Previous Section Home Page

Column 847

Mr. Kevin Alfred Shaw

Mrs. Mary Ross Shephard MBE

Mr. John Anthony Siggs

Mr. Basil J. Silver

Mr. John Desmond Spence

Mrs. Susanne Hilary Spence

Councillor Mrs. Elizabeth Eleanor Still JP BA MPhil

Mr. Peter Henry Thompson

Mr. Thoman Anthony Twigg

Mr. Charles W. Wharton

Mrs. Sheila Kathleen Wormleighton

Mr. John Barrett Wright


Mr. Tipping : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the hon. Member for Sherwood may expect a reply to his letters dated 16 December 1993 and 16 January 1994.

Mr. Jack : My right hon. Friend replied to the hon. Member's letters on 11 February 1994.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food who is responsible for ensuring the welfare provisions of animals being transported across the EC for slaughter are adhered to.

Mr. Soames : Directive 91/628/EEC on the protection of animals during transport requires each member state to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directive.

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of agriculture, Fisheries and Food what instructions are given to her veterinary department for checking that (i) journey times for farm animals to be exported from the United Kingdom are properly completed, (ii) that such animals are fit to travel and (iii) animals being exported for slaughter in Spain are being sent to abbattoris which comply with the EU directive requiring animals to be stunned before slaughter ; how many times since 1 January 1993 her veterinary department has failed to follow these instructions ; and what steps she has taken to ensure that future failures will be avoided.

Mr. Soames : All farm animals sent to another member state are inspected for fitness to travel by a veterinary surgeon appointed by the Government. For journeys likely to take more than 15 hours the exporter is required to submit to the Department in writing the arrangements which have been made to rest, feed and water the animals.

The Government lifted the restrictions on exports to Spain in January 1993 after an agreement had been reached with the Spanish authorities to send animals only to those abattoirs which they have confirmed to be applying Community welfare rules. In December the Government agreed further safeguards with the Spanish authorities. Details of all consignments are sent to Spain so the authorities may check that animals arrive at the destinations declared by British exporters. No consignments of animals have been sent to Spain for slaughter this year.

On two occasions last year consignments were exported where the agreed procedures, to ensure that the slaughterhouses of destination were on the approved list, were not followed. This was due to a regrettable error. The procedures for authorising all export journeys have been reviewed and fresh instructions have been issued to the state veterinary service.

Column 848

Pig Meat

Mr. Mills : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what action she is taking in her communications with the European Commission to prevent the subsidies given by certain EC member countries on the production of pig meat ; and if she will make a statement ;

(2) what representations she has received about the difficulties being experienced by United Kingdom pig producers due to the dumping of exported pig meat by France, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

Mr. Jack : We have received representations from hon. Members on behalf of constituents and from individual pig producers and their representative bodies. I will shortly be meeting the British Pig Association. They are all concerned about the state of the European Community pigmeat market and allegations of illegal national aids in some member states.

The current low prices are caused by high levels of supply on the pigmeat market resulting from industry expansion in most member states, including the United Kingdom. Prices are low throughout the single market.

Although there are rumours of illegal aids to pig producers in other member states, we only have firm evidence in respect of a scheme in France. My right hon. Friend has written to the European Commission twice urging that an early decision be made on the legal status of this aid in accordance with article 93 of the treaty and that the appropriate action then be taken. She has also twice raised the matter in the Council of Ministers and the United Kingdom delegation has raised it at every pigmeat management committee from September.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research her Department has commissioned into the correlation between the incidence of BSE and the use of organophosphorous pesticides.

Mr. Soames : When BSE was first indentified in 1986 a detailed epidemiological investigation was carried out to identify possible sources of the disease. This included an examination of any possible correlation betweeen BSE and exposure of cattle to organophophorus compounds but it was concluded, on the basis of those studies, that there was no such correlation and that the only positive correlation to be found was in relation to animal feed which contained ruminant protein. This resulted in the ban on the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants in July 1988 which has now resulted in a marked decline in the incidence of the disease in younger animals and an overall 15 per cent. decline in the number of cases reported compared with the same period last year.

