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Schedule 2 - Scrapie

Part of Animal Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 4th December 2001.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 5:00 pm, 4th December 2001

Of course it is a legal requirement, but let us imagine that the owner of the flock was not on the farm but was away for some perfectly legitimate reason, and that the house was locked up and the records in the farm office. How could anyone be expected to produce records in that situation? It could not be done. Therefore, technically, the employee might be construed as preventing the inspector from undertaking the duties placed on him. After all, some of the duties include slaughter. The Minister says that any persons assisting the inspector would not be involved in slaughtering. However, they would have to gather up the animals and do other things to assist. They would not have the right to say: ''I am sorry, I do not want to do this,'' for any good reason. They would be drafted into doing it, and if they did not give assistance, they might find themselves in hot water later on. The phrasing of this part of the Bill is completely one-sided and is not proportionate.

As the hon. Member for South-East Cornwall said earlier, at this time the Government should be seeking to work with the farming community. The farming community will support anything that is reasonable, but unreasonable powers are being vested in people about whose qualification for the position we know very little and who will have tremendous powers of entry and slaughter. They will also have powers to dragoon others into assisting them in what some people may consider to be nefarious purposes.