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Bill to amend Livestock Act tabled

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, July 30

THE Government tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday, a Bill to amend the Livestock Importation Act, 1898 in order to extend its jurisdiction to the import of `livestock products' as well.

The Act in its present form confers the Centre with powers to only regulate import of livestock which are ``liable to be affected by infectious or contagious disorders.'' The Livestock Importation (Amendment) Bill, 2001 seeks to extend the Act's coverage to include `livestock products' as well.

The Bill has inserted a new clause (d) in section 2 of the Act to define `livestock products' to incorporate ``meat and meat products of all kinds including fresh, chilled and frozen meat, tissue, organs of poultry, pig, sheep, goat; egg and egg powder, milk and milk products; bovine, ovine and caprine, embryos, ova, semen; pet food products of animal origin or any other animal product which may be specified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.''

Further, a new section 3A has been inserted in the Act, giving powers to the centre to ``regulate, restrict or prohibit in such manner and to such extent as it may think fit, the import into the territories to which this Act extends, of any livestock pro duct, which may be liable to affect human or animal health.''

The Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, said the Bill amending the existing Act had been introduced in the background of the lifting of quantitative restrictions on import of meat and meat products, dairy products and fish and fish products as per the c ountry's commitments to the World Trade Organisation.

As import of animal products are capable of bringing in a variety of diseases which are not prevalent in our country, there is a need to put in place a suitable mechanism to regulate imports and monitor sanitary and food safety aspects of these product i n accordance with the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.

The proposed amendment ``would enable the Government to protect human and animal health through adoption of food safety regulatory measures based on import risk analyses, which would precede the issue of sanitary import permits for the specific products. ''

Further, ``this would prevent the ingress of diseases such as Bovine Spongioform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease, which is not prevalent in this country at present, but has created havoc with the economies of several European countries,'' Mr Sing h added.

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