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Bernard Matthews

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the answer of 28 February 2007, Official Report, columns 1320-1W on Bernard Matthews, if he will bring forward amendments to the Animal Health Act 1981 to provide that the food producer is ultimately liable for the costs of any slaughter in the national interest. (125843)

The arrangements for animal health and welfare are currently under review.

The Government launched a consultation on ‘Responsibility and cost sharing for animal health and welfare: principles’ on 11 December 2006, seeking the views of the livestock industry, including businesses upstream and downstream, and consumer organisations.

A UK Responsibility and Cost Sharing Consultative Forum, made up of high-level UK industry representatives, was established in December 2006 to develop structures and mechanisms through which responsibilities and costs could be shared on animal health and welfare. In addition, DEFRA is working with other interested parties and consumers.

The intention is to introduce a Bill to allow the Government to extend coherent cost sharing principles across all animal health and welfare policies. This will provide the responsibility sharing needed to establish a new relationship with the livestock industry and to provide charging powers, such as individual charging or by establishing a levy mechanism for a group of individuals or an entire sector.