|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
|£ million in real terms (2006 prices)|
|Eastern England||London||South E ast||South W est||Wales||Scotland||Northern Ireland|
The welfare of all farmed animals is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a duty of care to animals; anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animals welfare needs are met.
The Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 set minimum standards for all farm animals, including farmed fish. These regulations replaced the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2000 on 1 October 2007. The new regulations are made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and are very similar to the previous regulations.
Jonathan Shaw: A full epidemiological investigation is under way to consider the source of this outbreak, including tracings of any possible disease spread. At present, it is too early to draw any conclusions about the source of the outbreak, and all potential sources of infection are being investigated.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which of the recommendations contained in the Lessons Learned Report published following the outbreak of avian influenza last February have been implemented in full; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 19 November 2007]: The Lessons Learned report was published on 11 October and copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses. The recommendations in the report have all been accepted and have already been adopted in our response to the current foot and mouth disease, bluetongue and avian influenza outbreaks.
Further to the debate in the House on 13 November, the hon. Gentleman is being sent a full breakdown of our response to each recommendation. Copies of this letter will also be made available in the Libraries of both Houses.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to make an assessment of the effectiveness of his Department's response to the (a) Essex A/H5N1 quarantine incident in 2005, (b) the Fife A/H5N1 incident in 2006, (c) the Norfolk A/H7N3 incident in 2006, (d) the Suffolk A/H5N1 incident in 2007, (e) the North Wales A/H7N2 incident in 2007 and (f) the Norfolk A/H5N1 incident in 2007. 
Jonathan Shaw: DEFRA has robust and tested disease control plans and instructions in place to address an avian influenza outbreak. These are set out in our exotic animal disease generic contingency plan, which is available on the DEFRA website. These plans and procedures are kept under close review and have been used effectively to deal with all outbreaks of avian influenza.
We are committed to learning the lessons of all outbreaks. In October we published a Lessons Learned Report into the February H5N1 outbreak in poultry which concluded that our response was effective. The recommendations in the report have all been accepted and have already been adopted in our response to the current avian influenza, foot and mouth disease and bluetongue outbreaks.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what inspections were undertaken by public agencies at Redgrave Park Farm in the last 12 months; which inspecting body performed each; and on what date. 
[holding answer 19 November 2007]: Animal health staff visited Redgrave Park Farm for salmonella sampling in March 2007. We are not aware
of any other public agency inspections prior to the start of the avian influenza investigation on 11 November 2007.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) when he expects a vaccine to be available to use to prevent the spread of bluetongue serotype 8; and if he will make a statement; 
However, we are aware of at least three vaccine companies which have a BTV-8 vaccine in development. Production at one of those companies, Merial at Pirbright, was temporarily halted after tests revealed a possible link between the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak and Pirbright, and the use of live virus at Merial was suspended. Following detailed inspections at the site, we are now satisfied that they have in place all the necessary measures to ensure strict biosecurity throughout the site. On 6 November, we permitted Merial to begin using FMD and bluetongue viruses for vaccine production at the site. However, this has not prevented Merial from continuing development of vaccine as their Pirbright site is primarily a production, rather than research, facility; Merial conduct the majority of their research elsewhere.
On 1 November, my Department issued a tender to all three companies to supply between 10 and 20 million doses of vaccine. This tender closed on 15 November and an order will be placed as soon as possible, once we have fully assessed the bids submitted. This should ensure that a vaccine will be available for use by next summer.
In keeping with the principles set out in the Bluetongue Control Strategy, which was developed in partnership with the farming industry, livestock keepers will be offered the opportunity to purchase vaccine from the bank. Once a decision on the order has been made, we will provide an estimate of the cost of the vaccine and other associated costs to livestock keepers.
The BTV-8 vaccine we have tendered for will not offer any cross-protection against the other 23 bluetongue serotypes. Currently, there are suitable, inactivated vaccines available for bluetongue serotypes 1, 2 and 4. Live attenuated vaccines are available for other serotypes but there are significant potential risks associated with their use; so they would therefore not normally be considered as an initial control measure, in line with our policy of disease containment.
We are developing a detailed plan with bluetongue scientific experts, representatives of the farming industry and others as to how a vaccination programme would work. Discussions are also taking place with the European Commission and other member states about possible approaches to vaccination.
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 20 November 2007]: On 1 November DEFRA issued a tender for between 10 and 20 million doses of bluetongue vaccine. The tender closed on 15 November and we are treating the assessment of bids as a high priority. Our aim is to ensure that a firm order is placed as soon as possible, and a vaccine is available by next summer.
We are considering detailed bluetongue vaccination plans with representatives from the farming industry and scientific experts, so that we are fully prepared for when the vaccine is delivered. The issues that are being discussed include: whether to adopt a voluntary or compulsory approach; and whether there should be a phased approach to vaccination taking account of disease control priorities, such as certain high-risk areas or species.
Jonathan Shaw: Although there are no suitable, inactivated vaccines currently available for bluetongue serotype 8 (BTV-8), we are aware of at least three vaccine companies who have a BTV-8 vaccine in an advanced state of development. On 1 November, DEFRA issued a tender to all of those companies to supply between 10 and 20 million doses for a vaccine bank. This tender closed on 15 November and an order will be placed as soon as possible, once the bids have been fully assessed. This should ensure that a vaccine will be available for use by next summer.
We are also developing a detailed plan with bluetongue scientific experts, representatives of the farming industry and others as to how a vaccination programme would work. Discussions are taking place with the European Commission and other member states about possible approaches to vaccination.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|