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Agricultural Development Advisory Service

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met the head of the Agricultural Development Advisory Service to discuss the future of the Agricultural Development Advisory Service.

I regularly meet the director general of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service to discuss a range of matters including organisational issues.

My right hon. Friend will be aware that there is considerable disquiet in the agricultural industry about the future of ADAS. Will he undertake to discuss any major moves with the chairmen of the regional panels?

ADAS is always a matter of discussion in our meetings with the regional panels. I assure my hon. Friend that I will continue those discussions. We are pleased with the way in which ADAS has started to respond to the increase in its charging facilities and with the effect that it is having on the agriculture industry.

When the Secretary of State met the head of the advisory service, did he by any chance discuss the growing of vegetables? Is he aware how offensive his recent remarks were when he suggested that people who were vegetarian were somehow indulging in unnatural practices and acting against the word of the Lord, or words to that effect? May we assume that those words were bovine spongiform-induced? Does the Secretary of State intend to put a health warning on carrots, telling people that they may be damning their eternal souls if they eat them, or does he intend to apologise to the House and in particular to Mr. Speaker who is a well-known vegetarian?

Mr. Speaker, you and I have corresponded to some end on that matter, and I repeat what I said to you—that I eat vegetables with great pleasure. I object only to those people who say that I should be a vegetarian. I do not want to make them carnivorous, although man does appear naturally so to be.