My Lords, I will speak only briefly to pay a tribute to Jane Stevenson, my honourable friend in the other place, who had the initiative and drive to get this Bill through all its stages there. I felt privileged to take it through this House. I am also very grateful to the Minister, my noble friend Lord Benyon, for his co-operation, and to Defra officials, who suffered with great good humour my somewhat detailed examination of the Bill when it first arrived. I believe that it will contribute to animal welfare by ending a very cruel practice—or, at any rate, reducing it greatly. However, I am more concerned to see this Bill on the statute book than I am to listen to my own voice—so, on that point, I resume my seat.
My Lords, very briefly, I want to congratulate everyone who has been involved in bringing forward this important Bill. The noble Baroness, Lady Fookes, has done us all a service in bringing it to your Lordships’ House—as did Jane Stevenson in the other place. So I welcome the Bill and thank the Government for their support.
My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lady Fookes for her hard work in guiding this Bill through the House. I congratulate her on progressing the Bill to this stage with such determined enthusiasm. I am grateful to all the noble Lords who contributed at Second Reading, and I am pleased that the Bill has been widely supported across the House. I also thank my honourable friend Jane Stevenson, the Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton North East, for successfully stewarding the Bill through the other place.
We have been clear that high standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. We already have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, but this Bill takes forward an important commitment in the Government’s action plan for animal welfare to restrict the use of glue traps and make sure that, when rodents are dispatched, it is done in a humane manner. Throughout the Bill’s passage we have heard about the extreme suffering that can be inflicted by these traps, and it is right to take them out of the hands of amateurs and ensure that they are used only by professional pest controllers when absolutely necessary, where there is a risk to public health or safety and there is no satisfactory alternative.
As well as thanking my noble friend Lady Fookes and my honourable friend Jane Stevenson for their dedicated work in progressing this Bill, I am grateful to the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation for its support as we progress this important legislation. I also extend my thanks to all the animal welfare organisations, pest control organisations and suppliers that have engaged with my officials throughout the passage of the Bill. I know that my officials are looking forward to continuing their engagement with these organisations as the details of the licensing regime are rolled out. This Bill will add a vital part to our animal welfare legislation, and I look forward to seeing it on the statute book.