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 Lord Carter Lord Carter Labour 7:15 pm, 7th October 2002

The use of the phrase is intended in law to restrict the particular meaning and to ensure that if there are animals outside these four categories—for example, in a firebreak cull—they could still be slaughtered. I am not sure that the phrase has all the meaning that the right reverend Prelate and the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, have given it. I believe that it is there for legal reasons which I am sure that the Minister will explain.

I have two very brief points on Amendment No. 114, which is this business about,

"animals . . . which have been kept indoors constantly since the day before the first announcement by any government department of an outbreak".

We should remind ourselves that the outbreak was in the country for about a month, we think, before it was recognised and announced. Animals that were outside during the time that the disease was in the country, although we did not know it, and moved indoors on the day before the outbreak would still have been susceptible. I therefore think that there is a fatal weakness in the drafting.

The one redeeming feature of the FMD outbreak, as bad as it was, was that it did not spread to any extent to the pig population. If it had done, the results would have been very serious indeed. Almost all pigs are kept indoors.