Why have only 18 of the 100 recommendations made by the Farm Animal Welfare Council been implemented, as they related to examples of extreme cruelty in Britain's slaughterhouses? Will FMC in Wiltshire be prosecuted as a journalist on The Sunday Times was a witness to cruelty in that slaughterhouse? What action is to be taken on the evidence of cruelty in many of Britain's slaughterhouses?
The hon. Gentleman asked why only a certain number of recommendations have been implemented. He will appreciate that certain measures can be implemented by means of existing primary legislation, but others require new primary legislation. We are about to conclude the consultation period—in fact, it ends on the first day of next month—on the recommendations relative to religious slaughter. The hon. Gentleman will be familiar with the Government's stance on that. Once the consultation period is over, we shall lay regulations quickly.
The hon. Gentleman will also be aware that the Department would like to introduce an animal welfare Bill. That, of course, depends on parliamentary time. If we were to win such time, we would be requiring local authorities to—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman asked a specific question and he is getting a specific answer. We shall require local authorities to appoint a person specifically responsible for animal welfare. We intend to make the rules of practice mandatory and not voluntary. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman must not object because I managed to guess his supplementary. We intend to extend protection to deer.
I add my congratulations to my hon. Friend the Minister and the new agriculture team, which I am sure will be extremely successful. May I ask my hon. Friend to remind the Opposition that when I put forward an animal welfare Bill embodying recommendations by the Farm Animal Welfare Council with regard to the slaughter of deer, the legislation was blocked by Opposition Members?