for appropriate action to be taken to reduce the risk or the spread of disease generally. It provides, for the first time, aspecific provision relating to the payment of compensation in respect of particular types of diseases and provides a proper legal framework in this area. These arrangements are consistent with the Constitution and case law.The eradication of tuberculosis, TB, is an important policy aim and significant progress has been made in recent years.Ensuring cases of disease are reported and tackled requires the continuing confidence of the farming community that itwill be treated fairly and, therefore, compensation for destruction is an important plank. The Bill will make no change tothe current administrative approach for such compensation schemes. The disease eradication, ERAD, scheme operateswithout a legal requirement on the Government to pay compensation. Nevertheless the Government pays, and willcontinue to pay, fair compensation. There is no reason for a move away from the current approach under the scheme. I promised our Seanad colleagues that I would revert with an appropriate amendment, which will allow greater flexibilityin the appeal process. We are working on it and we can discuss it on Committee Stage.However, the importance of animal health for the State as a whole needs to be protected. This means that we cannot beoverly prescriptive in the legislation, as it will be legally applied in all situations. The procedures for dealing with cases of an endemic disease such as TB are not those we would want to apply in the case of outbreaks of rare exotic or importeddiseases such as foot and mouth disease or rabies.The laws relating to animal baiting and dog fighting under section 15 are being strengthened. These practices cannot betolerated any longer and must be stamped out. Under current legislation, it has been difficult to take a case against thoseinvolved in dogfighting. In the most significant case taken in recent years, many of those convicted succeeded on appealafter claiming that they had not been involved in organising the fight but had merely been present. I would like to send astrong signal that I intend to ensure anybody involved in organising or breeding for dogfighting or attending a dog fightwill face the courts and the Garda will be able to secure convictions against them. I am amending the law in this area togive the Garda more powers to take a case against somebody who organises, or breeds an animal for, a dog fight and tocharge those in attendance at a dog fight if they raid a premises. We will not continue with the farcical scenario thatcurrently prevails where if a dog fight is raided, everybody scatters in all directions and nobody takes responsibility for the dogs and the Garda cannot secure a conviction. I hope to ensure the Garda will make an example of those engaged inthis activity at an early stage following the enactment of the legislation in order that we can demonstrate that we areserious. Dogfighting is a barbaric practice, as is the industry built around breeding dogs for the purposes of ripping eachother apart. I am confident we will stamp it out through this legislation.There was concern that this section, which also outlaws a number of other types of performance with animals, as currentlyworded, could mean that farmers might be taken to court for breaking bulls, for example, or preparing them for shows andso on but that is not our intention. While I consider this possibility remote, as the use of the term "performance" makes itunlikely that activity occurring on a farm would be challenged, I will table an amendment on Committee Stage to confirmthat this normal farming practice is acceptable and is not under any threat, unlike dog fighting. The issue of seriouscruelty such as mutilation is of significant concern to many people and such practices are also expressly forbidden under the Bill. The penalties for such acts will be significantly increased. Unfortunately, in a number of cities, we havewitnessed examples of unacceptable cruelty in recent years.The Bill also provides for codes of practice. I reassure Members that this approach has worked well in other jurisdictionsand my Department has experience using such codes, which have worked remarkably well. They allow, throughagreement with the sector as a whole, detailed guidelines to be set out for specific animals. Such codes, adopted under theoverall legal powers of this new Bill, are a better way of spelling out detailed best practice rather than over burdening theBill itself. We have not been overly prescriptive in the legislation regarding how certain practices should be conducted because that would be rigid and inflexible. Instead, the Minister of the day has been given the power to introduce codes of practice through consultation with the relevant sector and, over time, those codes can be amended, updated andmodernised, as appropriate, which is the best way to do this. Instead of detailing how much food an animal needs to befed or what type of accommodation it should have, this can be done through codes of practice and updated as necessarywithout touching the principal Act, a process that would waste the House's time. We have seen the result of that type of thinking.The current proposed approach whereby general requirements are laid down, which can, if necessary, be fleshed out viacodes of practice is the best way to provide adequate detail and information, suitable protection for animals and minimise bureaucracy for both individuals and the State. The issue of reducing bureaucracy has been important in drafting the Bill.One development in line with this approach is the provision for on-the-spot penalties for minor offences. These are akinto parking tickets and they have advantages for both the individual and the State, as they avoid the time and costs of court proceedings. I emphasise that there is recourse to the courts for individuals who do not wish to pay an on-the-spot penaltyand who wish to contest the charge. This provision works well in other areas and has become commonplace in our legalsystem.