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 The Earl of Onslow The Earl of Onslow Conservative 7:30 pm, 7th October 2002

Will the noble Lord clarify what we know about diagnostic equipment? So far as I can gather, that equipment was developed in relation to germ warfare. It involves the method whereby someone—or a sheep or cow—breathes on to something, whereupon a computer recognises whether a virus is in the air that is breathed. The test is instantaneous. When that was suggested earlier during the outbreak, people said, "Oh, it has not been tested under field conditions". No one then said, "What a smashing time to test this instrument, when there is a major foot and mouth outbreak", although it could have been extremely useful. These diagnostic tests came as a result of germ warfare.

Moreover, I do not know whether the noble Lord is aware—or even whether I am 100 per cent correct—that at the outbreak of the Gulf War, there was a panic about diagnosing disease-borne attack—