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Bush Meat

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food from whom he has received representations on the importation of bush meat in personal luggage in the last three years; and what response he has made. [153358]

Mr. Nick Brown: MAFF has received representations from both the general public and trade sources from time to time over the last three years on the importation of meat. In some cases this referred to "wild game" meat which we take to include bush meat although there is no working definition of the latter term. Where we were asked for advice, we provided information about the UK's import requirements for all kinds of meat. Where we have been advised of the possibility of illegal imports of meat, the relevant enforcement authorities have been advised and the appropriate action taken. Where illegal meat has been identified it is seized and destroyed.

Anthrax (South Africa)

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if Her Majesty's Government have been informed by the South African Government of the recent outbreak of anthrax in South Africa as required under the International Animal Health Code. [153370]

Mr. Nick Brown: Yes.

Meat and Dairy Imports

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list those countries from which meat and dairy products cannot be legally imported into the United Kingdom and the reasons in each case. [154430]

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Ms Quin: All meat and dairy products imported into the UK, whether from other EU member states or third countries, must have been produced in accordance with Community legislation, which lays down animal and public health conditions. Imports are accepted only from third countries and establishments, which meet those requirements and are approved to export into the Community. The list of countries and establishments allowed importing into the community and the products concerned are available on the Commission's website at the following address: sanco/vets/info/data/listes/table0.html

These lists are quite long and are subject to change by the European Commission. Countries may also be listed but have no approved establishments in which case they cannot export into the Community.

Ensuring that member states comply with the obligations in properly implementing and applying the rules is the responsibility of the European Commission, whose Food and Veterinary Office carries out regular programmes of inspection visits to all member states. Responsibility for ensuring that third countries meet these four requirements lies with the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission. The UK will prohibit the importation of animal products that do not meet Community standards.

Meat and Livestock Imports

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what the (a) volume and (b) value was of seizures of illegal meat and livestock imports into Britain in each of the last 10 years; [157035]

Ms Quin: This information is not held centrally.

Meat Inspection

Dr. Whitehead: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will place a copy in the Library of advice he has issued to port health authorities about their actions in respect of inspection of goods possibly containing smuggled meat products. [156970]

Ms Quin: The responsibility for the day-to-day enforcement of the relevant legislation, the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1996 falls to the local authority. This responsibility extends to carrying out routine inspections of manifests and other sources of information in an effort to identify all animal products and ensure they are checked. On 5 April 2001 the Food Standards Agency in consultation with MAFF, issued guidance to Heads of Environmental Health Services and Chief Port Health Officers, copies of which I am placing in the Library.

Livestock Industry

Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the date of each EU meeting he has attended at which the future of the British livestock industry was discussed; what EU (a) draft and (b) other (i) plans, (ii) proposals and (iii) discussion

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papers relating to (1) the future of the British livestock industry and (2) an arable-only option for English farming he has been informed of; and if he will make a statement. [157047]

Ms Quin [holding answer 5 April 2001]: Between July 1998 and April 2001, the Minister and/or I attended 17 meetings of the EU Agriculture Council at which matters affecting he British livestock industry were discussed. In addition, the Minister has attended six informal meetings of the Agriculture Council and I have attended one. These are a forum for discussion on the future direction of EU agri-food policy, based on a Presidency paper. The dates of these meetings, both formal and informal, are set out at Annex A. The outcome of each Council is formally reported to the House.

The most significant set of proposals to date has been the Agenda 2000 proposals on reform of the Common Agricultural Policy. First discussed at the Agriculture Council in March 1998, these were refined and finalised in March 1999. The package included reductions to the

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level of market support to the arable, beef and dairy regimes, and the establishment of a single, integrated legal framework for farm-related rural development and agri-environment measures (the Rural Development Regulation).

Other proposals likely to impact on the livestock industry are:

All proposals for EU legislation are subject to ministerial and parliamentary scrutiny before they are adopted.

The Government are not aware of any proposals for an arable-only future for the British farming industry.

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Annex A: Meetings attended by Minister at which matters affecting British livestock industry were discussed

Date of meetingForum
20-22 September 1998Informal Agriculture Council--Austrian Presidency paper: Farming in harmony with nature, agricultural perspectives for rural areas
28 September 1998Agriculture Council
19-20 October 1998Agriculture Council
23-24 November 1998Agriculture Council
14-15 December 1998Agriculture Council
18-19 January 1999Agriculture Council
22-23 February 1999Agriculture Council
4-5 and 9-11 March 1999Agriculture Council
31 May-1 June 1999Informal Agriculture Council--German Presidency paper: Sustainable rural development agricultural structure policy for rural areas
19 July 1999Agriculture Council
13-14 September 1999Informal Agriculture Council--Finnish Presidency paper: Agriculture and the new WTO round of negotiations
15-16 November 1999Agriculture Council
14-15 December 1999Agriculture Council
24 January 2000Agriculture Council
20-21 March 2000Agriculture Council
17-18 April 2000Agriculture Council
29-30 May 2000Informal Agriculture Council--Portuguese Presidency paper: Quality in diversity: a challenge for EU agriculture
19 June 2000Agriculture Council
17 July 2000Agriculture Council
21 November 2000Agriculture Council
4 December 2000Agriculture Council
19-20 December 2000Agriculture Council
29 January 2001Agriculture Council
26-27 February 2001Agriculture Council
19-20 March 2001Agriculture Council
24-25 April 2001Agriculture Council

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Lancashire Meat Trade

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the value to the Lancashire meat trade of the licensed movement to slaughter scheme. [157991]

Ms Quin [holding answer 10 May 2001]: We have been able to allow movement to slaughter under licence so that the risk of the spread of foot and mouth disease is reduced as far as possible. This has enabled the meat trade to resume operations but no estimate of the value of this to the Lancashire meat trade has been made.

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Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to fund schemes for mature students to study veterinary medicine. [160713]

Ms Quin: There are no plans to make funds available for schemes to assist mature students in the study of veterinary medicine.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what hourly payment rate has been agreed for veterinary surgeons engaged to deal with the foot and mouth problem; how many hours on average each vet has worked; how many vets have been detailed

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to work specifically on foot and mouth since the outbreak began; and which budget is being used to pay the additional vets' charges [160678]

Ms Quin: The temporary veterinary inspectors appointed to assist with foot and mouth disease work are paid a flat rate of £250 per day. The total number of veterinary surgeons who have been engaged by MAFF to deal with foot and mouth disease since the outbreak began is 1971. The average number of hours spent by vets specifically employed on foot and mouth is not available centrally.

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