§ Mr. Durant
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has for the future of the Reading cattle breeding centre.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
I have considered the views expressed during the consultations I and my officials have held with all those concerned with the cattle breeding centre at Reading. I confirm that the research work on cattle and pigs together with the pig AI service will continue at the centre. I propose, however, to transfer to the private sector some two thirds of the area in which the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food currently provides a cattle AI service. The aim will be to achieve this by 31 March 1983. The Ministry will continue to provide an AI service for cattle to farmers in south Oxfordshire and west Berkshire and to participate in the Friesian joint progeny testing scheme.
The Ministry will invite the AI industry to tender for the areas which it vacates and will award AI licences to those who are best able to give the farmers an efficient AI service, to collaborate with the Department in its research and development programme and to comply with the AI regulations.