To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to European Council Regulation No. 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, what steps he plans to take to comply with Article 3 of that regulation and ensure that animals shall be spared any avoidable pain, distress or suffering during their killing and related operations.
The Government expects the highest standards of animal welfare at slaughter and any cruelty towards animals is unacceptable. Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are present at every licensed slaughterhouse (approved premises) in Great Britain and will investigate any alleged infringement of domestic or EU regulations.
We have consulted on proposals to implement Council Regulation (EC) 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing in England and we are currently considering the responses received. Until new domestic implementing legislation is in place to replace existing domestic regulations (the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995) cases where it is alleged animals have suffered avoidable pain, distress or suffering at the time of killing will be investigated with a view to prosecution under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. All FSA official veterinarians have been authorised to act on behalf of the Secretary of State in this capacity.