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3 Jun 2003 : Column 108W—continued

Dangerous Dogs

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on further measures the Government will take to prevent attacks on children by dangerous dogs. [115891]

Mr. Morley: Under the Dogs Act 1871 a magistrates court may make an order for the control or destruction of a dog that is dangerous and not kept under proper control. This Act applies everywhere, including in and around a private house. The Dangerous Dogs Acts 1991 and 1997 increased the range of penalties available to the court to deal with offenders whose dog is dangerously out of control in a public place. The Dangerous Dogs Acts have also placed restrictions over the ownership of types of dogs that have the characteristics of a type bred for fighting. I have no plans to introduce additional measures.

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Animal By-products

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial cost her Department has estimated of the impact of the Animal By-Products Regulation on small (a) abattoirs, (b) slaughterhouses and (c) butchers. [114947]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 22 May 2003]: A partial Regulatory Impact Assessment on the Animal By-Products Regulation is in the Library of the House, as part of the consultation on the enforcing Regulations dated 27 January 2003.

It has been estimated that the price that slaughterhouses pay for the disposal of blood could rise from the current £16/tonne to £60–80/tonne. In addition, some slaughterhouses currently dispose of their blood direct to sewer and do not have collection tanks. As many as one third of slaughterhouses may need to install suitable facilities. The cost of complying with the Regulation will, therefore, vary depending on individual circumstances.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her answer, of 14 May, Official Report, column 264W, on the Animal By-products Regulation, (a) what steps her Department has taken to minimize the impact of the Animal By-Products Regulation on small (a) abattoirs, (b) slaughterhouses and (c) butchers; and how the schemes are being deployed within the England Rural Development Programme. [114948]

Mr. Morley: On 1 November 2002 we wrote to all slaughterhouse operators to obtain information on existing blood disposal routes.

Analysis of the responses indicated that a number of red meat slaughterhouses were concerned about the arrangements they would need to put in place to change to methods of disposal permitted under the new regulations. As a result the Department has worked closely with the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) and other industry experts to develop guidance on simple, low cost ways in which slaughterhouses could comply with the new requirements. This guidance was issued on 21 February 2003 to (a) all red meat slaughterhouses and (b) to the trade organisations listed at Annex 1.

In addition the MLC held two open days for slaughterhouse operators on 1 and 5 March to discuss this issue.

Processing and Marketing Grants and Rural Enterprise Scheme funds can be made available from the England Rural Development Programme to assist small and medium slaughterhouse operators to develop the supply of specialist meat products where a regional need has been identified for such assistance and appropriate proposals have been prioritised.

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Bovine Tuberculosis

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on progress in developing a vaccine to counteract tuberculosis in cattle; and if she will publish the report of the Vaccine Scoping Standing Sub-Committee when it is available. [114719]

Mr. Morley: Defra is funding research at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA), Weybridge to produce candidate vaccines and to evaluate these in host species. The candidates include a range of live attenuated vaccines and sub-unit vaccines. Defra is also funding experimental vaccination of cattle with BCG and other vaccine candidates, development of a test to differentiate vaccinated animals from infected animals, and development and testing of vaccines against TB in badgers, in collaboration with University College, Dublin.

The sequencing of the genome of Mycobacterium bovis (announced by Defra in March 2002) represents significant progress in vaccine research, as all genes, proteins, enzymes and antigens present in M. bovis are likely to be identified rapidly in a highly cost-effective manner. This will underpin all future Defra bovine TB research in the development of vaccines and improved diagnostic tests. Defra is funding research at the VLA in this area.

The report of the Vaccine Scoping Standing Sub-Committee will be published in due course.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs why she has not met a CSR target for tuberculosis in cattle. [114887]

Mr. Morley: CSR targets were set in 1998 for the Comprehensive Spending Review Period (CSR). The targets which followed the CSR period are known

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simply as PSA (Public Service Agreement) targets. Defra's PSA is supported by Service Delivery Agreements (SDAs).

SDA 24 commits Defra "to scale up the Tuberculosis (TB) in cattle surveillance programme to recover ground lost as a result of the FMD epidemic, and strengthen TB control in line with EU obligations and agreed GB procedures, by end 2003; and to consider and implement a revised TB control strategy, attracting consensus, in the light of the results of the Krebs trial on TB and badgers by end-2006".

You can find the above in our SDA which can be viewed at http://defraweb/corporate/busplan/sda/sda0306.pdf.

Defra is preparing a comprehensive and sustainable Animal Health and Welfare Strategy. The intention is to revise the relevant PSA and as necessary SDA targets in light of this strategy.

Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many confirmed cases of tuberculosis in cattle there have been in the last five years; and what has been the geographical spread of the disease. [114888]

Mr. Morley: The number of new confirmed bovine TB herd incidents in England, by county from 1998 to 2002 is given in the table.

East Sussex15218
Greater London—East
Greater London—South East
Greater Manchester
Hereford and Worcs11112814552218
Isle of Wight1
Isles of Scilly
North Yorkshire (48)15
North Yorkshire (50)
South Yorkshire1
Tyne and Wear
West Midlands1
West Sussex1
West Yorkshire1


In 2001, the TB testing and control programme was largely suspended due to the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. Since testing resumed in 2002, resources have been concentrated on herds with overdue TB tests which would have had a longer period in which to contract the disease. Also the proportion of high risk herds being tested post-FMD is greater than that prior to the outbreak. As a result, the number of new heard incidents in 2002 is not comparable to that of previous years.

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