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Non-stun Slaughter of Animals — [Sir Henry Bellingham in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:18 pm on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip 4:18 pm, 3rd April 2019

Yes, I can confirm that, but it is important that we have a discussion about these issues and I will come on to say how we can do that. However, since the 1930s we have had a tradition of respecting the religious rights of both the Jewish community and the Muslim community, and we will honour that tradition.

Let me try to make some progress, because I have heard a lot of people’s points and I want to respond. Of course, if there are interventions I will take them, but there is quite a lot to come back on from the interventions that have already been made. Perhaps I can try to rattle through and answer as many questions as possible.

Of course, the focus here is animal welfare concerns. My hon. Friend Giles Watling and Jim Shannon contributed, and although I do not think that Dr Cameron said anything, I know that she is here with the hat on of concern about animal welfare. I am very proud that we have so many MPs who are interested in this issue, but the fact is that we have some of the highest standards of animal welfare in the world, and as we leave the EU we will improve them further.

The Government are taking action in a number of areas to further protect and ensure the welfare of animals, for example by increasing maximum sentences for animal cruelty tenfold, from six months’ imprisonment to five years’ imprisonment. We are also banning the use of electronic shock collars and third-party puppy and kitten sales, and we have already banned the online sale of puppies.