Animal Health Bill
Lord Moran (Crossbench)
My Lords, I want to ask the Minister a question, of which I had given him notice, relating to the amendment. With regard to this amendment, this new clause and other clauses of the same nature in the Bill, it would be helpful to all noble Lords to know the relation of the Bill to the work on foot and mouth now being carried out in Brussels.
When I spoke in the debate on 7th October, I mentioned that Commissioner Byrne had said that a draft directive was to be put forward, but, of course, at that stage I had not seen it. Now I have, thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Plumb, who kindly lent me his copy. I made a copy of the draft for myself and arranged for the Library also to have a copy so that it could make it available to other noble Lords. It is a very long and detailed draft, which no doubt the Minister and his department will consider and discuss.
However, I do not understand how the Bill fits in with the impending directive. In particular, I do not know when it is likely that the directive will come into force. But it seems to me that, if the Bill is passed in the relatively near future, there is a danger that it may become out of date and be superseded by powers that the Commission will propose that the EU as a whole should take in relation to the whole European Union. It is clearly proposing that arrangements should be made to cover the whole Union with regard to foot and mouth and possibly other animal diseases. It would be a great help to me and, I imagine, to other noble Lords to know how the Bill meshes with the impending directive, when the directive is likely to be issued and whether the Bill will be affected or unaffected by it.