In January scientists from the Department, the Department of Health and the Agriculture and Food Research Council met Mr. Purdey to consider his views on the role of organophosphorus in the origins of the BSE epidemic and had a full discussion with him on the evidence that he put forward. Although it was agreed to consider some of the points covered in more detail, no formal research has been commissioned as a result of that very recent meeting.

Mr. Hinchliffe : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many suspected cases of BSE

Column 849

were placed under restriction by a Ministry veterinarian in respect of which the restrictions were subsequently cancelled by another Ministry veterinarian, for each month, from February 1992 to November 1993 ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Soames : The numbers of suspect cases of BSE in Great Britain which were placed under restrictions by Ministry veterinary officers, and from which restrictions were subsequently removed, from February 1992 to November 1993 are as follows :

Month of report |Number                         


February 1992   |127                            

March 1992      |146                            

April 1992      |145                            

May 1992        |153                            

June 1992       |159                            

July 1992       |125                            

August 1992     |143                            

September 1992  |173                            

October 1992    |142                            

November 1992   |119                            

December 1992   |146                            

January 1993    |118                            

February 1993   |142                            

March 1993      |202                            

April 1993      |197                            

May 1993        |181                            

June 1993       |144                            

July 1993       |128                            

August 1993     |148                            

September 1993  |153                            

October 1993    |136                            

November 1993   |133                            

The information as to whether restrictions were lifted by a different Ministry veterinary officer to the one by whom they were served could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The annual fluctuations in the rate at which restrictions are lifted reflect farm management practices which precipitate the onset of diseases with some clinical signs that are similar to those of BSE, but where treatment results in recovery.

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many cattle have died or been destroyed as a result of BSE since 1990.

Mr. Soames : From 1991 to 1993 inclusive, 111,878 cattle have been slaughtered in Great Britain because BSE was suspected. In the same period 963 cattle in which BSE was suspected died while under restrictions or between report to the Ministry and examination by a veterinary officer.

Farm Animals (Export)

Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farm animals were exported from the United Kingdom in 1993 (a) for slaughter and (b) for further fattening.

Mr. Soames : Because of delays following the introduction of the Intrastat system details of the total numbers of live animals exported in 1993 are not yet available. It is not possible to say when they will become available, but when they do I shall write to the hon. Member.


Mr. Morley : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures she is taking to ensure uniformity of treatment between British and French fishermen in the current market.

Column 850

Mr. Jack : I set out in a previous reply on 14 February at col. 586 the steps that I and my hon. Friend have taken to help our fishermen and exporters maintain their access to the French market in the face of the disgraceful intimidation to which they have been subjected. I look to the European Commission to scrutinise the compatibility of the French government's new aid package with the rules on state aids.


Mr. Simon Hughes : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many different species of whales currently exist ; and what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the measures available to protect them.

Mr. Jack : There are at least 78 species of cetaceans currently in existence, of which 12 are commonly referred to as "great" whales. Under European Community legislation there is a de facto ban on commercial whaling within the Community. Globally, responsibility for the conservation of whales rests with the International Whaling Commission where the United Kingdom works actively to secure effective measures for the conservation and protection of all whale species and strongly supports the current moratorium on commercial whaling.

Banana Producers

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make it her policy to negotiate a transferable banana quota for the Windward Islands.

Mr. Jack : We have already pressed the Commission on the need for a transferable banana quota for the Windward Islands. This is not, however, provided for in the Council regulation establishing the EC bananas regime. If changes in that regulation become necessary we shall continue to seek quota transferability between the Windward Islands.

Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will press for the implementation of the guarantees enshrined in protocol IV, of Lome IV for the banana producers of the Caribbean.

Mr. Jack : The EC bananas regime negotiated under the United Kingdom presidency already ensures access for imports of bananas from the Caribbean and from other African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) producers into the Community in accordance with the provisions of the Lome convention.

Organic Farming

Mrs. Bridget Prentice : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when she last met representatives of the organic farming lobby to discuss the implementation of the organic aid scheme in England.

Mr. Jack : My right hon. Friend last met representatives of the organic farming movement on 15 November 1993. It was agreed that there should be further discussions with officials and another ministerial meeting in the spring concentrating on the role of organic farming in relation to reform of the European Community's common agricultural policy.

