To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how she recommends horse owners who have opted under the horse passport scheme not to put their horse into the human food chain should dispose of their carcasses; (2) whether it is her policy that the Animal By-Products Regulations will result in a ban on the burial of horses on private land. 
Current legislation permits a number of disposal routes for fallen stock, including horses. These include rendering, incineration, sending the carcases to a knacker or hunt kennel, or, in restricted circumstances only, burial or on-farm burning.The new EU Animal By-Products Regulation will be directly applicable in the UK and will ban the routine burial or open burning of animal carcases when it applies in member states from 1 May 2003. The other disposal routes can still be used.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how long it will take to assess the responses from farmers on her Department's proposed scheme for the removal of carcases from farms after 1 May 2003;(2) when she expects her proposed scheme to remove animal carcases from farms to be operational; and how farmers should deal with carcases until the scheme is operational. 
[holding answer 6 May 2003]: The closing date for responses is 6 May 2003. The time taken to then assess the viability of the scheme will be dependent on the number of responses and the type/size of holdings which have expressed an interest in the scheme. However, we would expect to have completed such an assessment by the end of May 2003.Assuming that the scheme is viable we anticipate that it will take a minimum of three months from the date when the decision is taken on whether to proceed to get the scheme operational.An infrastructure of approved knacker yards, hunt kennels, rendering plants and incinerators already exists to allow farmers to comply with the new rules. However, if farmers do not know who provides these services locally they can ring a help line on 0845 8507070 which has been set up to provide advice on collection and disposal facilities.