Animal Health Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:30 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) 7:30 pm, 7th October 2002

That might reduce the requirement but when large-scale movements of sheep on hills are concerned, for instance, there is no way in which we would be able to carry out diagnostic tests in the way the noble Countess suggests. That would in some circumstances restrict the need for a pre-emptive cull but in other circumstances—in which the disease was virtually out of control and we needed to build a barrier to its spread—a pre-emptive cull would be the obvious weapon for us to use. The problem (and the reason why Anderson suggested that we needed to make this explicit in the legislation) is that at times there was an argument about whether the contiguous cull was always justified in terms of exposure. Sometimes the contiguous cull's primary purpose was preventive. That is where Anderson's reference to ambiguity in the current legislation applies. I do not believe that it is quite as ambiguous as he indicated, but he firmly said that we need to clarify that there is a right to engage in preventive culling.