Animals (Slaughter)

Oral Answers to Questions — Food Supplies – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1949.

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Photo of Mr Peter Freeman Mr Peter Freeman , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent) 12:00 am, 29th June 1949

asked the Minister of Food how many animals were slaughtered last year with and without the humane killer of each variety separately; and how many were killed by electric stunning.

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

1,693,603 cattle, 1,291,958 calves, 5,692,404 sheep and 108,591 pigs were slaughtered in 1948 in slaughterhouses used by my Department. 932,409 pigs were slaughtered in bacon factories. Of these all but about 80,000 cattle, 40,000 calves and 144,000 sheep were killed with the humane killer or by electric stunning. I regret that the numbers slaughtered, by the humane killer as distinct from electric stunning are not separately recorded.

Photo of Mr Peter Freeman Mr Peter Freeman , Newport (Monmouthshire/Gwent)

In view of the very large number of animals that are killed without the humane slaughter methods, and the fact that the R.S.P.C.A. and other organisations are offering to provide captive bolt pistols free to farmers and others who are prepared to use them, would the right hon. Lady say what further steps can be taken to see that all animals are killed by humane methods, as recommended by this House?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

Certainly, we have taken steps and we gave instructions in March, 1948, but I must remind my hon. Friend that some animals are killed by the Jewish and Mohammedan methods, the practice of which we do not control.

Photo of Brigadier Ralph Rayner Brigadier Ralph Rayner , Totnes

Does the right hon. Lady realise that our abattoir system involves a great deal of thoughtless cruelty and is something of a disgrace to a civilised country?

Photo of Dr Edith Summerskill Dr Edith Summerskill , Fulham West

Certainly not. Since the Labour Government have been in power conditions in the abattoirs have greatly improved.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

Can the right hon. Lady assure the House that these humane killers are used by her own party to get rid of their rebels?