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 Colin Breed Colin Breed Liberal Democrat, South East Cornwall 6:45, 4 December 2001

The amendment is another attempt to remove some words from the Bill. Of course, if the Department were prepared to remove everything that we wanted it to, the Bill would probably be only one page long. The power that we are debating may not be used at all; I know that the Minister will say that he just wants to have that power. However, with regard to the circumstances that are described in this part, the part on scrapie and so on, we need to tease out the differences and establish the position.

One real problem with the Bill relates to the fact that we are talking about three clearly different circumstances. In an emergency situation, it is perhaps—I say only perhaps—right to consider using reasonable force, but we should not make it a general power. Again, these words and powers, even if they are not used, give entirely the wrong impression to people whom we want to co-operate. In fact, active co-operation and participation will be essential, whether to tackle the spread of foot and mouth, to conduct tests and take samples, or to eradicate scrapie. All that will involve co-operation from the farming community.

Holding the threat of reasonable force, if necessary, like a sword of Damocles over the heads of people in that community does not create the right atmosphere in which to seek a co-operative approach. In accordance with amendments Nos. 110 and 107, I should like to see those words removed.