Animal Health Bill

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

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Photo of The Bishop of Hereford The Bishop of Hereford Bishop 7:15 pm, 7th October 2002

I think that it is generally recognised by everyone who has reflected on what happened last year that we could never again contemplate culling on the scale that took place. It is just intolerable and unacceptable that we could consider such things. I believe that the following phrase in line 12 of the Bill goes to the heart of what is found most objectionable about the Bill in its original form. The Bill states that,

"it is immaterial whether or not".

Such phraseology has a kind of indiscriminate arrogance about it which I believe is extremely offensive.

It is preposterous to suggest that paragraph (d) can stand in relation to that phraseology, so that it would be immaterial whether or not animals have been vaccinated. It cannot possibly be immaterial whether or not they have been vaccinated, particularly as all noble Lords are agreed, I think, that we are moving towards a much wider and much more intelligent use of vaccination.

This particular phrase must be changed. I do not mind by which method it is changed or by whose amendment it is changed. To say that "it is immaterial" is not something that can remain in the Bill. I urge the Minister to accept that this must be changed in some way.