Animal Health Bill

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

Alert me about debates like this

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) 7:15 pm, 7th October 2002

I think that this debate is driven by two misunderstandings, one of which relates to the terms of the current legislation, in relation to which I think I can provide some comfort to noble Lords. The other misunderstanding relates to the intent of the Bill. Given some of the more recent remarks, I think that I will not be able to provide such comfort on that point.

As the Bill stands, the new powers of slaughter could not be used to slaughter non-susceptible animals. The reference to "animals" in the Bill is dependent on the definition in the Animal Health Act 1981, which states that only ruminants and swine can be slaughtered for the purposes of the control of foot and mouth disease. Consequently, all these scares about the susceptibility to slaughter of dogs, horses and even budgerigars and canaries—which have not been mentioned today—