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 Lord Marlesford Lord Marlesford Conservative 5:00 pm, 7th October 2002

I back up the comments of the noble Baroness.

The Minister may be aware that I have asked a number of Questions on this subject in recent months. He should be aware of that because he signed a good many of the Answers. In one Answer, he said that enforcement was not a matter for legislation; but—my gosh—it is a matter of concern: deep, deep concern. At the moment, the concern does not begin to be allayed.

The noble Baroness referred to the issue of two dogs. Let the Minister at least tell us the current and projected strength of the canine defence force of this country.

One of my Questions was about whether it was possible to discriminate, in terms of investigation and surveillance, at an airport between passengers arriving from different destinations. There are obviously limited resources; we should focus them where they are needed. The Answer that I got was that it was not appropriate to discriminate between passengers coming from different places. Is that really true? None of this gives one any confidence that anything is going to be done or is being done. I totally support the amendment of the noble Lord on the Liberal Front Bench; of course we support it. However, it is action that is needed, not just words. Frankly, to say that this is not a matter for legislation is not good enough.