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Schedule 2 - Scrapie

Part of Animal Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 4th December 2001.

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Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 6:30 pm, 4th December 2001

People should not get too worked up about the words ''may'' and ''shall''. The important point is that there is provision to make compensation if it is deemed appropriate; that is spelled out. The priority for scrapie is to breed it out of the UK flock. The high percentage turnover of sheep in any one year makes that possible. However, that does not preclude taking other measures—for example, castration of animals that are not scrapie resistant—as we get to the end of the programme, which is some years away. In such circumstances, there may be a case for compensation. I do not dispute that, and it is recognised in the Bill, which makes provision for compensation if it is appropriate.

If a decision were made that compensation was appropriate, the details would be set out in supplementary regulations. There is a need to retain some flexibility about payment of compensation, and factors such as prevailing market conditions must be taken into account. However, the Bill includes a provision to cover developments under the scrapie relegation plan, and the details are open for negotiation with the industry. I would expect industry representatives to make their case at that time.