Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:15 pm on 7th October 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Livsey of Talgarth Lord Livsey of Talgarth Liberal Democrat 5:15 pm, 7th October 2002

I shall now comment on the other amendments and I apologise for not doing so earlier. Amendment No. 100 relates to disease prevention in Part B1 on consultation and inserts the words:

"following consultation with the relevant local authority or authorities".

I believe that that is extremely important because we all know that local authorities have a massive part to play in ensuring that a national action plan is effective and that disease is controlled at a local level. I congratulate many local authorities on their activities when they are confronted by such a situation.

Amendment No. 101 relates to management practices. It states:

"The Minister shall make orders—

(a) creating an institute dedicated to the study and analysis of stock management practices."That is important because the management of stock in particular—and certainly in my lifetime—has changed radically. That is one of the findings of the independent reports. It is a good idea to incorporate a best practice and for that to be disseminated among livestock keepers. The encouragement of a health plan for stock, which is arranged with a named private veterinary surgeon, would be a big leap forward in improving practices and in ensuring that we have the situation fully under control, or at least as under control as we can in often difficult circumstances.

Amendment No. 102 classifies the definition of premises considered at risk of disease, subject to affirmation by Parliament. That is a controversial matter at the time of outbreaks of, for example, foot and mouth disease. I am sure that other Members of the Committee will want to make points on that subject.

Finally, Amendment No. 103 refers to reports. It seeks insertions into the 1981 Act. It seeks to elicit the number of established veterinary personnel, which is a vexatious problem. We all know that the State Veterinary Service has seen a massive reduction in veterinary personnel. We could argue about whether they have gone sideways into some other activity. However, I should like to congratulate the State Veterinary Service on its excellent work. I believe that more veterinary personnel in strategic positions in the field would be a good improvement. The amendment refers to measures and practices on conduct to eradicate and prevent disease and risk scenarios. There is also reference to a report to Parliament.

Those are my comments on these amendments. I note that Amendment No. 103A is being taken separately. I beg to move.