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11 May 2001 : Column WA245

Written Answers

Friday, 11th May 2001.

Live Animal Transport

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hayman on 28 March (WA 41) concerning their policy towards, and monitoring of, the transport of live animals, whether:


    (a) there is a distinction between monitoring and policy;


    (b) what is their policy towards monitoring;


    (c) what is the number of people employed in the Animal Welfare Division on policy duties; and


    (d) whether the number of people employed in both their monitoring and policy units has changed since 1997.[HL1530]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): (a) Policy includes negotiating, developing and implementing improved rules on welfare during transport in the European Union and in domestic legislation. A dedicated team in Animal Welfare Division is responsible for the monitoring of the operation and enforcementof these rules. They work in close liaison.

(b) Monitoring of enforcement and compliance is an important part of the Government's twin-track policy of strict enforcement while encouraging the development of improved rules on a EU-wide basis. Monitoring of the rules on welfare during transport is best carried out by the State Veterinary Service and local authorities, which have the day to day responsibility for enforcement. The operations team in Animal Welfare Division maintains the database on transporter authorisations, checks that all new routes can comply with the law and arranges non-discriminatory checks on animals in co-operation with other member states.

(c) Animal Welfare Division is responsible for animal welfare on farm, during transport, at markets and at slaughter. There are currently 34.6 staff employed on policy duties in these areas.

(d) The number of staff in Animal Welfare Division has increased by 4.6 persons to 42.6 since 1997; six are employed on operational duties related to animal welfare during transport. An Enforcement Liaison Officer has been appointed to develop day to day working relations between the department and local authorities, which have primary responsibility for enforcement.

Foot and Mouth Disease

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Statement by the Baroness Hayman on 9 April (H.L. Deb., col. 1013), how

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    many animals, species by species, are awaiting slaughter under the livestock animal welfare disposal scheme.[HL1789]

Baroness Hayman: As at close on 9/5/01 the cumulative totals of animals by species which have been registered, slaughtered, withdrawn, not presented or which remain outstanding under the Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme are as follows:

SpeciesAnimals registeredAnimals slaughteredRegistered animals withdrawnAnimals not presentedRegistered animals outstanding etc
Sheep1,073,992525,80064,078124,543359,571
Pigs388,221190,90235,78264,27197,266
Cattle138,92552,8437,1378,45670,489
Deer/Goats/ Llamas4,54972811053,715
Total1,605,687770,273106,998197,375531,041

A daily report of progress under this scheme is available in the Library of the House.


Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether animals on foot and mouth contiguous farms are automatically blood tested; and how many of these contiguous farms were found to be developing the disease.[HL1979]

Baroness Hayman: As the Government's slaughter policy on contiguous premises does not depend on the identification of infection on these premises, susceptible animals on such farms are not automatically tested for foot and mouth disease.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they reconcile the statement by Baroness Hayman on 3 May (H.L. Deb., col. 1957) that "there is no longer any backlog of animals awaiting disposal anywhere in Great Britain" with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food daily situation report on the 4 May which stated that as of 19.00 on the 3 May there were some 38,000 animals awaiting disposal.[HL2126]

Baroness Hayman: Reports from the Regional Operations Centres at 19.00 on 3 May indicated that some 13,110 carcasses were awaiting disposal. However, due to the time lag between disposal and the information being reported and entered onto the Ministry database, the number of carcasses centrally recorded as awaiting disposal at 19.00 on 3 May was 38,000.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the statement by Baroness Hayman on 3 May (H.L. Deb., col. 1957) that "there are small numbers of animals awaiting slaughter", whether they consider the figure of 112,000 animals awaiting slaughter, given in the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food daily situation report of 4 May represents a "small number".[HL2127]

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Baroness Hayman: Reports from the Regional Operations Centres in Great Britain at 19.00 on 3 May indicated that some 10,250 animals were awaiting slaughter. However, due to the time lag between slaughter and the information being reported and entered onto the Ministry database, the number of animals centrally recorded as awaiting slaughter at 19.00 on 3 May was 112,000.

The Duke of Montrose asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they gauge the relative susceptibility of different animal species to type O foot and mouth disease.[HL1633]

Baroness Hayman: We refer the noble Lord to the reply given to him on 3 May, (H.L. Deb., col. WA 317).

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the various types of compensation to farmers for foot and mouth disease in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be the same as in England.[HL1638]

Baroness Hayman: Compensation for all animals slaughtered as a result of the foot and mouth disease outbreak is paid at the full market value of the animal immediately before slaughter; this is the case in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Standard tariffs of compensation were introduced in GB to speed up the payments of compensation.

The Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme (LWDS) is available to farmers whose animals face welfare difficulties as a result of movement restrictions. Animals taken under this scheme do not qualify for compensation. Instead a standard rate of payment is made to farmers to help resolve an identified welfare problem. These payments, which vary by species and type of animal, are not a reflection of the commercial or market value of the animal. The scheme is operated by the Intervention Board on behalf of the Ministry, throughout GB. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for Northern Ireland ran a limited pig welfare disposal scheme, under which payments were the same as those for pigs slaughtered under the LWDS. LWDS payments have been set at revised levels for animals collected as of 30 April.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why, early in March, scientists at Pirbright refused the offer of the United States Department of Agriculture to supply field-testing kits based on the amplification of foot and mouth virus RNA by a real-time polymerase chain reaction; and whether they will reconsider their decision.[HL1682]

Baroness Hayman: At no time did Pirbright scientists refuse the offer of field-testing kits. The original request was in fact made for Pirbright to provide the opportunity for field trials of unvalidated technology. Because of the huge pressure of diagnostic work at that time, Pirbright scientists were unable to carry out the comparative testing with the USA

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equipment which would have been required to validate the test, necessary before using on UK farms. An offer was made for one scientist from the USA to bring the equipment to Pirbright to carry out some comparative testing, but this was not taken up.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the position of farmers who against current Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food advice turn their cattle out to grass because they have exhausted their supplies of fodder and bedding and are unable to purchase further supplies, if those cattle succumb to foot and mouth disease.[HL1683]

Baroness Hayman: This issue raises a number of complex legal issues and any instances of these sort will be considered on a case by case basis.

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the average time in Cumbria between notification and veterinary confirmation, veterinary confirmation and slaughter, and slaughter and disposal in each of the weeks of the current foot and mouth crisis.[HL1699]

Baroness Hayman: Information on average times during the early stages of the crisis is still being compiled and validated. This is particularly true of the times from report to confirmation. The key information for fighting the disease is the time from report to slaughter. The table below details the requested statistics (in hours).

Week commencing Report to confirmation Confirmation to slaughter Report to slaughter Slaughter to disposal
4 March 200144489267
11 March 200143458871
18 March 200121325385
25 March 200125416692
1 April 200119294889
8 April 20017202759
15 April 20014192425
22 April 200110172645
29 April 20017142116

Source: MAFF Disease Control System database--figures are subject to revision as more data become available.



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