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The Countess of Mar: It might also be helpful if we had a definition of "premises". I have looked in the Animal Health Act 1981, but it contains no such definition. The Government could help to clear the issue up in relation to the change of agricultural usage of land and buildings by tabling an amendment on Report with a definition of "premises".

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: Surely the issue of holding number, which has not been addressed, is related to the points that have been made.

Lord Whitty: The circumstances that the noble Lord, Lord Monro, and some others have described clearly could not apply now that we have passed Amendment No. 233. As my noble friend Lord Carter pointed out, all this is subject to Amendment No. 232, which we have just passed, which says that officers and inspectors "may reasonably require". It would not be reasonable for them to require a stable girl to round up cattle or to require a stockbroker who had bought a farmhouse to go out and round up sheep. It would also not be reasonable to enter premises that had nothing to do with animals.

I shall probably regret waking up the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, but this strain of reasonableness is not only my general assertion; we wrote it into this part of the Bill about half an hour ago. The courts and those contemplating bringing prosecutions are used to assessing whether people have behaved reasonably. If we put in mitigating circumstances, there will be all sorts of suggestions as to what such circumstances might be. Relying on reasonableness, as we have agreed to do, is the most appropriate way of dealing with the issue and will meet virtually all the anecdotal concerns raised in the past 20 minutes.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: I must make it clear that the noble Lord did not wake me up. He jolted me for a moment into a happier and better world.

The Earl of Onslow: Amendment No. 232 says that the inspector "may reasonably require". The person whom he reasonably requires to do it may equally have reasonable reasons and mitigating circumstances why it would be totally wrong for him to do it. We are talking about those who have reasonable reasons for not carrying out a reasonable requirement because there is somebody else to do it. That is a logical progression.

Baroness Byford: I do not think that the Minister wants to come back again on the amendment. I thank all those who have contributed to this important section of the Bill. I always take the Minister to be a reasonable man, but on this occasion I am not happy with his response and I beg leave to test the opinion of the Committee.

8 Oct 2002 : Column 197

6.48 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 236) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 85; Not-Contents, 110.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L. [Teller]
Craigavon, V.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Dundee, E.
Elton, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Geddes, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greaves, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Hereford, Bp.
Hooper, B.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Inglewood, L.
Jacobs, L.
Jopling, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lindsay, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Newby, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Plumb, L.
Portsmouth, Bp.
Razzall, L.
Rennard, L.
Renton, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Tope, L.
Trumpington, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brennan, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

8 Oct 2002 : Column 198

7 p.m.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth moved Amendment No. 237:

    Page 4, line 15, at end insert "without good reason"

The noble Lord said: This amendment addresses an issue that arises in new subsection (12) on page 4 of the Bill. First, however, I should like to express some uncertainty about the Bill's political correctness. The subsection states that,

    "A person commits an offence if ... he is required to give assistance and ... he fails to give it".

The "person" seemingly can only be male. I know from the 2001 outbreak, however, that some of the most feisty contestants were female farmers who made their point very clearly indeed. Perhaps the Minister will consider changing the wording to "the person ... is required" and "the person ... fails to give it".

In this amendment we seek to change the wording of paragraph (b) so that the new subsection states:

    "A person commits an offence if ... he is required to give assistance and ... fails to give it without good reason".

There may be many good reasons why assistance cannot be given, and it would be extremely harsh if good reasons were not taken into account. We believe

8 Oct 2002 : Column 199

that the amendment would be a perfectly good addition to the paragraph. It is a small but necessary adjustment. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: Many of the arguments that I deployed in relation to Amendment No. 236 apply to this amendment. Given that the authorities are required to act reasonably, they can only require reasonable action on behalf of farmers and others. If the farmer has "good reason", it will not be reasonable for the officer to take action against that reasonable farmer. In this amendment, as with "mitigating circumstances", we are in danger of repeating something that is already both implicit and explicit in the Bill—the requirement on the officer to act reasonably. I am therefore not prepared to accept the amendment.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: The amendment would make a very precise addition to the provision, requiring good reasons for acting. Although we could discuss the definition of "reasonableness" and "reasons" I shall not detain the Committee with such discussion. I have heard the Minister's comments, and I realise that they will be on the record. I shall therefore expect the Government to interpret the provision as the Minister has explained it. Nevertheless, I regret that he has not accepted this amendment which is a small but necessary addition. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 238 not moved.]

Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 7 [Slaughter: power of entry]:

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