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I have considerable sympathy with the aims of the new clause, but it is a prime example of why we should have waited until some of the expert science in the reports was available. We would then have had a real idea of how vaccination can play a part in dealing with future FMD outbreaks.
The new clause has certain deficiencies, and I have a problem with where it says that
''any such application shall be granted'', which farmers could utilise to frustrate and delay. Stopping that happening is one purpose behind the Bill. I do not like some of the Bill's terminology and aims, but I recognise that the Government want to ensure that any future cull is done speedily. I do not, therefore, support the new clause.
This subject, however, needs much fuller discussion, undertaken with the benefit of the knowledge of those who are investigating the matter. It is not only the
farming community but the general public who write to hon. Members who sometimes show confused understanding of what vaccination means and how it can be used. We need a wider debate, which must be led by proper information from scientific and economic sources, while bearing in mind the social background.
The new clause is difficult to support because it says that any farmer can simply apply and ask for such and such to happen. However, the Minister must ensure that when new information is available from inquiries, which I hope will focus on vaccination as an important part of any future disease control mechanism, we have the opportunity to encompass it under legislation. Vaccination must be properly implemented so that it sensibly plays a part in controlling any future outbreak and only the minimum number of animals would need to be slaughtered.