HC Deb 10 April 2001 vol 366 c588W
Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Prime Minister if he has approved the transport to and entombment of animals from foot and mouth infected counties in landfill sites in foot and mouth free counties. [157753]

The Prime Minister

The disease eradication effort is organised on the basis of infected and non-infected areas, not county boundaries. Except in a few cases at the beginning of the outbreak, the policy has been to dispose of slaughtered animals within their infected areas, not to transport animals and carcases from infected to non-infected areas.

Mr. Paice

To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his oral answer of 28 March 2001,Official Report, column 954, if he will provide a breakdown of the figure for sheep movements in February. [157512]

The Prime Minister

Sheep movements are not centrally recorded. We have refined the estimate which I provided on 28 March. We now estimate that around 2 million sheep movements took place in Great Britain in February, before movement restrictions were imposed. This is broken down as follows980,000 movements to abattoirs; some 845,000 clean sheep and 135,000 ewes were slaughtered in February. 700,000 movements through markets; based on an estimate provided by the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC). This estimate does not include multiple movements through markets. Some animals will enter more than one market either because they are withdrawn, or not sold and taken home, or sold and re-sold (often as dealers split and mix loads of sheep from different sources so as to produce uniform consignments that meet specific buyers' requirements). 100,000 movements; through private sales between farmers or between farmers and dealers, which do not figure in any of the above categories. 30,000 movements leading to live export.

Other movements, including a limited number of movements between holdings or back from winter grazings, brings the total to around 2 million.

Mr. Beith

To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the changes in the handling of the foot and mouth outbreak which have resulted from his actions since he took personal charge of the matter. [157793]

The Prime Minister

The overriding priority since the outbreak was first discovered on 19 February has been to mobilise the resources and logistics required to control and eradicate the disease. This has been achieved by keeping the situation under constant review within Government, and by involving all Departments that have a positive role to play in the eradication strategy.