Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 7th October 2002.

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Photo of Earl Peel Earl Peel Conservative 6:45 pm, 7th October 2002

I think that I support the principles behind the amendment. The effective control of disease must clearly be the principal objective of both the Minister and his officials, while at the same time minimising slaughter wherever possible. As I said earlier, there seems to be one major defect in the Bill; namely, that if and when—I am still not sure whether we have reached that point—an effective means of detection is put in place, it seems essential that it must be implemented before slaughter takes place. Surely that is the only fair way to deal with the situation. It would give everyone in the industry that much more confidence if it were obligatory for such tests to be put in place.

I am not entirely sure that the amendment before the Committee would actually go some way towards delivering that aim. Perhaps my noble friend will be able to advise me in that respect. However, if it would go some way towards achieving that objective, I should certainly welcome it. I shall be interested to hear the Minister's view as to whether or not he thinks it would be appropriate to have an amendment in the Bill that would trigger the use of any technique that is able to detect disease quickly and effectively without deterring the Minister and his department in their ability to slaughter when it is thought necessary to do so.