Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 25th January 2023.
Moved by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch
21: After Clause 12, insert the following new Clause—“Additional factors to be considered in relation to a precision bred animal marketing authorisation(1) When producing a report under section 12, the welfare advisory body may choose to consider the factors listed in subsection (3).(2) In the event that a report of the welfare advisory body does not consider the factors listed in subsection (3), the Secretary of State must do so prior to making a decision under section 13(1) regarding the issuing of a precision bred animal marketing authorisation.(3) The additional factors to be considered in relation to a precision bred animal marketing authorisation are—(a) whether the precision bred traits will have a direct or indirect adverse effect on the health or welfare of the relevant animal or its qualifying progeny,(b) whether the relevant animal or its qualifying progeny are likely to experience pain, suffering or lasting harm arising from or connected with precision bred traits that aim to produce increased yields, faster growth or any other increase in productivity, and(c) whether the precision bred traits may facilitate the keeping of the relevant animal or its qualifying progeny in conditions that are likely to have an adverse effect on animal health or welfare.”Member's explanatory statementThis new Clause would introduce a small number of additional animal welfare factors to be considered by the welfare advisory body or Secretary of State prior to the granting of a precision bred animal marketing authorisation.
My Lords, I want to pursue Amendment 21. I thank all noble Lords who have spoken and I have listened very carefully to what the Minister has said. My amendments are fundamental to animal welfare issues and, as a number of noble Lords have said, they already have huge public support externally—not only in this House.
I still feel that we are being asked to take far too much on trust. The Minister said that it is not a skeleton Bill and he tried to reassure us on that. I would say on the animal welfare protections it is skeleton and it is sketchy, for the very good reasons that he has outlined in the past, which is that the Government have not decided what they want to do about animal welfare legislation going forward. So, we are being asked to take a great deal on trust. That is why we feel there need to be some minimum protections built into the Bill.
My Amendment 21 is not comprehensive, and I do not pretend it is, but it is the beginning of some basic protections on animal welfare, which in the absence of any other legislation we feel is absolutely necessary. I am very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Cameron, and my noble friend Lady Hayman, who both made the correct point that at the moment the notifier is in the driving seat on all this. They are providing the information, and they have considerable vested interests in providing a selective range of information to the animal welfare body. There is not an external role for audit and check on the information they provide. We would not get this with any other regulator. Any other regulator the Government set up would be expected to have a wide-ranging role, not just to accept the information they were given. I think the logic of what we are proposing is common sense and it fundamentally addresses animal welfare legislation. I therefore beg to move.
Ayes 173, Noes 193.