Mr. MacKay: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many animals have been slaughtered, broken down by region, as a result of the welfare slaughter programme. 
Mr. Morley: The Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme was opened on 22 March 2001, to deal with severe welfare problems arising from the foot and mouth disease movement restrictions that cannot be dealt with by any other means. As at 21 November, the Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme had slaughtered and made payment on a total of 1,625,652 animals since it opened. Of these, 945,554 came from England (58.2 per cent.), 108,748 came from Scotland (6.7 per cent.) and 571,350 came from Wales (35.1 per cent.). The Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme does not operate in Northern Ireland.
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54,002 animals in the east midlands (which is 5.7 per cent. of the England total and 3.3 per cent. of the GB total)
61,542 animals in the north-east (6.5 per cent. of the England total and 3.8 per cent. of the GB total)
107,176 animals in the north-west (which is 11.3 per cent. of the England total and 6.6 per cent. of the GB total)
58,854 animals in the south-east (which is 6.2 per cent. of the England total and 3.6 per cent. of the GB total)
252,921 in the south-west (which is 26.8 per cent. of the England total and 15.6 per cent. of the GB total)
229,672 animals in the west midlands (which is 24.3 per cent. of the England total and 14.1 per cent. of the GB total)
131,434 in Yorkshire and the Humber (which is 13.9 per cent. of the England total and 8.1 per cent. of the GB total)
82 animals in Greater London (which is 0.1 per cent. of the England total and less than 0.1 per cent of the GB total).
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 16 November 2001]: We are reviewing the hedgerows protection system, including the Hedgerows Regulations 1997, in the light of developments such as the results of the Countryside Survey 2000 and the recommendations of the group responsible for the review of the regulations. We are holding meetings with stakeholders and expect to issue a consultation paper on our proposals early next year.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) (a) for what reasons and (b) on what date her Department introduced new rules regulating the issuing of movement licences by trading standards officers for cattle direct to slaughter for human consumption; if she will list the administrative changes introduced; and what steps her Department took to inform (i) farmers and (ii) the agriculture industry of the administrative changes prior to their introduction; 
Mr. Morley: The latest revision of the rules for the movement of foot and mouth disease susceptible livestock to slaughter was introduced on 11 November. The changes brought the rules of movement to slaughter into line with those of other livestock movements.
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The rules for movements from farm to farm where the animals stay alive, and pose a higher risk of disease spreading, require the animal to be identified and, in the case of cattle, ear tag numbers to be recorded. The information is vital for effective enforcement of the licensing regime. This requirement was replicated in the movement to slaughter rules introduced on 8 November. But it was quickly realised that the requirement was not always necessary and it was corrected in the revision published on 11 November.
Interested parties are consulted about the harmonisation of the rules for movement to slaughter with those for movement to stay alive and supported it. The simplification made on 11 November was in response to further representations. The question of whether cattle ear tag numbers should be required for movement to slaughter, is now left to the local authorities, from whose area the movement is to take place, to decide.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to fund Professor Ebringer's research into the auto-immune theory of BSE beyond 31 December. 
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 23 November 2001]: My Department has already contributed significant funding towards Professor Ebringer's research. Currently, there are no plans to provide further support to this work once the present studies have concluded.
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 23 November 2001]: Despite the pressures of dealing with foot and mouth disease and the current industrial action being taken by Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members in the Department, the morale of staff within the Department is good. Staff in DEFRA are committed to delivering high quality services to the public.
Margaret Beckett [holding answer 23 November 2001]: There are 9,079 ex-MAFF staff in DEFRA who are employed under the same pay arrangements and conditions of employment. Variations in individual levels of pay of staff doing work of equal value do occur because of a number of factors, but principally because pay is linked to performance. Staff of the same grade or equivalent, however, are normally paid salaries within their pay range minima and maxima.
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conditions of employment of their former department until common terms and conditions of employment are established following negotiations with the trade unions.
Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of the total value of the retail organic market comprised UK farmgate sales in the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Morley: The most recent data available indicate that in 200001 the retail market for organic produce was worth around £800 million. Around 30 per cent. of the retail market was supplied by domestic production. Farmgate returns to UK organic producers over the same period are estimated to have been a little in excess of £100 million.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in how many cases in each of the last three years food imports have been (a) impounded and (b) destroyed; what type of foodstuff was involved; what the point of entry was; and what the resultant legal or other outcomes were. 
Figures breaking down rejected consignments by port and product are available only for the period July 2000 to June 2001. Information in this format is not available for previous years. Details of the number of consignments by product rejected at UK ports have been provided for the period July 1998 to June 2001. Information on illegal imports seized is available from April 2001; information is not held centrally prior to that date. Rejected and seized consignments are either destroyed or re-exported outside of the EU. Information on the outcome of each rejected or seized consignment is not held centrally.
Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will extend the deadline for the Electricity for Enterprise grant scheme for those areas affected by foot and mouth disease which has prevented work going ahead. 
Alun Michael: The Government have been negotiating with the European Commission for an extension to the Objective 5b programme since the outbreak of foot and mouth. If our request is granted this would enable the completion of projects such as 'Electricity for Enterprise'. We are hopeful that a favourable decision will be forthcoming shortly.