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Caging of Farm Animals — Geraint Davies in the Chair

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 7:00 pm on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East 7:00 pm, 16th March 2020

I thank everyone who took part in the debate. As the shadow Minister, my hon. Friend Daniel Zeichner, said, the debate was poorly timed as the 6 pm start coincided with the start of the statement on covid-19 in the main Chamber. I appreciate that some of the petitioners may be slightly disappointed that, as a result, the turnout was not as good as for the previous debate on animal sentience, but I assure them that that does not mean that MPs do not pay attention to our email inboxes or do not care about these issues. We definitely want improvements.

I appreciate that all Departments have a lot on their plates at the moment, but DEFRA in particular is overwhelmed—it suddenly has three major Bills and some smaller ones kicking around, having gone without significant legislation for quite some time. I impress upon the Minister that there are many people out there who would like to see higher animal welfare standards. To that end, I hope that we can use the mixture of the carrot and the stick that has been mentioned, rewarding farmers through the Agriculture Bill but also banning things that we decide are ethically unacceptable once alternatives are in place, as is the case for farrowing crates, in particular. I am sure that we will revisit the issue. I thank the Chair for coming because I know that he had some reservations about turning up—it shows great pluck of him to have actually come along.