Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st November 1993.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid 12:00 am, 1st November 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what initiatives he has taken to encourage the promotion of Welsh beef for consumption overseas.

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

Welsh Food Promotions Ltd. was set up more than two years ago with a remit to promote all types of food produced in Wales, including beef. The company works closely with Food from Britain in promoting overseas sales.

Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant , Staffordshire Mid

My right hon. Friend will be aware of the excellent taste and unique quality of Welsh black cattle. Is he equally aware of the grievous losses suffered by the breeders of Welsh black cattle since the imposition of the ban on exports because of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy scare? Is he aware that Welsh black cattle are fed on natural sources, such as silage in winter and grain in summer? Is he further aware that BSE exists anyway in continental Europe? What can my right hon. Friend do to promote the export of Welsh black cattle to Europe as a valuable earner of deutschmarks?

Photo of Mr Wyn Roberts Mr Wyn Roberts , Conwy

Of course, I am aware of the difficulties that the restrictions on exporting cattle, put into place as a result of BSE, have brought for many producers, and I sympathise with their position. However, the prohibition on the export of live cattle over six months old applies to all breeds of cattle and as Welsh blacks are among the breed types that have had confirmed cases of BSE, we are not likely to be able to advance the case for special treatment for that breed alone. Although a few cases of BSE have been confirmed in some member states, they are all isolated cases which are linked to feedstuffs imported from the United Kingdom. Exports to other member states are likely to remain restricted for some time yet.