 98/34EC and 98/48EC, they notified the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Bill to the European Community; and, if not, why not.[HL1906]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: No, because its provisions are not notifiable under the Technical Standards Directive, as amended.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Tea Tree Oil

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have considered Australian research into the antiviral, antibacterial and immune system enhancing properties of tea tree oil; and whether there is a possibility of tea tree oil products offering protection against foot and mouth disease for farm livestock.[HL1681]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The Government are not aware of any scientific evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of tea tree oil against foot and mouth disease.

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Beef Exports to France: Farmers' Compensation

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What support they will give to farmers to help them to claim compensation from the French Government, should the court action over the ban on beef exports succeed. [HL1880]

Baroness Hayman: Should producers make a claim against the French Government for compensation over its continuing ban on the import of UK beef, the UK Government would give support in terms of information and advice. The Government do not finance the costs of such cases.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Disinfection of Carcasses

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What instructions they have given with regard to disinfecting stock before they are burned on account of foot and mouth. [HL1686]

Baroness Hayman: Veterinary advice issued to field staff is that all carcasses should be sprayed with an approved foot and mouth disease disinfectant, generally 0.2 per cent citric acid, before burning. This will destroy any virus on the surface of the carcasses.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Quicklime

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What research has been done since the 1968 outbreak of foot and mouth disease into the effect of quicklime; and whether it preserves carcasses. [HL1702]

Baroness Hayman: Veterinary advice is that quicklime should not be used because it will act to preserve carcasses if there is not enough water present. Carcasses will decompose naturally underground.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Vaccine Stocks

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What stocks of vaccine against foot and mouth disease have been stored in the United Kingdom for each of the past five years.[HL1576]

Baroness Hayman: The International Foot and Mouth Vaccine Bank at Pirbright has held 3.5 million doses of foot and mouth vaccine, for each year between 1997 and 2001.

2 May 2001 : Column WA91

Year 1997 to 2001

Number
A24 Cruzeiro500,000
A15 Thailand500,000
A22 Iraq500,000
Asia1 India500,000
C1 Oberbayern500,000
O1 Lausanne500,000
O1 Manisa500,000

During the same period the United Kingdom has also held part of the European Union's strategic reserve of foot and mouth disease antigens as below. However, this responsibility was relinquished in June 2000.


YearO1 BFSA24 Cruzeiro
1997-20002,501,1342,500,000
2001----

Foot and Mouth Disease: Napalm

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why napalm is not used for the destruction of animal carcasses resulting from foot and mouth disease.[HL1792]

Baroness Hayman: There are two forms of napalm available, which both produce very toxic compounds when they burn. We therefore cannot use them because of the public and environmental health risks.

We recognise that burning at higher temperatures is more efficient and cleaner, and so there is a need to increase the temperature of pyres, particularly at the beginning of the burn while the water in carcasses is being driven off. We have therefore commissioned urgent studies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, on the possible use of gelled fuel mixtures to increase the temperature.

Foot and Mouth Disease in Kent: Serology

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the serology results in the foot and mouth outbreaks in Kent.[HL1825]

Baroness Hayman: Samples for serology were taken from three of the six slaughtering operations carried out in Kent. These yielded two positive results; the other was inconclusive.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Wild Deer

Lord Rotherwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contingency plans they have in case of wild deer becoming infected with foot and mouth.[HL1829]

2 May 2001 : Column WA92

Baroness Hayman: Our current veterinary risk assessment concludes that infected deer could transmit foot and mouth disease to susceptible livestock during the clinical stages of the disease. However, they are unlikely to represent a longer term risk. In the event of an outbreak of the disease in a feral herd, susceptible livestock likely to come into contact with the herd could be housed if they were normally confined in fields. However, attempts to round up and confine livestock normally grazed on moorland or other open spaces, or attempts to cull deer could lead to increased spread of the disease.

Slaughtermen

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the statement by the Baroness Hayman on 9 April (H.L. Deb., col. 1013), how many slaughtermen have been deployed currently to cope with the foot and mouth outbreak; and whether they consider that these numbers are adequate in tackling the backlog of animals awaiting slaughter.[HL1788]

Baroness Hayman: As of 28 April, there are in the region of 280 slaughtermen being used, with approximately 550 in reserve, to be used if required. We believe that these numbers are more than adequate.

Meat and Meat Products: Import Monitoring

Viscount Cranborne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which body is, or bodies are, responsible for monitoring imports of meat and meat products into the United Kingdom.[HL1870]

Baroness Hayman: All meat and meat products imported from third countries into the UK must enter at designated UK border inspection posts, where they are subject to veterinary inspections. The inspection services at the BIP are the responsibility of the relevant local authority.

Viscount Cranborne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the budget of the body or bodies devoted to monitoring the imports of meat and meat products in each of the years 1990-2000.[HL1871]

Baroness Hayman: This information is not held centrally. All meat imported from third countries into the UK must enter at designated UK border inspection posts (BIP), where it is subject to veterinary inspections. The inspection services at the BIP and the budgetary control thereof are the responsibility of the local authority.

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Viscount Cranborne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the United Kingdom's system of monitoring meat imports compares with the Swedish and Danish systems; and whether United Kingdom resource devoted to monitoring meat imports exceed Swedish and Danish resources, both absolutely and as a proportion of government expenditure. [HL1873]

Baroness Hayman: This information is not available and could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. All meat imported into the European Union from third countries must enter at designated border inspection posts (BIP), where it is subject to veterinary inspections. The European Commission is responsible for ensuring that the inspection facilities and services at BIPs in all member states are adequate.


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