Slaughter of Animals

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1989.

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Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington 12:00 am, 27th July 1989

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has to introduce measures to ameliorate the suffering of animals during slaughter; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

On 20 June the Government issued, for public consultation, proposals for additional important welfare measures.

Photo of Mr Dale Campbell-Savours Mr Dale Campbell-Savours , Workington

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?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

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.

Photo of Miss Emma Nicholson Miss Emma Nicholson , Torridge and West Devon

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?

Photo of David Curry David Curry , Skipton and Ripon

My hon. Friend confirms the problem. We need new primary legislation. If we achieve that, the measures that she sought to introduce will be included.