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Livestock: Animal Welfare

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 3rd May 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent progress her Department has made in reducing risks to the health of farm animals.

Photo of James Paice James Paice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA's Animal Health and Welfare Strategy places particular emphasis on the prevention of disease. Working closely with farmers, the veterinary profession and others, we are making good progress:

We have successfully eliminated Bluetongue through a well co-ordinated vaccination campaign.

DEFRA conducted a public consultation at the end of 2010 on the Government's approach to tackling bovine tuberculosis (TB) and a badger control policy, which highlighted a number of planned changes to existing cattle measures to ensure that that they are better targeted on the basis of disease risk. We will be announcing a comprehensive and balanced TB eradication programme for England as soon as possible.

We have reviewed the implementation of the Veterinary Surveillance Strategy to ensure that risks and emerging threats are effectively identified and prioritised. We continually monitor and assess the global animal health situation to help inform risk-based controls on imports of animals and animal products.

The way we respond to disease outbreaks is also an important factor in reducing risk. The evaluation report of Exercise Silver Birch, a major national exercise designed to test the Government's ability to deal with a significant outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD), demonstrated the benefits of changes introduced since the 2001 FMD outbreak.

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