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Mr. Pickles: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Ms Quin: I have only two minutes.

2 Feb 2000 : Column 1185

Mr. Pickles: May I make a brief point?

Ms Quin: I give way, but if we run out of time I shall be accused of not addressing the issues in full and I should be sorry about that.

Mr. Pickles: That accusation will not be made by me. The Minister did not mention the age of the animal involved. Does she agree that that is rather important?

Ms Quin: I certainly agree, but the age of an animal is also important in relation to the different types of conditions of transport. We want to ensure that older animals are carried in conditions that are as satisfactory as possible. The Government have been working actively with organisations such as the Humane Slaughter Association precisely to tackle some of those animal welfare issues. Overall, animals travel shorter distances than they did a few years ago. The whole thrust of Government policy on animal transit--not only for

2 Feb 2000 : Column 1186

over-30-month animals, but generally--is going in entirely the right direction and I pay tribute to what my colleagues have done in that respect.

Obviously I recognise that concern has been expressed, but I spoke to farmers before and immediately after Christmas, and more recently, and the number of concerns has dropped dramatically. In many parts of the country, farmers feel that the arrangements are working satisfactorily.

Mr. Pickles: Not in East Anglia.

Ms Quin: Waiting times are an important aspect of the debate. There is no waiting time in East Anglia at present for over-30-month cattle. I am glad of that and it is--

The motion having been made after Ten o'clock, and the debate having continued for half an hour, Mr. Deputy Speaker adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

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