Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:38 pm on 7th October 2002.

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Photo of Lord Livsey of Talgarth Lord Livsey of Talgarth Liberal Democrat 3:38 pm, 7th October 2002

My Lords, I have great sympathy with the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, and the noble Lord, Lord Moran, who spoke with a great deal of wisdom and raised a number of important points. I thank the Minister for accepting our amendment on imports, for which we are most grateful.

It has been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to discuss the issues so I welcome the opportunity provided by the Statement to make a few comments. I cannot see how we can address a contingency plan adequately with no amendment before us. Nor is there any amendment on a new preventive slaughter policy, when the policy adopted in 2001 was so controversial. Indeed, we await a disease slaughter control. Vaccination is a crucial aspect and one that caused frenetic debate at all levels during the 2001 outbreak. I echo the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Moran, that the EU will tackle many of the issues within one month. There is also a report from the European Parliament on the British Government's conduct in 2001.

All those factors could contribute greatly to a far better Bill. I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that the department requires additional legislation in case of another outbreak before a new Act is in place. I view the Bill as interim legislation to cope with that situation but down the line much more comprehensive legislation will be required to ensure that our law is contiguous with that of the European Union. The points made by the noble Baroness and the noble Lord could be taken into account to produce eventually a good Bill and Act. If the Minister's intention is that the Bill should serve as an interim measure, he should make that clearer than he has done.