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There has been no assessment of current bio-security on poultry farms. However, the Government are working with the poultry industry to ensure that
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biosecurity practices are consistent and to the required standard. Defra has distributed guidance materials on avian influenza to a range of industry groupsincluding the British Poultry Council, the British Egg Industry Council and the National Farmers Unionwho are helping to distribute this material to their members, who cover the majority of birds. A simple one- page leaflet on biosecurity and surveillance for smaller concerns and back yard keepers has also been produced and is being distributed widely including to all veterinary practices and placed in trade and specialist press targeting the same audience. All this information is available on my Department's website.
Mr. Bradshaw: Licences for quarantine premises do not specify the maximum capacity of the centre or facility. This is due to the fact that the capacity of a quarantine premises will vary depending on the type and size of the birds and the behavioural characteristics of different species. Certain species enjoy 'clumping' in dense groups, whereas other species are uncomfortable in close proximity to each other. Judgments about the welfare of the birds in quarantine will be a matter for clinical and professional veterinary judgment.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effects of using ring-vaccination of poultry to combat an outbreak of avian influenza. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Our experience has been that with early reporting of suspect disease, swift action to humanely slaughter infected flocks/movement controls and good biosecurity on the part of keepers, the disease can be quickly contained and eliminated without recourse to vaccination.
However Defra will continue to explore the situation regarding vaccination. Should there be advances in vaccination technologyparticularly improving its effectivenessthen this would of course need to be taken into account.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to her oral statement of 26 October 2005, Official Report, column 312, on avian influenza, whether smuggling birds to avoid quarantine requirements comes within her definition of offences related to the keeping of birds. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The import of captive birds into the EU from third countries must comply with the rules set out in Commission Decision 2000/666/EC. Smuggling of captive birds is an offence under the Animal Health Act 1981 and the Importation of Birds, Poultry and Hatching Eggs Order 1979.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the clade type was of the H5N1 isolate recovered from (a) the parrot/mesia pooled sample and (b) the mesia-only
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sample in Essex; and whether each clade type was within the same sub-grouping associated with the disease in humans. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The H5N1 isolates from the pooled parrot/mesia sample and from the mesia only samples may be classified as clade 2 by some authorities. While the Department uses advance molecular techniques to determine the linage and, by inference, the origin of avian influenza viruses, the classification by clade is unhelpful when considering the potential these viruses may have for human infection. On a precautionary principle any isolate of highly pathogenic Avian influenza should be considered as having a potential to infect man and appropriate precautions should be taken in every case.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether eggs would be destroyed as part of the measures to deal with an outbreak of Avian influenza; and what assessment has been made of the likely impact on (a) pharmaceutical and (b) other industries of reduced availability of eggs as a result of Avian influenza. 
Egg movements in areas subject to movement restrictions should continue to move under licence and subject to biosecurity controls. We do not therefore envisage a significant impact on industries using eggs or the supply of table eggs as a result of an outbreak of Avian influenza.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from what countries mesia species are imported into the UK; and what measures her Department has taken to ascertain the source of the mesias sampled at the quarantine facility in Essex, in whose samples the Avian influenza virus H5N1 was isolated. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The EU-wide computer system used to record imports of animals and their products, known as TRACES, gives all captive birds the same code and therefore it is not possible to specifically identify consignments of mesia species.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the (a) significance, and (b) implications of the inconsistency in recorded numbers of the mesia birds batch in which avian influenza was identified, for the effectiveness of the import and quarantine system. 
Where there are relatively large consignments of small birds it can be difficult to count the numbers exactly. This means that sometimes small inconsistencies occur. An independent review has been set up to look at avian influenza quarantine procedures and a report on their effectiveness is expected in early December.
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Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's contingency plan in case of an outbreak of avian influenza. 
Mr. Bradshaw: The Government have in place an Exotic Animal Disease Generic Contingency Plan, which includes a section dealing specifically with an outbreak of avian influenza. A copy of the contingency plan can be found on the DEFRA website.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 28 November 2005, Official Report, column 7W, on avian influenza, what funding is available from her Department in the event of an avian influenza outbreak. 
The Department is planning to spend over £8 million to enhance preparedness for avian flu in
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the current financial year. However in the event of an outbreak, the Department will need to assess the financial impact and if deemed necessary, will put forward proposals to the Treasury to consider additional funding from the contingency reserve.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the impact on beef products in England of the import of South American beef products. 
Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 14 November 2005]: Imports of beef and beef products from South America into the UK for 2003August 2005 are shown in the following table. Imports into England are not separately available. The final row in the table shows that these represented 29 per cent. (by value) of total beef and beef product imports into the UK for the period January to August 2005.
| 2003|| 2004||January to August 2005|
|Prepared or preserved||Brazil||57,616||53,541||72,984||58,677||57,097||42,703|
|Fresh or chilled||Brazil||31,629||12,568||34,293||13,854||29,357||11,895|
|Salted, in brine, dried or smoked||Brazil|||||||||||||
|South America total||160,519||111,858||192,846||121,321||158,727||92,601|
|Percentage of total UK imports||22||27||24||28||29||33|
Mr. Bradshaw: Once the EU embargo is lifted for beef from UK cattle born after July 1996 we will look to trading partners outside the EU to remove their restrictions on our beef exports in line with international OIE guidelines. Officials are in contact with their opposite numbers in the US to explore the best way to proceed on this issue.
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