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The principal business of this Council was to consider the Commission's proposal introducing, as a measure to protect public health, an EU-wide prohibition on the use of specified risk materials from cattle, sheep or goats. The Council was called upon to consider this proposal since it had failed to secure a qualified majority at the Standing Veterinary Committee held on 16 July. Following prolonged negotiations in the Council, the Luxembourg Presidency was able to establish that a simple majority of member states supported the Commission's proposal: those member states were Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Ireland, France and the United Kingdom. The way is now open for the Commission to act on its own competence and give effect to this measure, which will come into force on 1 January 1998. We very much welcome the fact that a majority of member states was able to support a measure which will bring the EU broadly into line with UK practice in respect of the removal of specified risk materials from bovine carcasses, and extend that practice also to sheep and goats.
The Commissioner gave a full report to the Council on the recent discovery of illegal exports of beef from the United Kingdom to other EU member states. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food emphasised to the Council the importance which the United Kingdom attaches to the prevention of fraud and to maintaining strict controls within slaughterhouses and meat plants.
The Agriculture Council also heard Commissioner Fischler give a full account of the recently published approach to further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy in the framework of the Commission's Agenda 2000 proposals. The Commissioner emphasised the importance of proceeding urgently with changes to the arable, dairy and beef sectors in particular, as well as certain Mediterranean products, in order to prepare the EU for the next round of WTO agricultural negotiations and to facilitate the enlargement of the EU. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food welcomed the Commission's initiative and urged the Council to engage in detailed discussions as quickly as possible. The Council will revert to this important subject in the early autumn.
The Council also had reports from the Commission on progress in the veterinary equivalence negotiations with the United States and with the Czech Republic; and from the Presidency on progress in attaching animal welfare conditions to the payment of beef export
Lord Donoughue: The Government are pleased to announce that the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's annual report and accounts for 1996-97 was published yesterday. Copies are available in the Library of the House.
The report charts the continuing success of the Directorate as a "Next Steps" Agency and we would like to congratulate the Chief Executive, Dr. Rutter, and his staff on their considerable achievements during the year.
The Veterinary Medicines Directorate has also published a second report on Surveillance for Veterinary Residues. The report sets out the results of the testing for residues of veterinary medicines in meat and other animal products. Copies of this report are also available in the Library of the House.
Lord Donoughue: Members of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) are not required to declare their commercial and non-commercial interests as this is a scientific advisory committee with no trading or financial objectives. However, in the interests of open Government the members of SEAC have been asked for this information and the interests declared are listed in the following table.
|Commercial interests||Non-commercial interests|
|Member||Name of organisation||Nature of interests||Name of organisation||Nature of interests|
|Professor J. R. Pattison (Chairman)||None||None||Medical Research Council||Senior Medical Adviser to the Chief Executive|
|Dr. R. G. Will (Deputy Chairman)||None||None||Department of Health Scottish Home and Health Department Medical Research Council European Commission BIOMED Office International des Epizooties Expert Group on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Related Diseases (1990-present) World Health Organisation European Union||Grant Holder Grant Holder Grant Holder Programme Grant Holder Adviser Adviser Member of the Multi- disciplinary Scientific Committee|
|Professor J. W. Almond||Aplin and Barrat Ltd. Stanger Science Food and Drink Federation||One-off Consultancy One-off Consultancy One-off Consultancy||Society for General Microbiology (company limited by guarantee and registered charity). Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council MAFF||Director Chairman of the Working Group of the Biology of the Spongiform Encephalopathic Programme Member of scientific review panels|
|Mr. R. Bradley||Beacon Research Taylor By-Products Nordima International Trading European Natural Sausage Casings Association Meat and Livestock Commission National Dairy Council Jackson & Walker (Attorneys, Counsellors) Kraft Jacobs Suchard National Renderers Association Inc. Fats and Proteins Research Foundation Inc. Meat Industry Forum of South Africa||Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser||Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Veterinary Laboratories Agency World Health Organisation Office International des Epizooties European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products Committee on Proprietary Medicinal Products Medicines Control Agency Public Health Laboratory Service Infarmed (Portugal) Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN) Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens National Institute for Biological Standards European Commission National Governments and individuals especially in Africa, Europe and the Americas||Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser|
|Professor F. Brown||None||None||None||None|
|Professor J. Collinge||None||None||Wellcome Trust Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council The David and Frederick Barclay Foundation Department of Health European Commission BIOMED Programme Medical Research Council European Commission (DG VI)||Research Grant Holder Research Grant Holder Research Grant Holder Research Grant Holder Research Grant Holder Research Grant Holder Deputy Chairman of the High Level Group on BSE (The Weissmann Committee) (Final Report completed)|
|Professor W. D. Hueston||Cargill Hancock-Jaffe Laboratories Mullin, Hoard & Brown (Solicitors) Cyto Therapeutics||Consultant Consultant Consultant Consultant||Office Internationale des Epizooties Food & Drug Administration (USA)||Adviser Adviser|
|Dr. R. H. Kimberlin||Petfood Industry Pharmaceutical Industry (world-wide) Meat and Livestock Commission||Consultant Consultant Consultant||European Commission United Nations (Food and Agriculture Organisation) Office International des Epizooties National Governments in Europe, Americas and Australasia World Health Organisation||Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser Adviser|
|Dr. M. J. Painter||None||None||None||None|
|Mr. D. B. Pepper||Veterinary Pharmaceutical Industry Veterinary Defence Society Ltd.||Freelance Consultant Claims Consultant||None||None|
|Professor P. G. Smith||None||None||Department of Health||Grant Holder|
|Dr. W. A. Watson||International consultancy companies||Sheep farmer Occasional consultancy work overseas||None||None|
Professor Allen's commercial and non-commercial interests have not been included in the table as she tendered her resignation from the Committee on 4 December 1996, having accepted the position of Research and Development Director for Northern Ireland.