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Volume 170: debated on Thursday 19 April 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he has taken as a result of the hon. Member for Linlithgow's meeting with the hon. Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson), on the import of parrots.

New measures on the import of exotic birds were announced last December following our publication of a detailed study of mortalities among imported birds on arrival and in quarantine.

Is not man's best friend the parrot? In view of the fact that the 13 per cent. bird mortality in quarantine and on arrival is a fraction of the overall mortality, can we have an immediate ban imports pending the negotiations now taking place? Does the Prime Minister think that present Ministers are as active or energetic as the hon. Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson)?

The hon. Gentleman is right to pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Calder Valley (Mr. Thompson), who met him in his office and took the initial initiative. If hon. Members read the speech before Christmas of the hon. Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) and my reply to it at 4 o'clock in the morning, I should have thought that they would conclude that I was the hon. Gentleman's best friend. We are taking strenuous measures to control the importation of exotic birds and all the measures that I outlined in the debate in December are being pursued at this very moment.