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Lord Geraint: asked Her Majesty's Government: What was the estimated tonnage of illegal meat imported into this country last year and what was the corresponding figure for 1992.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that reply. Can he confirm or deny that the £1 billion=worth of illegal meat entering this country annually contains human flesh?
Lord Geraint: My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that we imported foot and mouth disease into this country last year? This year, we are importing illegal meat from foreign countries. We are also putting more restrictions and regulation on farmers than ever before. Can the Minister tell us what is wrong within his department?
Lord Geraint: My Lords, in my view livestock farmers will never survive unless they have a realistic price for their end product. I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Plumb, agrees with my views. I also thank him for initiating this debate and for his excellent, informative opening speech. I hope that the Minister will now take the necessary action to help our ailing industry. I have been involved with the...
Lord Geraint: asked Her Majesty's Government: What scientific procedures there are to establish that animal meat for human consumption that is labelled organic is truly organic.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am grateful for the Minister's reply which was comprehensive and to the point. However, will he consider introducing legislation to safeguard the interests of consumers when they purchase labelled organic food which is not organic?
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I shall confine my remarks to the production side as I know more about it. I am a farmer and I have been involved in marketing, exporting and importing meat for decades. I honestly believe that consumers will have to pay a great deal more for British-produced lamb, beef and other commodities over the coming 10 years. That is because young farmers are leaving the industry in their...
Lord Geraint: asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether livestock auctions will be reopened this year.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am very grateful to the Minister for his reply. However, does he agree that the public are entitled to a full public inquiry into the foot and mouth epidemic so that consumers and producers may be told the truth? Nothing less will suffice.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, can the Minister confirm that Welsh lamb is the best meat in the world? Does he agree that we should congratulate the Welsh Development Agency on its excellent promotional work in persuading the British housewife and others to buy our produce?
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am very grateful to the Minister for repeating the Statement. Having said that, we all realise that the countryside is in crisis and that the foot and mouth epidemic has been handled extremely badly for weeks. But yesterday, common sense prevailed at last. I hold the Minister in very high esteem. She has done her job well for a long period of time. She has been very helpful to me...
Lord Geraint: asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether they have any plan to introduce legislation prohibiting the purchase of farm produce for less than the cost of production from British farmers.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am sure that the farmers of this country will be very disappointed with that reply. Is the Minister aware that at the moment some supermarkets are paying 50 pence per kilo less for beef than they did a fortnight ago, but, on the other hand, they are charging consumers 40 per cent more for the same meat? That is deplorable. What do the Government intend to do about it?
Lord Geraint: My Lords, can the Minister assure the farmers of this country that the Government will pursue a slaughtering policy? Can the Minister give that assurance to the industry?
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I shall confine my remarks to agriculture. I am really surprised that there is no mention of the common agricultural policy or any other agricultural issues in this year's Queen's Speech. I wonder why that is. Is it because British agriculture is now heading for the worst financial crisis since the war and the Government are still not willing to listen to the producers' plea for...
Lord Geraint: asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether the state of the sheep industry is satisfactory.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that reply, but is she aware that it is estimated that farmers' incomes this year are dropping by £50 per week? Unless the Government lift the ban on sending our mutton carcasses to Europe within the next few months, we are in for a bad period in the autumn when sheep farmers will be selling their produce.
Lord Geraint: asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether the present state of the dairy industry in Britain is satisfactory.
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I am sure that the Minister is well aware that dairy farmers in this country receive less for their milk than any other producer within the EU. She will be further aware that milk prices in this country will go down as low as 7p per pint to the producer and we, the consumers, will pay anything up to 40p for that same pint of milk. Will the noble Baroness admit that that is either...
Lord Geraint: My Lords, I wonder whether on St David's Day the noble Baroness will announce to the people of Wales that on every St David's Day from now on we shall have a national holiday.