Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 15th May 2003.

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Photo of Nicholas Winterton Nicholas Winterton Conservative, Macclesfield 11:30 am, 15th May 2003

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for that answer, which I think shows the dramatic reduction in the number of abattoirs in England and the United Kingdom as a whole. Will he share my concern that the last abattoir in my constituency, the family firm JJJ Heathcote & Son, which has been in operation for six generations, has closed because of the huge additional costs imposed upon abbatoirs by the animal by-products regulations—particularly those relating to biological testing and the disposal of blood, which will add costs to the company, which went out of active trading on 1 May, of £525 a week? The Minister can see that that is a huge additional sum. What is the Minister going to do to safeguard animal welfare and reduce the inconvenience and costs to farmers, by ensuring that in future small abattoirs remain in business?