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Orders of the Day — BSE Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:36 pm on 17th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr Roger Freeman Mr Roger Freeman , Kettering 9:36 pm, 17th February 1997

The hon. Member for Edinburgh, East argued that we should have started the selective cull earlier. My right hon. and learned Friend the Minister said clearly that, during the summer, the National Farmers Union opposed a selective cull; it has now changed its mind and supports one. The hon. Gentleman suggested that we should have started preparations for a selective cull by identifying the cattle in the autumn. That could not be achieved. One either starts the selective cull, identifies the cattle, agrees the compensation and puts restrictions on the movement of cattle—or not. We have not been in a position to do that until now. I am glad to confirm to the House that we are ready to start slaughtering under the selective cull scheme in about three weeks' time.