Schedule 4 - Repeals

Animal Welfare Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:45 pm on 26th January 2006.

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Amendment proposed: No. 143, in schedule 4, page 43, line 2, column (2), leave out ‘“docking”’ and insert ‘“nicking”’.—[Mr. Bradshaw.]

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

We are all keen to make progress, but a couple of lines from the Minister explaining exactly why the amendment is necessary and what it means would be helpful.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

The amendment corrects a drafting mistake. Section 1 of the Docking and Nicking of Horses Act 1949, which prohibits docking and nicking of horses, will be superfluous following the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act and the   associated mutilations regulation. It is therefore listed to be repealed in schedule 4. Section 3 of the 1949 Act defines the terms “docking” and “nicking”. With the repeal of section 1, the term “nicking” will no longer appear in the Act. However, the term “docking” will still be in section 2 and therefore should not be deleted from the definitions in the Act.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made:No. 144, in schedule 4, page 43, line 4, column (2), leave out ‘Section’ and insert ‘Sections 2 and’.—[Mr. Bradshaw.]

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

I beg to move amendment No. 213, in schedule 4, page 43, line 15, at end insert

‘Animal Boarding Establishments Act

Clause 11(8)(c) gives the national authority the power by regulations to repeal section 1(1) of the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, which states:

“No person shall keep a boarding establishment for animals except under the authority of a licence granted in accordance with the provisions of this Act.”

The term “animal” is interpreted later in the Act as “any dog or cat”. The change through clause 11(8)(c) will, in effect, discard a statute that has existed for more than 40 years, yet will preclude Parliament from amending any regulation on the subject placed before it. That raises the general point, already discussed in Committee, about the wisdom of allowing major changes to be effected by regulation. I tabled the amendment, which would repeal section 5(1)(a) of the current legislation, to try to ensure that Parliament has the opportunity to consider the substance of that section before it is subsumed in any regulation.

Under the 1963 Act, any boarding establishment for dogs or cats requires a licence, except that

“a person shall not be deemed to keep a boarding establishment for animals by reason only of his providing accommodation for other people’s ... in connection with a business of which the provision of such accommodation is not the main activity”.

Some 40-plus years on, our view on the needs of animals has shifted and, in those circumstances, the organisation of human affairs does not change the safeguards necessary for the animal. It is reasonable to ensure the same standard of care for a boarded cat or dog by a licence, whatever the nature of the business concerned.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

I do not feel that I should engage in a debate with the hon. Gentleman on the issue. Our essential difference is that the Government do not think that the proposal merits inclusion in the Bill. The amendment would repeal part of an Act that the Bill will repeal anyway, so its effect would be null and void. It is far better that we should discuss boarding establishments for cats, dogs or greyhounds in respect of secondary legislation, which is the whole point of enabling legislation.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

I thank the Minister for his reply. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.