§ Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment. Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on her Department's contingency plans for an outbreak of brucellosis. 
§ Mr. Morley
The emphasis of the Department's approach to controlling outbreaks of brucellosis is the regular statutory testing of both dairy and beef herds to ensure that Great Britain maintains its brucellosis free status.
All dairy herds are tested monthly using the bulk milk tank test. If there is a positive result, blood samples are taken from all cattle in the herd and tested. Blood samples are taken from all adult breeding cattle in 50 per cent. of the national beef herd every year. This far exceeds the requirements of EC Directive 64/432. Under the Brucellosis (England) Order 2000, and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Wales, there is a statutory requirement for farmers to report abortions and premature calvings to the Local Animal Health Office of DEFRA. Investigative tests are then carried out.
To lessen the risk that brucellosis might be imported during the controlled restocking of farms following the foot and mouth disease epidemic, my Department has issued instructions to introduce even tighter surveillance and control for brucellosis under the cattle tracing system. All imported female cattle will be targeted for testing at strategic points. Reports are generated in the event of calving, absence of notified calving when a female reaches 30 months and when no calving has been registered for females over 30 months within 12 months of import. These reports are then followed up and testing carried out accordingly.
If an animal tests positive, it will be slaughtered with compensation and the rest of the herd will be placed under movement restrictions while further confirmatory testing is carried out. A veterinary investigation into the cause of the positive blood test result will be initiated immediately and movements on to and off the affected premises will be traced. It usually takes up to three weeks to confirm whether or not the animal was infected. In the event that brucellosis is confirmed contact herds will be tested. If 730W the veterinary investigation reveals that some contact animals are at risk, these will also be slaughtered. This may involve the slaughter of all the affected herd. This strategy worked when one case of imported brucellosis was confirmed in Great Britain in 1993.