Beef Cattle (Over-30-months Scheme)

Question Time — Scottish executive — Environment and Rural Development – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 9th December 2004.

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Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party 2:00 pm, 9th December 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive when the over-30-months scheme for beef cattle will be ended. (S2O-4423)

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

The Executive has agreed to begin a managed transition from the over-30-months rule to a testing regime. However, the rule will not be changed until a robust testing regime, which satisfies the Food Standards Agency, has been put in place and we have considered the outcome of a further public information and consultation exercise. The cessation of the over-30-months scheme and the format of any successor scheme will be discussed with key stakeholders during the next few months.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

I welcome the minister's answer, but I suspect that many in the industry are looking for a more specific date. Can he tell us when export markets, which have been closed for a long time, will open as a consequence of ending the over-30-months scheme?

Photo of Ross Finnie Ross Finnie Liberal Democrat

I hope to address the matter perhaps even before we get to the final stages of the approval of the testing scheme, but certainly when the scheme has been put in place and we know what we are talking about. At that point, I will not hesitate to take up with the relevant commissioner in Brussels the need to discuss how we unwind the date-based export scheme with a view to ensuring that, as soon as possible after we have lifted the over-30-months ban, we can proceed quickly to lift the export ban.