Animal Cruelty Register

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 14th September 2021.

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Photo of Dolores Kelly Dolores Kelly Social Democratic and Labour Party 2:30 pm, 14th September 2021

T6. Mrs D Kelly asked the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, after resisting the temptation to remind the DUP that Brexit and the protocol are entirely of its making, for a progress report on an animal cruelty register. (AQT 1556/17-22)

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I will just respond to the first comment: the protocol is not of our making. It is a political decision that is being implemented. It is not protecting the European Union single market because the goods are staying in Northern Ireland. Therefore, the goods coming from Great Britain for customers to buy in stores in Upper Bann pose no threat to the single market. You should stand up for your people in Upper Bann.

We have put the animal welfare register to the Department of Justice and have indicated our desire to proceed with it. The Department of Justice has indicated that there are issues; I do not entirely accept that. Nonetheless, that is where it lies.

Photo of Dolores Kelly Dolores Kelly Social Democratic and Labour Party

The good people of Upper Bann will have an opportunity in the coming months to say whether they believe that I stand up for them.

Has the Minister agreed a timescale for the animal welfare register with the Minister of Justice?

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I have not, because Justice has indicated that some of the material poses a difficultly for it due to GDPR and the legality of giving out such information.

It therefore becomes more challenging for us on that front. Nonetheless, it is right that people who have demonstrated that they are cruel to animals should not have the capacity to keep them. A register that people can look at to see whether an individual who is keeping an animal is banned from keeping animals will enable people to act on that information. It will be easier for councils and others to act on it as well.

Photo of Roy Beggs Roy Beggs UUP 2:45 pm, 14th September 2021

That is the end of questions to the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Members should take their ease for a few moments.

(Mr Speaker in the Chair)