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New clause 2 provides another opportunity to offer vaccination as an alternative to slaughter. I welcome the Minister's preferring the principle of vaccinate and live to that of vaccinate and slaughter. As I was thinking about that, my eye caught the painting above your head, Mr. Conway. Given the nature of our debate, it is a shame that the painting is not entitled, ''Elliot inciting the British to prevent the landing of imported meat''. I fear, however, that by the end of our deliberations it should probably be entitled, ''Elliot inciting the British to welcome imports from abroad—and he's drawn his sword just in case there are any animals left in the UK that he can slaughter''.
This is an ideal opportunity to introduce a new clause that would prevent the slaughter that we have witnessed by offering the alternative of vaccination. I recognise that the new clause contains a chink, in that inclusion of the phrase
''any such application shall be granted'' might appear to guarantee the alternative of vaccination to every animal owner in every case. However, the new clause is not unreasonable; it is designed to enable people who love animals to protect their stock and prevent the spread of disease. It would be a positive contribution to the Bill and I hope that it will be welcomed. If we miss this opportunity to encourage vaccination, the legislation will be
retrospective, closing the door after the horse has bolted, rather than adding useful, positive steps for the future.