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Mr. Straw: In addition to the £220 million announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget, new funding of £50 million will also be made available over the two years, 2002-03 to 2003-04, to accelerate the programme to extend drug testing within the criminal justice system. The initial pilot phase of the programme is due to start in the spring.
Ms Quin: The amount spent by my Department on logos or associated branding since 1 May 1997 is £25,773. Information relating to agencies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what arrangements his Department makes for conducting emergency planning exercises in relation to the possible outbreak of infectious diseases among animals; if such exercises (a) involve liaising with the (i) police and (ii) the armed forces; and are conducted periodically; by what grade of civil servant such exercises are authorised and supervised; if the type of the diseases concerned is specified to the suppliers in the case of materials to be used in connection with a real outbreak; if he will list the emergency planning exercises that have been conducted in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: MAFF regularly holds emergency exercises which may involve liaison with the police, but not the armed forces. Such exercises are generally authorised and supervised by the Divisional Veterinary Manager or regionally, by a Veterinary Head of Service.
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Animal Health Offices are required regularly to update their local contingency plans. This includes contacting potential suppliers of materials and services to be used in the event of an outbreak. The reason for any such inquiry should be explained fully. Detailed information on emergency exercises held over the last two years is not held centrally and can be collected only at disproportionate cost. However, between 1994 and 1999, MAFF carried out 84 separate exercises aimed at planning to control notifiable animal diseases.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when, and in what locations, (a) the epidemic strain of foot and mouth virus associated with the current outbreak and (b) its close relatives have been recorded in previous outbreaks. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: The pandemic serotype O virus (now named the pan-Asian strain) was first isolated in northern India in 1990. Since then it has been found in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and the Arabian peninsula, Nepal Bhutan, the People's Republic of China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Korea, Japan and South Africa.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in relation to the current foot and mouth epidemic, to what level of discrimination the specific epidemic strain of the Pan-Asia O virus has been identified; and what the strain classification is. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 27 March 2001]: Analysis carried out by the Foot and Mouth Reference Laboratory in Pirbright has identified the strain responsible for the current outbreak as FMD virus serotype O. It was identified as the Pan-Asian using nucleotide sequence data obtained for the complete VPI gene. The same strain has been responsible for the outbreaks in different parts of Great Britain, and for those in the Netherlands and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what average time it takes to answer callers to the foot and mouth helplines; and how many callers (a) were disconnected and (b) hung up before their call was answered. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 30 March 2001]: During the period 22 February 2001 to 29 March 2001, 60,979 telephone calls to the foot and mouth disease helpline were answered successfully. The average call answer time was 35 seconds.
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Ms Quin [holding answer 2 April 2001]: This Department is receiving assistance from EU veterinarians, who receive travel and subsistence expenses from this Department but are employed by their respective Governments. We are also liaising with other member states and it is likely that veterinarians from these countries will soon join in the eradication of FMD. The following EU member states have already supplied vets.
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Mr. Morley [holding answer 6 April 2001]: Farmers should, first of all, do everything possible to look after their sheep where they are. We have produced advice to help with the welfare issue. If this is not possible, the sheep may be moved under the available welfare movement schemes. Finally, when all other options have been explored, there is the Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will take steps to speed up the process of slaughtering livestock under the animal welfare scheme for farmers in Lancashire. 
Ms Quin [holding answer 6 April 2001]: The scheme has been slow to start due to the need to secure landfill disposal, as all bar one rendering plant is needed for what must be our top priority, the compulsory cull to control disease. We have arranged extra on-farm slaughters for acute welfare cases and will continue to do so, but cases must be prioritised. I can assure my hon. Friend that we are doing everything we can to speed the movement of livestock to slaughter through this scheme, under which we have now slaughtered over 19,500 animals.
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Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from which organisations he has (a) sought and (b) received advice about animal welfare in respect of the options available to the Government for containing the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 
Mr. Morley: All the major welfare organisations, including the Farm Animal Welfare Council, have offered us advice on welfare aspects of the foot and mouth disease outbreak. I have also held a meeting, at my request, with representatives of the RSPCA, Compassion in World Farming and the Humane Slaughter Association.
Mr. Fabricant: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make arrangements for local veterinary inspectors' expenses arising from the welfare movement and welfare disposal schemes to be paid direct by his Department. 
Mr. Morley: The expenses of LVIs undertaking inspections under the livestock welfare (disposal) scheme are met by the Department. The welfare movement schemes are supported by declarations given by the applicant's private veterinary surgeon.
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the consequential losses made by businesses in Gloucestershire due to (a) foot and mouth disease and (b) the cancelling of the Cheltenham Festival; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley [holding answer 19 March 2001]: The taskforce chaired by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment is considering the economic impact of foot and mouth disease generally, and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is collecting information from all parts of the country. We are aware that the cancellation of the Cheltenham Festival and other sporting events is having very serious consequences for many businesses. The measures announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 20 March are designed to alleviate these effects.
Mr. Gill: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what response he made to the letter from Mr. Lawrence of Ciel Logistics in May 2000 concerning the health risks associated with consignments of bush meat arriving at Heathrow from Africa. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what discussions he has had with Commissioner Byrne and Commissioner Fischler on animal health, in particular the risk from imports from countries with infected animals; 
Ms Quin [holding answers 2 April 2001 and 6 April 2001]: My right hon. Friend the Minister has spoken and written to both Commissioners Byrne and Fischler. In addition, the European Commission's Standing Veterinary
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Committee meets regularly to discuss all animal health matters, including the risk of importing disease from infected animals.
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