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Livestock Breeding

Volume 927: debated on Tuesday 8 March 1977

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the arrangements for importing breeding livestock from Europe and if he will make a statement.

Since 1972 imports of breeding livestock into Great Britain from Europe have been subject only to animal health controls, including quarantine. The priority to be given to applications to import has been determined on the advice of the Joint Advisory Panel for Livestock Importations. Since the end of 1975 the demand for imported breeding stock has fallen and the quarantine facilities have been more than adequate to meet the present level of demand. My right hon. Friends have therefore accepted a recommendation from the panel that import implications should no longer be referred to it.In future, applications to import livestock from continental Europe will be dealt with in order of receipt. Quarantine requirements may still, however, restrict the number of animals that may be imported at any one time, and necessitate collaboration between potential importers. The new arrangements will be reviewed from time to time in the light of the level of imports. They take into account the agreement recently reached in Brussels concerning animal health conditions for imports from other member States of the EEC.I should like to pay tribute to the panel for the work it has done during the five years it has been in existence. As a result of the recommendations made by the panel, Ministers were able to use the available resources for dealing with imports of livestock in such a way as to give maximum benefit to the British livestock industry.