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The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): At 12 p.m. there were 104 confirmed cases in the UK--103 in Great Britain and 1 in Northern Ireland--with a number still under investigation. The pattern is still consistent with Heddon-on-the-Wall as the oldest known outbreak, with subsequent spread mainly through movement of animals, particularly sheep.
Over 260 abattoirs have been approved for the scheme by the Meat Hygiene Service, of which 168 were operating yesterday. The Meat and Livestock Commission estimated yesterday that British pork production was back to 50 per cent of normal, with beef at 40 per cent and lamb at 30 per cent.
In order to relieve emerging animal welfare problems, officials are urgently working on arrangements to allow licensed local movement of animals within farms in uninfected areas only, where this would not increase disease risk. We hope to have proposals prepared very shortly.
The EU Standing Veterinary Committee met on 6 March. The ban on UK exports of animals and products has been extended to Tuesday 27 March, but from 9 March the UK will be able to export unpasteurised cheeses to some countries. The SVC also imposed a ban on all livestock markets and assembly points in the EU for two weeks and a ban on animal movements except to slaughter or from farm to farm authorised by the competent authority. All vehicles leaving the UK will have to pass over a disinfectant bath. The Commission remains very supportive of UK action against the disease.
It is for the Scottish Executive to determine their spending proposals in accordance with their needs and priorities within their departmental expenditure limit (DEL) allocations determined according to the Statement of Funding Policy.
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