Barry Gardiner: The Department came into being in June 2001. From information held centrally, the top 10 management and business consultancy fees charged to the Department since financial year 2002-03 are as follows:
|2006-07 (April 2006 to September 2006)
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many value for money exercises on the use of (a) management consultants and (b) professional advisers have been conducted by his Department in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: Public procurement policy and practice requires all contracts to be let against the criterion of value for money. Each client commissioning management consultants and professional advisers is required to comply with this policy and practice. Separately, the Department is undertaking a root and branch review of its expenditure on consultancy and professional services and, as part of this work, is considering the NAO study on the public sectors use of consultants published recently. As part of this study, publicly available, the NAO worked with MORI to carry out a survey of public sector consultancy expenditure based on information from Departments, including DEFRA.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his Department's expenditure was on foreign travel, including accommodation, in 2005-06; and what his predecessor Department's expenditure on foreign travel, including accommodation, was in 1996-97. 
Barry Gardiner: Defra came into being in June 2001. Information on its predecessor Department's expenditure on foreign travel including accommodation could be provided only at disproportionate cost. From information held centrally, the Department's expenditure on foreign travel and accommodation in 2005-06 is as follows for the core-Department:
Since 1999, the Government have published an annual list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during each financial year. Copies of these lists are available in the Library of the House. Information on the number of officials accompanying Ministers on overseas visits is included in the list. All Ministers' travel arrangements are in accordance with the arrangements for official travel set out in chapter 10 of the Ministerial Code, and the accompanying guidance document Travel by Ministers.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance he has issued on the meaning of the term professional dog breeder in relation to EC Council Regulations 1/2005. 
Mr. Bradshaw: Council Regulation (EC) No. 1/2005, on the protection of animals during transport and related operations, applies to the transport of live vertebrate animals that takes place in connection with an economic activity. The term economic activity is not defined in the regulation but my Department has provided a view on its meaning in guidance, which is available on the Defra website at:
In this guidance, we have taken the view that the regulation applies to animals transported as part of a business or commercial activity that aims to achieve financial gain, whether direct or indirect, for any person or company involved in the transport. Commercial pet breeders are given as an example of such transport.
However, there are those who keep animals as a hobby, take them to shows, and occasionally breed from them with any surplus animals often being sold. We would not consider this to be economic where the income source does not exceed the expenses of the hobby and the primary purpose is for pleasure or competition and not as part of a business.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what support his Department gives (a) directly and (b) through its agencies to farm-based educational programmes; and what mechanisms are in place to co-ordinate his Department's work in this area with (i) the Department for Education and Skills and (ii) the devolved authorities. [R] 
Barry Gardiner: Defra is committed to developing the understanding young people have of both where and how their food is produced. Defra provides approximately 1 million per year in payments to farmers who provide educational visits to their farms by schools, colleges and special interest groups, free of charge, as part of their Countryside Stewardship or Environmental Stewardship (Higher Level) agri-environment scheme agreements. These schemes are the single largest provider of farm visits in the country with approximately 1,000 farms in England taking part.
Countryside Educational Visits Accreditation Scheme (CEVAS) training is advocated to all farmers providing Stewardship educational access visits. This provides training and an annual farm health and safety inspection for providers of farm education visits. This enables teachers to choose farms safe in the knowledge that the farmers have the right skills to give the children an interesting educational experience in a secure environment. Defra will provide £146,000 amounting to 50 per cent. of the funding for CEVAS during 2007-08.
Defra is providing £60,000 in 2006-07 to Farming and Countryside Education (FACE), which helps young people learn more about food, farming and a sustainable countryside. Defra also gives a £50,000 grant to the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs each year to support a range of educational activities.
In addition, my officials and ministerial colleagues have worked closely with our counterparts at the Department for Education and Skills, the Department of Health, and other stakeholders, to support the industry-led Year of Food and Farming. This initiative aims to reconnect children and young people with food, farming and the countryside. It will run through the academic year September 2007 to July 2008. A series of national, regional and local events, and learning resources will be supplemented by a wide
range of other activities for children to participate in, including visits to food and farm businesses. Defra will provide £30,000 of funding for this financial year to support the start-up phase of the project and further funding to support communications activities. Defra has also seconded a member of staff to the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) to work on the initiative.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the treatment of eagle owls used in fox hunts; and if he will make a statement. 
Barry Gardiner: The Government take account of expert advice from the Hawk Board on the health and welfare of the birds used in falconry activities. We are aware that the Hawk Board are opposed to any birds of prey being used in conjunction with hounds. However, the health and welfare of birds of prey used by hunts is subject to existing animal welfare legislation, and it is open to the police or private individuals to bring prosecutions if they believe that these laws are being broken.