HC Deb 10 December 1998 vol 322 c279W
Mr. Rhodri Morgan

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will report on the progress of the BSE offspring cull. [63771]

Mr. Nick Brown

Before exports of British beef can resume under the Date Based Export Scheme (DBES) the UK must slaughter all offspring born after 1 August 1996 to BSE cases confirmed before 25 November 1998 (the date of the Commission Decision on the DBES). When new cases of BSE occur any offspring born after 1 August 1996 must be slaughtered without delay.

We have known for some time that this cull would be necessary and started it on a voluntary basis in August. We have been waiting for formal adoption of the Commission Decision in order to make it compulsory and ensure that the cull is properly carried out. Regulations are being laid before the House today for this purpose.

Since the cull started on a voluntary basis in August we have, with the co-operation of the farming community, culled over 1,000 animals. The compulsory cull, which will come into force in January, will ensure that all remaining offspring animals are slaughtered and clear the way for the resumption of beef exports.