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Eight-day Rule

Volume 450: debated on Friday 20 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on the application of the eight-day rule as regards auction marts; and if he will assess the merits of revising or lifting the eight-day rule. (94458)

I presume the hon. Member is referring to the six-day standstill rule for livestock.

I have received no representations on this matter. Livestock moving to auction markets do not trigger a six-day standstill on arrival at a market. But in order to balance the significant disease risk that results from animals from different sources mixing at a market, animals are only permitted to move to a market if the farm from which they originate is not under a standstill (20 days for pigs or six days for other species).

This rule is waived where the market is a dedicated slaughter market. In this case the livestock must go from the market direct to slaughter. The disease risk is accordingly less than if the stock were dispersed to other farms.

The standstill which applies to farm premises is based on a scientific Cost Benefit Analysis of the disease risks associated with various standstill lengths. I do not propose to amend the standstill regime, which represents the best available balance between minimising disease risk and the needs of the farming community to trade livestock.