HC Deb 05 May 2000 vol 349 cc244-5W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list the level of UK Government expenditure on BSE eradication measures in each of the last three years, the current year and the next three years. [120570]

Mr. Nick Brown

The main measure in place in the UK to eradicate BSE is the ban on the feeding of mammalian meat and bone meal to farmed ruminants. This is enforced by a survey of feed mills and other premises which hold animal feed, and testing of the samples for the presence of mammalian protein. The cost of the tests carried out since the survey began in August 1996 amounts to some £4 million. The cost of the collection and submission of the samples to the laboratory could not be obtained except at disproportionate cost.

The cost of compensation for the slaughter of BSE suspects, and the transport and disposal of their carcases and other associated costs are shown in the table.

BSE Compensation Transport and disposal and other costs
1997–98 3,084,159 1,427,787
1998–99 1,964,095 1,461,743
1999–20001 1,264,153 21,850,000
1 Estimate
2 This item incudes some expenditure on scrapie which cannot be separated from BSE expenditure.

The cost of compensation and disposal in the current and future years will depend on market prices and the numbers of BSE suspects reported.

Mrs. Fiona Jones

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations he has received expressing concern about the way in which the cull of BSE-offspring cattle is being conducted. [119754]

Ms Quin

During the operation of the cull, 8,241 offspring have been slaughtered with a further 178 awaiting slaughter. We have received 120 letters on the cull. The majority of these have expressed concern over the level of compensation offered, while a small number have queried the basis of the cull.

Sir Richard Body

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is his policy on making available material from beef carcases for the purpose of research into BSE. [120700]

Ms Quin

The Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) holds an archive of material from BSE-infected cattle. Scientists may apply directly to the TSE Office at VLA to request samples of these tissues for use in research. Applications are approved by the TSE Research and Surveillance Unit in MAFF on the basis of the supplies available and the merit of the research. Scientists also need to show that they have the containment facilities available to perform the research and any necessary Home Office or import licences. Where sufficient supplies exist, reasonable requests will be granted and the tissues will be released once funding for the research is secured.