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Foot and Mouth

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:14 pm on 21st June 2001.

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Photo of Margaret Beckett Margaret Beckett The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12:14 pm, 21st June 2001

May I say to my hon. Friend, with proper respect, that I hope that this does not become a competition to be the worst affected area as a means of ensuring that Ministers visit a particular part of the country? I understand the concerns that have been expressed. I have not heard all the anecdotal evidence to which he refers, but of course I am aware that there have been occasions when distress has been caused as a result of the culling operation.

With regard to my hon. Friend's query about disinfectant baths, I hope that the House is aware that the key means by which the disease is spread is the movement of vehicles and of people, and in particular, close contact with animals. He is right that everyone should be mindful of that and of the precautions that need to be taken. I suggest that we all, as politicians, continue to urge those precautions on our constituents to bring about a continued diminution in the already substantially reduced number of affected areas.