Avian Flu

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Baroness Byford Baroness Byford Shadow Minister (Food & Rural Affairs), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What lessons have been learnt from the recent avian flu outbreak at Bernard Matthews on the way in which the slaughter of such large flocks was undertaken.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming and Food), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming and Food), The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

Culling to control the recent outbreak of H5N1 was carried out in accordance with Defra's revised Contingency Plan for Exotic Animal Diseases, which was laid before Parliament on 13 December 2006. Although the company's own slaughterhouse on an adjacent site was used in this case, it is highly unlikely such a method would be available in the future; however, the department has a number of other options available. As the Secretary of State said on 19 February in his Statement to the House (Hansard col. 29), we are determined to learn any and all lessons following this outbreak. This includes all aspects of the regulatory regime, domestic and international. Consistent with past practice, work is already being done to learn the lessons of this outbreak, and when it is concluded it will be published for public scrutiny.

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