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Animals: Disease Control

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 10 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will assess whether there is any continuing risk to the farming industry from a failure of bio-security at the (a) Compton and (b) Pirbright sites of the Institute for Animal Health. (155777)

All the recommendations in the reports by the Health and Safety Executive and Professor Spratt applying to the Government, the Institute of Animal Health and Merial have been accepted and already have been, or are being, implemented. In addition, as set out in the Government Statement of 7 September 2007 in response to these investigations, we have taken action that goes beyond these recommendations. These measures ensure the highest level of bio-security at Pirbright and at other laboratories working with specified animal pathogens.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which viruses dangerous to animal or human health have been subject to experimentation at the (a) Pirbright and (b) Compton sites of the Institute for Animal Health. (155786)

DEFRA, as licensor and regulator under the Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) 1998 have issued the Institute for Animal Health with licences for both the Pirbright and Compton sites to hold category 3 and 4 viruses under that Order. Among the viruses covered by the Order are: bluetongue, African horse sickness, foot and mouth disease, African swine fever, avian influenza, avian oncogenic viruses, coronaviruses and morbiliviruses. It is not possible, for reasons of commercial confidentiality, to give details of specific viruses that have been subject to experimentation.