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Earl Howe: My Lords, did the Minister see in the Financial Times of 31st October the remarks of the

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editor of the British Medical Journal, who suggested that the Government's emphasis on short-term targets was diverting resources away from basic clinical research? What is his view of that statement?

Lord Warner: My Lords, my view of that statement is rather wide of this particular Question.

Horses: Export for Slaughter

2.57 p.m.

Lord Higgins asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have and, following the implementation of European legislation, will continue to have sufficient powers to prevent the export of live horses for slaughter.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): My Lords, the Government share the concerns that many people have about the welfare of horses. We are reviewing the options available to us in the light of proposals for new European rules on animal welfare during transport to achieve controls that are similar in effect to those in our current rules.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that helpful reply. He will be aware of the concern expressed, for example, by the International League for the Protection of Horses on these issues. However, more specifically, is there not a danger that the protection which the Government have previously been able to extend to horses, in particular by means of the minimum value legislation and so on, is in danger unless the European draft regulations are amended or unless we manage to obtain a further derogation of the kind that we have previously enjoyed? Will the Government do everything possible to suggest and achieve suitable amendments or a suitable derogation?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, it is important to recognise that there never was—as I think the noble Lord recognises—a direct ban on export for slaughter. That was achieved largely through the minimum value regulations, the part of our regulations remaining in force before the Europeans legislated on the matter. It is also important to recognise that the European proposals as a whole provide for enormously improved welfare not only for horses in transit from this country but for horses throughout the Continent where there are much worse incidents of welfare transgression than there are in transport from this country. However, the noble Lord is correct that the minimum value regulations would fall if the present

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European draft were adopted. We are therefore seeking an alternative approach with the Commission and the industry.

Baroness Strange: My Lords, is the Minister aware that the British people regard horses as friends and companions and not as food and that they do not wish to cause unnecessary suffering and cruelty to their friends?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I think we all recognise the special affinity that many in Britain have with horses. Therefore, it is important that we do everything we can to protect their welfare. Of course, the horse passport system, which was not uncontentious in this House, would provide some significant additional protection against horses being exported for slaughter.

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, as a past vice-president of the ILPH, I hope that the Minister will look beyond Europe because one of the worst trades in horse flesh originates in South America and probably enters Europe through Italy, and the conditions are an utter disgrace.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I am aware of those problems. It is important to recognise that we are legislating on a European level but the European legislation would relate to any animals which were landed within Europe.

Viscount Astor: My Lords, the Minister mentioned the horse passport scheme. Does he accept that under the current proposals that scheme would encourage the export of live horses to Europe, whereas the previous option; that is, issuing passports only for horses that are entering the food chain, would discourage the live export of horses to Europe?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the noble Viscount is entirely wrong. The whole point about the horse passport scheme, and the reason much of the horse industry has supported it, is that every owner of a horse can make the declaration that his horse is not destined for consumption as food. Therefore, once the horse passport system is in place it acts as a disincentive to try to use the new rules to export horses from here for slaughter and for the food chain.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, the noble Lord can share all the concerns of my noble friend Lord Higgins as much as he likes and the Government can review all the options available as much as they like, but will he confirm that this is an area that has been handed irrevocably to the qualified majority vote in Brussels? There is absolutely nothing we can do about it if we are outvoted. If the corrupt octopus in Brussels wishes to proceed in the way it intends, we have nothing more to say.

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Lord Whitty: My Lords, as I indicated earlier, the result of the corrupt octopus in Brussels—as the noble Lord defines it—taking on this responsibility is that the welfare of horses throughout the Continent will be seriously improved whereas we could affect only the very small trade across the Channel by our own rules. The concern in this country, and that of the organisation to which the noble Baroness has just referred, is the welfare of horses throughout the world. The European rules, and the enforcement of such rules across Europe, will make a big difference to that.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I am genuinely puzzled by the noble Lord's reply with regard to the proposal to introduce horse passports. In what way will the introduction of those passports enable the Government to prevent the export of live horses for slaughter?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, as I just indicated, the horse passport scheme will require every owner of a horse to declare whether or not that horse is destined for slaughter. I am confident that the vast majority of owners of horses within the United Kingdom will so declare. That means that no horse could be exported for slaughter legitimately from this country.

