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Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 15 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on the eradication of wild mammals in the event of an outbreak of rabies. [108138]

We are currently revising and updating the rabies contingency plans to take account of lessons learned from the foot and mouth disease outbreak and the latest scientific advice. In the event of an outbreak of rabies affecting terrestrial wildlife, targeted destruction of wildlife and vaccination are both potentially available methods of control. As part of the review of the contingency plan, we are looking at the most appropriate control mechanisms in different outbreak scenarios, and the process of decision-making required, taking account of the specific circumstances and location of the outbreak. It is likely that in most circumstances, vaccination would be the preferred approach.The draft rabies contingency plan will be issued for consultation in due course.