Clause 3 - Responsibility for animals

Part of Animal Welfare Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 17 January 2006.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 12:00, 17 January 2006

I am grateful to the Minister for clarifying that. Funnily enough, racehorses were one of the examples that I was thinking about in which ownership of the offspring is not necessarily the same as ownership of the mare or parent animal.

The Minister's point about clause 8 is important. As I said in my opening comments, my amendments are designed to clarify matters for the good people who look after their animals, not just the people who commit offences. We do not really want the draft legislation to be tested in court; we want people to understand what their obligations are when they read it. My amendments set out to clarify what will happen when people go away and it is not so clear-cut that one can say, ''Look, the animal is clearly in your care—it's your animal, you're responsible for it.''

The example that I am dying to bring in is my own case. Every week I come to the House to look after the welfare of my constituents, while my neighbour looks after my chickens. He is effectively responsible for them when I am not there, but I own them.