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Quarantine Reform

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 24 September 1997

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the members of his Assessment Panel on Quarantine Reform indicating their qualifications. [16952]

The members of the Advisory Group on Quarantine are:

Professor Ian Kennedy LL.D (Chairman), Professor of Health Law, Ethics and Policy at the School of Public Policy, University College London. He was previously president of the Centre for Medical Law and Ethics, Kings College London and chaired the Government's Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation in 1995–96.
Dr. Barbara Bannister MSc FRCP, Consultant in Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
Mr. Paul deVile BVetMed, a small animal veterinary practitioner in Eastbourne. He is a past president of both the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animals Veterinary Association.
Dr. Chris Dye who is on secondment from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicines as Senior Epidemiologist at the World Health Organisation, Geneva.
Professor Os Jarrett, Professor of Comparative Virology at the University of Glasgow.
Professor Herbert Sewell, Head of Immunology at University Hospital Medical School, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham.
Sir Joseph Smith who is the retired head of the Public Health Laboratory Service. He is a former member of the Committee on the Safety of Medicines.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the terms of reference for the Assessment Panel on Quarantine Reform; when it will begin and finish its work; and how many officials at which grades will be assigned in support of the work of the panel. [16953]

The terms of reference for the Advisory Group on Quarantine are as follows:

"To assess the risk of introduction of rabies into the United Kingdom under the current policy of quarantine for pet animals and under alternative policies, particularly the five set out below. The assessment should advise on, and take full account of the practical aspects of enforcement of the policies in determining the risk posed by each. The assessment should also consider and advise on the costs and benefits of each of the policies, and of the risk of introducing other animal diseases transmissible to humans.
The alternative policies to be assessed are:

Option (a): maintain the existing policy whereby imported animals are housed in secure quarantine facilities for six months;
Option (b): reduce the length of time animals are required to spend in quarantine;
Options (c) and (d): allow in animals for which reliable alternative assurances can be obtained, in particular those from EU Member States and certain rabies-free countries, through restrictions based on identification, vaccination, blood testing, certification and a system of checks after entry. In option (c) checks would be made at the point of entry, in option (d) these checks would be made away from the point of entry in approved reception centres. Where these assurances cannot be met, animals would be quarantined as now;
Options (e) and (f): give up quarantine altogether. Under option (e) imported animals only would be subject to pre-entry vaccination. Under option (f) all domestic cats and dogs would be vaccinated. Farm livestock and foxes in affected areas would be vaccinated were the disease to be introduced."

The Advisory Group is beginning its work now and aims to produce its report in the Spring of 1998.

One Grade 7, one Veterinary Adviser, one Higher Executive Officer and one Administrative Officer have been assigned to support the work of the Advisory Group. Other staff will be involved as necessary.