Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 7th October 2002.

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Photo of Lord Whitty Lord Whitty Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 6:15 pm, 7th October 2002

Vaccinated meat which is legally imported into this country has to be subjected to heat treatment. Therefore, that is not the same as saying that all meat can go into the food chain on the same terms. It is not quite the equivalent, although it is certainly true that vaccinated meat is being eaten by British consumers. Vaccination of poultry and other animals is quite frequent. I do not believe British consumers entirely understand that, but nevertheless it is the case. However, imported vaccinated meat would be treated before it could go into our food chain.

I make this diversion because some of the issues are too complex and strategic to be reflected in a fairly narrow Bill. If my suggested amendment on Report is accepted, there will be a requirement on the Government to take these matters into consideration in their contingency plan and to lay that contingency plan before Parliament.

That is as far as I can go on this amendment. I cannot accept it as it stands. I understand what the noble Baroness is driving at but I do not think that it is appropriate for this legislation. I hope that the assurances I have given on the issues that have been raised will be accepted by the noble Baroness. As the issue of vaccination will no doubt be returned to at subsequent stages of the debate, I hope that people will understand exactly what is being said and how the Government are dealing with the recommendations of the various inquiries in relation to vaccination.