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Lord Glentoran: I listened with interest to the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone. I agree with her that the proposed new procedure would take considerably more time; we need results from the tribunals in the shortest possible time, as the Minister has said. I hope that any tribunal that is set up by the Secretary of State or the Countryside Council for

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Wales will be correctly balanced. In that hope and in the hope that the system will respond quickly as well as justly, I rest my case and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clauses 39 and 40 agreed to.

Clause 41 [Interpretation of Part I]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: Before I call Amendment No. 305, I must inform your Lordships that if it is agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 306.

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 305:

    Page 25, leave out lines 18 to 21 and insert--

(""livestock" includes cattle, horses, equines, asses, mules, hinnies, sheep, pigs, goats and poultry, and deer not in the wild state, and also while in captivity or while on access land as defined in section 1, pheasants, partridges and grouse;").

The noble Baroness said: I shall not spend the Committee's time on the amendment. We are trying to broaden the definition of "livestock" to include the animals mentioned in the amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Masham of Ilton: I should like to ask a question. "Equines" includes horses and ponies, but does it also include asses, mules and hinnies?

Baroness Byford: The amendment may not be perfect, but I hoped that it included those animals. I am not sure how the Minister will respond, but that is my interpretation.

Lord Whitty: The definition in the Bill has been used in previous legislation, such as the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. We see no reason to change it. Adding game birds or farmed deer seems to stretch the definition somewhat.

The Bill allows countryside bodies and local authorities to impose tighter restrictions where local circumstances demand them. Any extension to protect other species other than those traditionally described as "livestock" in legislation should be dealt with in that way.

The Earl of Caithness: The Minister relies on the 1953 Act, but I am sure that he agrees that farming has changed a lot since then. Of course it is useful to rely on a previous Act, but it is time to reconsider the issue, given recent rural diversification. It seems odd not to include deer farming in some upland areas, for example.

What happens if a farmer diversifies by breeding ostriches or deer? Does he have to appeal to the authority for a change in all the rules because he has a different form of livestock that is not covered by the 1953 Act? What happens if he has steers on his ground? There is a fine definition of cattle that does not include steers. Schedule 2 mentions restrictions on dogs, but we do not know what all the restrictions will be. People with dogs will not have a right of access to land that

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has bulls, cows, oxen, heifers and calves, but it looks as though they will have a right of access if there are steers about. The Bill needs tightening up.

Lord Whitty: I am sure that steers are covered by the term "cattle". The amendment does not cover ostriches. In some localities it may be necessary to extend protection to slightly more exotic species, but I do not think that the amendment is a sensible extension of the definition of livestock that has stood us in reasonably good stead and applies in by-laws throughout the country as well as in the Act to which I have referred. Special provision may be needed in some localities, but not in the Bill.

The Earl of Caithness: That is a useful reply, but how would a landlord, an owner or a tenant apply to have their livestock protected along with that covered by the 1953 Act?

Lord Whitty: If the livestock was in a different field or a different part of the property from traditional livestock, if I may call it that, the landlord would apply to the Countryside Agency for an additional restriction for the relevant area.

The Earl of Caithness: So it is the responsibility of a tenant who wants to farm any animals or birds that fall outside the definition of "livestock" to apply to the Countryside Agency for a revision of the maps and the access provisions?

Lord Whitty: No; only where it would involve a different parcel of land from that covered by the restrictions which arise as a result of this provision in relation to traditional livestock.

Baroness Byford: I support my noble friend's comments, particularly with regard to diversification within the farming fraternity. Although it is not the noble Lord's particular responsibility, he will be aware that farming is still in a dire situation, especially in the upland areas. Indeed, all farmers are being encouraged to diversify as much as they can. On looking at my amendment again, it occurs to me that one does not necessarily keep deer in fields; rather, I believe that they stray across access land. I shall certainly look at the matter again but, at this stage, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 306:

    Page 25, line 19, leave out ("sub-paragraph") and insert ("definition").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 41, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 42 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 306A not moved.]

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Schedule 4 [Minor and consequential amendments relating to Part I]:

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 307:

    Page 53, line 7, at end insert--

("Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 (c.28)

. In section 1(2)(c) of the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 (penalty where dog worries livestock on agricultural land), for the words "(that is to say not on a lead or otherwise under close control) in a field where there are sheep" there is substituted "(that is to say not on a lead) in a field or enclosure where there is livestock".").

