§ Mr. Sandelson
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he can now make a statement on his proposals to introduce import controls on psittacines and other captive birds.
§ Mr. Strang
The Agriculture Departments in Great Britain have concluded their consultations with the organisations representing the pet trade, aviculturists, zoos and other interests on the proposed import conditions that should be applied to captive birds in the interests of disease control. I have also considered a wide range of views that have been expressed in letters sent to me. As a consequence, a number of modifications have been made to our original proposals.
We have decided that all imports of captive birds should be subject to the terms and conditions of an import licence granted by the appropriate Agriculture Department under the diseases of animals legislation. Amongst other things the licence will require a period of quarantine or isolation of at least 35 days following import, on premises approved beforehand by the Agriculture Department. During those 35 days birds will be subjected to periodic veterinary surveillance; and sickness or death of any birds will be investigated, subsequent action depending on the results of those investigations. Within the general framework, special arrangements will operate for racing pigeons imported for immediate release to fly home, for small consignments of birds imported from certain 830W countries with a satisfactory disease status, and for individual caged pet birds. The controls will also extend to birds brought into Great Britain for transhipment.
A memorandum setting out the new proposals in full is being sent to all interested organisations; and copies are being placed in the Library of the House. I shall also be sending copies to those hon. Members who have written to me.
My right hon. Friends will shortly make the appropriate order under the Diseases of Animals Act 1975. The intention is that the order should come into effect on 1st March 1976.