|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the forthcoming strategy for the Lower Severn includes statements on the Environment Agency's responsibility to undertake planned and responsive maintenance on the banks of the River Severn. 
Mr. Morley: I understand the Tidal Severn Strategy has been developed by the Environment Agency in full consultation with stakeholders and that it does include statements on the Agency's responsibilities to undertake planned and responsive maintenance on the banks of the River Severn.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment her Department has made of the impact on the welfare of goats of (a) single tagging and (b) double tagging; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Bradshaw: DEFRA has conducted a six-month field trial in order to identify potential welfare issues when tagging goats. The trial involved double tagging 125 goats with a range of different tag types. This was done to maximise the data available and the trial was not specifically designed to compare the welfare implications of single versus double tagging. In any event, the results of the trial are currently being been analysed.
The Department have also conducted research on best practice in tagging goats within the UK and in other EU member states. The critical success factors appear to be use of an appropriate tag (size, shape, weight, pin length, etc.) for the breed of animal, the correct placement and application of the tag and high standards of hygiene. The environment in which animals are kept is also factor determining retention rates, which have an impact on animal welfare.
Although DEFRA is concerned about the possible welfare impact of the mandatory tagging of goats, my officials have uncovered numerous examples of keepers who have encountered few or no welfare problems when
1 Nov 2005 : Column 883W
tagging their goats. It should also be noted that the application of tattoos, the former favoured method of identifying goats, can also cause welfare problems.
Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how her Department plans to administer European Council regulation (EC) 21/2004, regarding the identification of sheep and goats. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Council Regulation (EC) 21/2004 has been directly applicable within the United Kingdom from 9 July 2005. Domestic legislation to provide for the enforcement of the requirements of 21/2004 will be in place by December.
The UK sought an exemption from the requirement in Council Regulation (EC) 21/2004 for all breeding sheep and goats to be double tagged. This has been granted on a temporary basis up until 30 April 2006. This allows the UK to broadly maintain its existing system.
A leaflet explaining the new rules in brief was sent to all sheep and goat keepers in England on 25 August. I will place a copy of this leaflet in the Library of the House. Full guidance will be sent to all sheep and goat keepers in November and once issued, this too will be made available in the Libraries.
Jim Knight: Price negotiations between producers and processors, or processors and supermarkets are a private commercial matter in which the Government cannot and should not get involved, provided competition rules are respected. The Government are very aware of the challenges facing the industry, of which low prices are one. My noble Friend Lord Bach, is working closely with industry representatives through the Dairy Supply Chain Forum to address some of these issues, such as farm level efficiency and barriers to innovation.
The National Scrapie Plan continues to make good progress. The voluntary Ram Genotyping Scheme is continuing to recruit new members and there has been encouraging progress in improving genotype profiles in participating flocks. We are working to implement the Compulsory Ram Genotyping Scheme during 2006, taking into account the results of a strategic review last year. Targeted action in scrapie affected flocks is continuing in line with the EU rules and we are taking the opportunity of discussions in Brussels of the Commission's TSE Roadmap to press for changes to the scheme.
1 Nov 2005 : Column 884W
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list those of her Department's advisory non-departmental public bodies which the Government are required (a) to consult prior to legislative proposals and (b) to publish their response to advice from. 
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by her Department (a) hold public meetings, (b) conduct public consultation exercises, (c) conduct consultation exercises with outside commercial interests, (d) publish a register of members' interests, (e) publish agendas for meetings and (f) publish the minutes of meetings; and whether it is under a statutory requirement in each case. 
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|