asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is now able to announce when revised regulations for the artificial insemination of cattle will be made.
Since I announced the Government's decisions in principle on 27th February 1976, in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend, there have been consultations with the interested organisations on the details of revised regulations. I regret that progress with the drafting of these regulations has taken longer than I had hoped when I made my statement in February last year, but I am glad to say that copies of a draft of the regulations have now been sent to interested organisations for any comments they may have on the operational details.My right hon. Friend the Minister intends to make the regulations with a view to their coming into operation on 1st September. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland will be making corresponding regulations for application in Scotland.In addition to implementing the policy announced in my statement in February last year, the new regulations will take account of the way in which artificial insemination has developed since the present regulations were made 1957. In particular, they will make it clear that the statutory controls apply to all use of bull semen for AI, with a tightly drawn exemption for raw semen used on the farm where the bull is kept; they will introduce a new system of controls based on bull approvals which will not differentiate between the use of semen from bulls owned by AI centres and those owned by other individuals or organisations; and they will put on a statutory basis the requirement to quarantine semen between completion of processing and its distribution for use.I realise that there has been concern amongst those involved with AI at the slow progress made in drawing up these regulations. I hope, therefore, that the distribution of the draft regulations for comment, and this statement of our intention concerning the making of the regulations and their operative date, will clarify the position for all those affected.