HC Deb 15 May 1879 vol 246 c394

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether, if public slaughterhouses for killing butchers' meat cannot be established throughout the country, after the manner of many Continental States, Her Majesty's Government will not consider the propriety of bringing private slaughterhouses and other places used for killing animals for human food more directly under Government supervision, as well for economic and sanitary purposes as to prevent the cruelty to animals often practised under the present system?


In reply to my hon. and learned Friend's Question, I may be permitted, perhaps, to state what the law is on this subject. My hon. and learned Friend is aware that the whole of the Kingdom is under the jurisdiction of urban or rural sanitary authorities. With regard to the former, the Public Health Act enables all urban sanitary authorities to provide slaughter-houses and to make by-laws for their management; and, as regards private slaughter-houses, urban sanitary authorities are empowered by the same Act to make regulations for the licensing, registering, and inspection of such slaughter-houses, for preventing cruelty therein, and for keeping the same in a proper sanitary condition. Moreover, the Local Government Board may, on the application of any rural sanitary authority, confer upon them all the above-mentioned powers regarding slaughter-houses. The Local Government Board have issued a series of model by-laws for the regulation of slaughterhouses, which have been adopted in numerous instances. Such being the existing provisions of the law, I am asked whether I will consider the propriety of bringing slaughter-houses under Government supervision? But I must say that, having regard to the duties and responsibilities thus vested in the local authorities, I cannot think it would be expedient to adopt the course proposed.