The noble Baroness said: In moving Amendment No. 307, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 308 and 309. The provisions of paragraphs 4 and 5 of Schedule 2 create anomalies in relation to the existing controls over dogs under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. That Act was designed to tackle sheep-worrying by dogs and would not be overridden by the current Bill. That means that two separate regimes would exist for the control of dogs on different areas of land. I suggest that that would be confusing, both to farmers and users. The controls would differ, for example, between the enclosed in-bye pasture on the floor of a valley and the access land lying above it. Therefore, differences in the controls available would exist even on the same farm.

That is unhelpful, but the inconsistencies can be remedied by amending the definition of "worrying livestock" in the 1953 Act to make it consistent with the definition in this Bill. The amendment would bring the provisions of the 1953 Act more into line with those under this Bill, which require dogs to be on leads at all times when they are in the vicinity of any livestock. Without those changes, it would be difficult for the Countryside Agency and the CCW to give the public clear and unambiguous information about their responsibilities and the likely penalties if they fail to observe them, both in relation to access and non-access land.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 provides that an offence is committed by anyone whose dog is off the lead or otherwise not under close control when in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep. That offence should extend to include any situation, first, where a dog is not on a lead, thus removing the ambiguity about whether a dog off a lead can be said to be under close control, and, secondly, where a dog is in the vicinity of any livestock and not simply in a field or enclosure in which there are sheep.

I turn to Amendments Nos. 308 and 309. At present, the liability is attached to the owner or keeper of a dog that worries, kills or injures livestock under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and the Animals Act 1971. Further, a defence exists to a charge of criminal damage if an occupier shoots a dog which is attacking his sheep. That comes under the Criminal Damage Act l971.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 places a criminal liability on an owner whose dog worries livestock. Essentially, under that Act if a dog worries livestock on agricultural land, its owner or minder is guilty of an offence. The definition of "livestock"

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covers bulls, cows, oxen, heifers, calves, sheep, goats, swine, horses, asses, mules, domestic fowl, turkeys, geese and ducks, but does not include the other types of animal mentioned by Members of the Committee.

The definition of "agricultural land" covers that used as arable, meadow or grazing land or, for the purposes of poultry farming, pig farming, markets gardens, allotments, nursery grounds or orchards. "Worrying livestock" means that a dog attacks or chases livestock or is at large--in other words, not on a lead or otherwise under close control--in a field or enclosure where there are sheep.

The Animals Act 1971 places a civil liability on a person whose dog may be worrying, killing or injuring livestock. The specific provisions within that Act are, first, Section 3, which provides strict liability for the keeper of a dog which causes damage by killing or injuring livestock, and, secondly, Section 9, which provides a defence against a civil action for killing or injuring a dog if it is for the protection of livestock.

Two difficulties arise: first, the definitions of "livestock" in the 1953 and 1971 Acts are inconsistent and there seems to be no logical basis for that; and, secondly, the regime is too narrow in scope to protect the legitimate interests of owners of access land. In particular, on much access land game birds are essentially a business asset. The birds are the very reason why that land holds its value. We debated that matter earlier. However, at present under the 1953 and 1971 Acts there is no protection for game birds as they do not fall within the definition of "livestock" as wild creatures.

My amendment applies to the 1953 Act in relation to access land and broadens the definition of "livestock" to include game birds. The amendment would provide consistency in the definition of "livestock", including game birds, under the Animals Act 1971. I beg to move.

4.45 p.m.

Earl Peel: Despite the anomalies to which my noble friend referred--about which she was absolutely right--I wish to refer to what was said by my noble friend Lord Caithness. Things have changed and I believe that perhaps it is time to reconsider the various Acts of Parliament covered by my noble friend's amendment.

When considering the definitions of "livestock", it seems to me peculiar that turkeys, geese, ducks and various other types of poultry fowl are defined and therefore receive protection under the various Acts of Parliament, yet game birds do not.

On the previous Committee day of this Bill, the noble Baroness, Lady Young of Old Scone, quite rightly drew the Committee's attention to the particular importance of grouse shooting to the maintenance of the heather uplands and its important economic base. I believe that it is time that such a hugely significant activity in the hills is recognised by proper legislation. Grouse shooting activities produce full-time, part-time and casual jobs and, as I have already mentioned, contribute to the maintenance of

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the environment. Therefore, in this day and age it seems extraordinary and quite illogical that sufficient protection is not given to game birds under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and the Animals Act 1971.

I hope that the Minister will look favourably on this amendment. I know that I am in danger of repeating myself but inevitably I come back to the words of the Minister, Mr Meacher, when he gave the commitment that nothing in the Bill would undermine the economic importance of those areas of land. This is quite a simple way for the Minister to redress what is clearly an illogical situation.

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