Clause 14 - Precision bred animal marketing authorisations: reporting obligations

Part of Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 5 July 2022.

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Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:15, 5 July 2022

We are now getting to the Bill’s more administrative details, about which we have fewer concerns.

Clause 14 concerns the reporting obligations for precision bred animal marketing authorisations. Clause 15 concerns the suspension and revocation of precision bred animal marketing authorisations. In many ways, what I am about to say is similar to what I have said before about those things. I am glad that reporting obligations are included in the Bill, especially those that relate to animal welfare and to potential unintended consequences. It is right that those processes be monitored and reported on.

The suspension and revocation of authorisations concerning animals appears to be an area where greater scrutiny of secondary legislation would be beneficial. The clause confers powers on the Government to introduce secondary legislation, with provisions to suspend or revoke precision bred animal marketing authorisations where the Secretary of State receives information regarding the health and welfare of the animal concerned, and where they believe the health or welfare of an animal is likely to be adversely affected. It also contains provisions for those decisions to be publicly announced and shared. That raises the question of who is doing the monitoring and how, and it would be helpful if the Minister said a little more about that.

At the risk of being endlessly repetitive, it would be better for the secondary legislation to be subject to the affirmative procedure, rather than the negative. That is the force of amendment 14. As we have said frequently, the House should be able to scrutinise the Government’s proposals, especially as they have been decidedly vague so far. These things do matter, because they concern the potential pain and suffering of sentient beings.