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Foot and Mouth Disease: Disease Control

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at how many premises during the recent outbreaks of foot and mouth disease culling was undertaken before the receipt of test results. (157934)

[holding answer 15 October 2007]: With the exception of the first infected premises (IP1) where provisional positive laboratory results were available, authorisation to cull the remaining premises was made under the slaughter on suspicion or dangerous contact policies. Some of the subsequent premises may have been subject to earlier surveillance visits and blood testing, but culling was initiated at all the remaining 16 premises prior to the final laboratory test results being received. Premises have only been confirmed as infected premises on the basis of positive laboratory results and none of the premises have been confirmed on clinical grounds alone.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many test results which were available before culling during the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease were negative. (157935)

[holding answer 15 October 2007]: Of the 17 premises culled for disease control purposes, with the exception of the first infected premises (IP1) where provisional positive laboratory result were available, 16 were culled on the basis of suspicious clinical signs under the slaughter on suspicion policy or after having been assessed as dangerous contacts. No definitive negative tests from contemporaneous samples were available at the time culling was authorised.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there are any plans to revise the rules covering the movement of livestock following the latest outbreaks of foot and mouth and blue tongue. (159248)

The framework of rules covering the movement of livestock in the event of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) or bluetongue is set out in the European Union Directive 2003/85, the European Directive 2000/75 and the Commission Decision 2005/395 respectively.

DEFRA has been involved in recent negotiations surrounding the revision of movement restrictions for bluetongue outbreaks, in order to reflect the lessons learned during the recent outbreaks on the continent.

While the general principles of movement controls are applicable in each outbreak of a disease, movement conditions may differ depending on the nature of the outbreak and the assessed risk. In order to facilitate the return to normal working for the industry, we are taking a risk-based and staged approach to easing movement restrictions when the evidence indicates it is appropriate to do so.

During the current outbreaks of FMD and bluetongue, DEFRA and industry representatives have been meeting frequently to discuss movement control strategies.