Baroness Byford: My Lords, following the noble Lord's response to my noble friend, there are only about 10,000 to 12,000 horses exported each year from this country for human consumption. How will the measure stop that because those people who want to export live horses will still export them whether or not they need a licence? I do not quite see how the Minister's response has overcome that problem.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the vast majority of horses that are exported and appear in the statistics are not exported for slaughter or for the food chain. The vast majority are exported for sporting and recreational purposes. In the past horses that were on the face of it exported for recreational purposes may have been diverted into the food chain or used for nefarious purposes. However, under the horse passport scheme the receiver will obtain a certificate with the horse which states that it is not destined for human consumption and he therefore cannot use it anywhere in Europe for the production of food for human consumption.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, do the Government consider that exporting horses for slaughter is a legitimate trade?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, as with other live exports, it is a legal trade under European rules, which were mitigated in part by our own rules, particularly the minimum value rules in relation to horses. However, as regards horses and other species, it is our view that the trade would be better directed to the export of dead meat rather than the export of live horses for slaughter into the food chain. There is a very small export of dead horse meat from this country.

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Transas Group Bill

3.5 p.m.

Read a second time, and committed to an Unopposed Bill Committee.

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill

Lord Warner: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clause 1,

Schedule 1,

Clause 2,

Schedule 2,

Clauses 3 to 25,

Schedule 3,

Clauses 26 to 34,

Schedule 4,

Clauses 35 to 37 ,

Schedule 5,

Clauses 38 to 40,

Schedule 6,

Clause 41,

Schedule 7,

Clause 42,

Schedule 8,

Clauses 43 to 143,

Schedule 9,

Clauses 144 to 146,

Schedule 10,

Clauses 147 to 180,

Schedule 11,

Clauses 181 to 183,

Schedule 12,

Clauses 184 to 186,

Schedule 13,

Clauses 187 to 192,

Schedule 14,

Clauses 193 to 198.—(Lord Warner.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Waste and Emissions Trading Bill [HL]

3.7 p.m.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons amendments be now considered.

Moved, That the Commons amendments be now considered.—(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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[The page and line references are to Bill 66 as first printed for the Commons.]

1Clause 1, page 2, line 6, at end insert—
"( ) Subsection (4) may be satisfied by consultation before, as well as by consultation after, the coming into force of this section."

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1. I wish to speak also to Amendments Nos. 2, 3, 9 to 11 and 20 with which it is grouped.

Amendments Nos. 1, 3 and 11 enable consultation—which is required with the devolved administrations or other affected bodies under Clauses 1, 3 and 27 respectively when the Secretary of State exercises certain powers to make regulations—to be satisfied by consultation before, as well as by consultation after, the coming into force of the relevant clause. That group of amendments is relatively straightforward.

Amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 20 all relate to the need to make changes to scheme and target years. These three amendments—two to Clause 23(2) and one to Clause 32—would give the landfill allowances scheme the flexibility needed to ensure that the targets set by the Landfill Directive are met in the most efficient way possible.

Amendment No. 9 would allow for regulations to provide for the omitting of scheme years and Amendment No. 10 would provide for a scheme year to be a period shorter or longer than a year.

These amendments are intended to deal with the possibility that not all local authorities may be ready to start the scheme in July 2004. We are committed to starting the scheme as early as possible but we need flexibility.

Amendment No. 20 enables the Secretary of State to make different provision for the countries of the UK in relation to the powers in Clauses 3(6) and 23(2)(a), (b) and (ba). The purpose of this amendment is to enable the start and timing of the landfill allowances scheme to be tailored for each country of the UK. Again, this will ensure that all parts of the UK start the scheme at the most appropriate time. Taken as a whole these three amendments—Amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 20—would provide the flexibility to adapt the structure of the landfill allowances scheme to ensure that all participants get the maximum benefit and that the UK's targets are met in the most efficient way.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 1.—(Lord Whitty.)

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