§ Mr. Lidington
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research her Department has carried out to establish the effects of the six-day movement rule for cattle on agricultural shows; and if she will make a statement. 128W
§ Margaret Beckett
We announced in a written statement on 23 January 2003 that the standstill would be reduced from 20 to six days for cattle, sheep and goats with effect from 4 March 2003, but with far fewer exemptions. The removal of most of the exemptions—including the exemption for shows—is a counterbalance to the increased risk created by the reduction in the standstill period.
These changes took account of the emerging findings from the risk assessment and cost-benefit analysis of animal movement standstills. A report of those findings, and a supporting document explaining our decision to reduce the standstill, have been placed in the Library and published on the Defra website. The second phase of the analysis is now under way and is due to report at the end of May 2003. We will take account of the final reports—and any other new evidence—when deciding what rules should apply from 1 August 2003 and beyond.