Animal Health Bill

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Mr. Morley: I understand the point made by the hon. Lady. During the outbreak, it was considered that housed cattle were in a more secure position than cattle which were out. The outbreak happened in February and many cattle were still in winter housing. Unfortunately, however, many cattle went down even though they were kept in sheds.

The hon. Lady's point is not unreasonable because, when one takes into account a contiguous cull, there must be a risk assessment and that was, indeed, applied to cattle. Local vets were given discretion to take a decision on whether adequate biosecurity existed in certain areas and whether cattle could be exempted from the contiguous cull. That was introduced during the outbreak.

Mrs. Winterton: That may have been the case as more farmers became aware of what they could do, such as challenge the contiguous cull, but it was not so in the early days when people were bullied into having their herds, particularly dairy herds, slaughtered, and perhaps that should not have taken place. I fully accept that later in the epidemic farmers were more aware of the opportunity to discuss matters before slaughter took place. I therefore accept the Minister's point, but point out that that was not case throughout the epidemic.

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

        Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Illsley, Mr. Eric (Chairman)
Atkins, Charlotte
Bacon, Mr.
Breed, Mr.
Browning, Mrs.
Cunningham, Tony
Drew, Mr.
Edwards, Mr.
Gillan, Mrs.
Hall, Mr. Patrick
Morley, Mr.
Organ, Diana
Owen, Albert
Reed, Mr.
Sutcliffe, Mr.
Wiggin, Mr.
Williams, Mr. Roger
Winterton, Mrs. Ann

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Prepared 22 November 2001