Column 851

Sea Mammal Research Unit (Guidelines)

Mr. Ainger : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when her Department received from the Department of the Environment draft guidelines prepared by the sea mammal research unit on precautions to minimise acoustic disturbance to small cetaceans ; which bodies or organisations it has consulted or asked to comment on the guidelines ; and what plans she has to consult non-governmental bodies on the guidelines.

Mr. Jack : A preliminary draft of the guidelines was made available to MAFF officials on 13 December 1993. A working party established by the Department of the Environment is currently preparing a further draft which will be discussed by other Government Departments with an interest in seismic testing and the agreement on the conservation of small cetaceans of the Baltic and North sea. At that stage, as the Minister for the Environment and Countryside explained to the hon. Member on 28 January at column 341, a decision will be taken on whether to consult more widely.

State Veterinary Service

Mr. Etherington : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will place in the Library a copy of the Lebrecht report on the State Veterinary Service.

Mr. Soames : The Lebrecht review of the department's animal health and veterinary group, which includes the state veterinary service, is concerned with its management, and it is not appropriate to publish its recommendations. However, staff and other interested parties will be consulted about any consequential changes my right hon. Friend is minded to make.

Poland (Spirits Quotas)

Mr. Sims : To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans she has to raise with the Polish Government their application of high tariff levels and restrictive quotas on imported spirits.

Mr. Needham : I have been asked to reply.

My Department has a close working relationship with the drinks industry both through its trade associations and through many individual producers. The question of high tariff levels on certain spirits imported into Poland has been a concern of the

industry--particularly Scotch whisky producers--for some time and it is an issue which we have raised with the Polish government on a number of occasions in the past. The issue of restrictive quotas is a relatively new one and my Department has asked the European Commission to take this up in the context of the EC/Poland association agreement. My Department will continue to give its full support to the industry in its representations to the Polish administration.


Central Services Agency

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who are the members currently appointed to the Northern Ireland Central Services Agency.

Mr. Ancram : The current members of the Central Services Agency are as follows :

Column 852

Chairman :

J. G. Hunter

Non-Executive Members :

Mrs. A. Curran

J. A. Doris

T. J. Frawley

Mrs. S. Hillen

P. G. Kinder

Dr. M. P. J. Kilbane

P. B. Linehan

D. D. Smyth

Dr. J. Wilson

Health and Social Services Councils

Mr. Kilfoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland who are the members currently appointed to each of the health and social services councils.

Mr. Ancram : The current members of each of the four health and social services councils are as follows :

Eastern Health and Social Services Council--

Chairman :

Mr. P. Stout

Members :

Councillor Rev. W. J. Beattie

Councillor D. Browne

Mrs. Alderman B. M. Chambers

Councillor R. Cleland

Councillor D. Dow

Councillor Mrs. D. E. Field

Councillor K. McCarthy

Councillor G. Morrison

Councilor J. Ritchie

Councillor J. Rodgers

Councillor H. Smith

Councillor R. T. Stewart

Mrs. M. G. Bennett

Rev. W. S. Callaghan

Mr. C. Common

Ms M. E. Connolly

Mrs. D. M. Copeland

Mrs. M. Horner

Mr. J. J. Mallon

Ms C. M. McCavana

Mrs. M. McMullan

Mr. B. O'Reilly

Mr. M. Piggot

Mr. E. P. Rafferty

Mrs. E. A. Rea

Dr. M. Swallow

Mrs. E. Thompson

Mr. M. B. Weir

Miss M. Wilson

Northern Health and Social Services Council--

Chairman :

Mr. R. Pinkerton

Members :

Mrs. Alderman P. E. A. Armitage

Councillor A. F. Beggs

Councillor Mrs. J. M. I. Drummond

Councillor D. Haughey

Mr. Alderman S. C. Henry

Councillor D. Hollis

Councillor R. F. Kerr

Councillor W. J. Logan

Councillor S. D. McClelland

Councillor P. H. McErlean

Mrs. M. Dodds

Mr. J. A. Dougherty

Mr. H. Ewing

Mr. D. Francis

Miss M. H. Gilmore

Mrs. M. McCollum

Mr. J. McA. Pollock

Mrs. P. M. Probst

Mr. A. Reynolds

Next Section

  Home Page