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

I have already made two commitments. One was that there would be a published slaughter protocol; the other was that the Secretary of State would have to make clear the reasons for the general strategy in terms of disease control. Both would be public documents, and neither was required during the outbreak of the disease last year. Therefore, with those commitments we should make a considerable advance in terms of transparency.

If the diagnostic tools were universally accepted, one would expect that to feature in a disease protocol. Although substantial advances have been made, there is also an international dimension to this issue in terms of tests which are internationally validated, both in this context and also in the context to which the noble Earl referred earlier distinguishing between vaccinated and diseased animals. However, if the tests were to be totally validated, I should expect that to be reflected in the disease protocol. We have not quite reached that point yet, but it will obviously be a consideration when we draw up the protocol.