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Lord Livsey of Talgarth: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, for his comments. I know that he takes this matter extremely seriously and has stated so on numerous occasions. We have been calling for far stronger action, and I am grateful for the support shown for the amendment from all quarters of the Committee. There are currently many inadequacies. Some noble Lords have referred to those inadequacies; for example, the lack of dogs for ferreting out illegal imports. More dogs are required. We also need notices at airports and ports and warnings of the consequences for people who illegally import meat foodstuffs into this country, including confiscation at appropriate points. I thank the Government for accepting the amendment. It gives me pleasure to move Amendment No. 96 on the annual review of import controls as part of a new clause before Clause 14.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 14 [The Minister]:

Baroness Byford moved Amendment No. 97:

The noble Baroness said: This is a tidying up amendment. The former Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food was disbanded in June 2001 and its responsibilities passed to the new department, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. As we are revising the 1981 Animal Health Act, I believe that we should also update the title of the new department which is responsible for the implications of the Bill. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: A dissolution order has been approved in draft by both Houses and was presented to Her Majesty in Privy Council on 26th March. Consequently the order received Her Majesty in Council's approval, so the functions of the Minister under the Animal Health Act 1981 were transferred to the Secretary of State on 27th March. An amendment to the Bill has been tabled and follows in the government amendment to delete Clause 14. Therefore, I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

The Earl of Onslow: That Her Majesty's present advisers do not know which department is responsible shows how sloppy the Bill is. We all want animal health to be carried out properly, but the whole Bill has not been thought through and it is sloppy and inconsequential. This is not how to conduct legislation. This is a perfect example of why the Bill is wrong. We want animal health to be protected properly and I include the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, in that because I give him credit for wanting to do the

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right thing. Surely the Bill must be worded correctly rather than in this sloppy manner. There is a general indication of sloppy thinking—grade four minus, go to the back of the class and wear a dunce's hat!

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, is fully entitled to his opinion which he expresses with great force. I defend those who constructed the legislation. I have reported to the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, the factual position. In view of his long service in the House I am sure that the noble Earl knows that we have followed the appropriate procedure with Her Majesty in Privy Council.

Baroness Byford: I thank my noble friend for his intervention. While I could not possibly comment on it, it reinforces some of our concerns about the Bill. We are struggling to cope with the Bill in its present form. A serious point to take from my noble friend's contribution is that we are asked to give extra powers to this department without any checks or balances, although noble Lords have tabled amendments to ensure that there are some. However, I accept what the Minister has said and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Whether Clause 14 shall stand part of the Bill?

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I have already spoken to the Question whether Clause 14 shall stand part of the Bill.

Clause 14 negatived.

Lord Plumb moved Amendment No. 98:

    After Clause 14, insert the following new clause—

In the 1981 Act the following section is inserted after section 10—
The Secretary of State shall lay before Parliament in each calendar year a report on measures taken by government departments and agencies and other public bodies to prevent the importation into the United Kingdom of the diseases mentioned in Schedule 2A.""

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 98 is similar to Amendment No. 96. I believe that the matter has been fully debated and so it is not my intention to raise additional matters to those already raised and which I hope will be related to this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Plumb, that to a large extent this amendment is subsumed by the wording of the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Livsey, that has just been adopted. In so far as the noble Lord, Lord Plumb, feels that it is not, perhaps he will contact me before any tidying up is engaged in at a later stage. I believe that the point has already been covered.

Lord Plumb: I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth moved Amendment No. 99:

    Before Clause 1, insert the following new clause—


In the Animal Health Act 1981 (c. 22) the following section is inserted after section 16—
Ministers shall make a national plan covering the measures applicable for the eradication and prevention of such specified disease and for addressing related matters—
(a) subject to an order laid before and approved by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament;
(b) subject to consultation with statutory appointed individuals, bodies and other organisations;
(c) subject to a formal review every three years; and
(d) which comes into immediate effect upon confirmation of a disease.""

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 99 relates to creating a national action plan for infectious diseases in Part A1 on control in the Animal Health Act 1981 which this Bill amends. The clause is inserted after Section 16 which will become Section 16A on a national action plan for infectious diseases.

Lord Carter: Is the noble Lord moving Amendment No. 99 and speaking to Amendments Nos. 100 to 103?

The Countess of Mar: Is the position that the noble Lord, Lord Livsey, is speaking to all the amendments in the group, Amendments Nos. 99, 100, 101 and 103?

Lord Carter: The noble Lord is moving Amendment No. 99 but it is grouped with other amendments, so the discussion now is on Amendments Nos. 99 to 103. I was anxious that we did not discuss each one individually.

The Earl of Onslow: I suggest that we should reappoint the noble Lord, Lord Carter, as Chief Whip so that the proceedings may be better organised. I note that he is nodding with glee. Perhaps that can be appreciated on all sides of the Committee.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: I shall now comment on the other amendments and I apologise for not doing so earlier. Amendment No. 100 relates to disease prevention in Part B1 on consultation and inserts the words:

    "following consultation with the relevant local authority or authorities".

I believe that that is extremely important because we all know that local authorities have a massive part to play in ensuring that a national action plan is effective and that disease is controlled at a local level. I congratulate many local authorities on their activities when they are confronted by such a situation.

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Amendment No. 101 relates to management practices. It states:

    "The Minister shall make orders—

(a) creating an institute dedicated to the study and analysis of stock management practices."That is important because the management of stock in particular—and certainly in my lifetime—has changed radically. That is one of the findings of the independent reports. It is a good idea to incorporate a best practice and for that to be disseminated among livestock keepers. The encouragement of a health plan for stock, which is arranged with a named private veterinary surgeon, would be a big leap forward in improving practices and in ensuring that we have the situation fully under control, or at least as under control as we can in often difficult circumstances.

Amendment No. 102 classifies the definition of premises considered at risk of disease, subject to affirmation by Parliament. That is a controversial matter at the time of outbreaks of, for example, foot and mouth disease. I am sure that other Members of the Committee will want to make points on that subject.

Finally, Amendment No. 103 refers to reports. It seeks insertions into the 1981 Act. It seeks to elicit the number of established veterinary personnel, which is a vexatious problem. We all know that the State Veterinary Service has seen a massive reduction in veterinary personnel. We could argue about whether they have gone sideways into some other activity. However, I should like to congratulate the State Veterinary Service on its excellent work. I believe that more veterinary personnel in strategic positions in the field would be a good improvement. The amendment refers to measures and practices on conduct to eradicate and prevent disease and risk scenarios. There is also reference to a report to Parliament.

Those are my comments on these amendments. I note that Amendment No. 103A is being taken separately. I beg to move.

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