Clause 6 - Treatment: power of entry

Part of Animal Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:45 pm on 4 December 2001.

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Photo of Ann Winterton Ann Winterton Conservative, Congleton 6:45, 4 December 2001

Indeed. We have said many times that the way forward is to work with the farming community and rebuild its trust and confidence. The inspector has a job to do, but the option to take as many people as he wants is totally unnecessary. Vast numbers of people turned up on some farms during the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. That is off-putting. It makes people feel even more sensitive in the circumstances, and is neither proportionate nor reasonable.

This modest amendment would limit the number of people in the party that turned up at a farm or premises to 10. Of those 10 people, there would be at least one inspector, one veterinary surgeon, some stockmen, and possibly some policemen in case of trouble. Limiting the number to 10 would more than adequately cover the needs of the inspector in carrying out his duties.

Before I conclude, Mr. Illsley, I would like to thank you and Mr. Conway on behalf of Opposition Members for chairing the Committee so effectively and affably. You have been very tolerant and we are grateful. As I have pointed out to many people, the Chair is a voluntary position and many Chairmen give generously of their time, which we greatly appreciate. I also thank the Clerk for his assistance, and the Doorkeepers and police for ensuring that the Committee could sit without any difficulty.

There are fewer than 10 people in the Room to keep us in order, and therefore a maximum of 10 people would be more than enough to accompany the inspector to a farm. I hope that the Minister will look kindly on this last opportunity to accept the amendment.