HL Deb 09 May 1991 vol 528 cc54-6WA
Lord Gray of Contin

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are able to comment on the recent decision to suspend imports of captive birds from Tanzania.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Trumpington)

In my reply of 20th February 1991 to my noble friend the Earl of Kinnoull, (Official Report, col. WA 27). I explained that veterinary officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food had visited several major exporting countries in order to impress upon their veterinary authorities the need to fulfil our import requirements and to follow IATA standards during flights to the UK. I also made clear that we would cease to authorise the import of birds from any country which failed to co-operate in implementing our requirements.

The issue of licences for import of captive birds from Tanzania was suspended because of the failure, despite numerous reminders, of the authorities there to respond to our request to send a veterinary official of my department to discuss with them various animal health and welfare matters, the standard of health certification and the conditions under which future imports of captive birds would take place.

We have recently had a positive response from the authorities in Tanzania and one of our veterinary officials is arranging to make a visit this month. We have decided that, until we receive his report and are satisfied that imports of captive birds from Tanzania can take place under satisfactory health and welfare conditions, it would not be appropriate for the suspension of the issue of import licences to be lifted.