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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of cattle in England without a valid passport.
Data from the cattle tracing system show that there are 37,300 cattle in Great Britain with notices of registration, that is cattle which have been registered but for which a passport has not been issued. This would be as a result of the passport application being submitted late or with incomplete or invalid details that could not be resolved.
In the time available it has not been possible to obtain an exact figure for England only but based on the proportion of the national herd that is resident in England, I estimate that there are 24,000 cattle without a valid passport in England.
There may also be a number of cattle which have never been notified to the central database. 10 per cent. of cattle holdings are inspected annually. From June 2006 to April 2007, 1,500 cattle out of 398,016 inspected were found that had not been registered. However it should be noted that holdings are selected for inspection on a risk basis and this is therefore not a representative sample.
Animals without a valid passport cannot be moved off their current holding and can never enter the human food chain.