Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 7th October 2002.

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Photo of Baroness Masham of Ilton Baroness Masham of Ilton Crossbench 5:00 pm, 7th October 2002

I say to the Minister how pleased I am that the Government are to accept the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Livsey.

I have a question about the use of dogs. During the Recess, I heard that two trained dogs would be used in relation to illegal meat. Some time ago, with the Drugs Misuse Group, I visited the hangars at Heathrow to watch dogs working in relation to drugs. The hangars are absolutely vast. Two dogs are just a drop in a tiny ocean. The problem is a huge ocean and at least 200 dogs are needed. In the report, will we be told how the whole thing works and what is being done? As the noble Earl, Lord Peel, said, the import of illegal bushmeat is very worrying. Monkeys, gorillas and all sorts of tropical animals are coming in and being eaten.

I heard during the previous Session that the veterinary school for tropical diseases in Edinburgh will close. That is absolutely mad. We need it. It could help to provide aid to developing countries. Many of their veterinary officers have died of AIDS and other trained people are needed to replace them. If we really take this matter seriously, we have to consider many ways of preventing disease coming in.