HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc1769-70
55. Sir R. Glyn

asked the Minister of Food whether, in order to reduce congestion and consequent cruelty to animals sent for slaughter, he will now consider the advantage of allowing 50 per cent. of the licensed slaughterhouses in each local authority area to be licensed that were licensed in 1938, as such action will improve the quality of the meat and reduce the demands on transport.

Dr. Summerskill

We are prepared to open more slaughterhouses where suitable premises are available and where this will contribute to the efficiency of the meat control scheme, but unfortunately suitable premises are not available in the localities where most of the recent criticisms have arisen.

Sir R. Glyn

Would the hon. Lady consider appointing a specialist committee to go into this matter in view of the fact that when slaughterhouses were closed as a war measure, there was no indication that it would become permanent policy, and will the matter be looked into from the point of view of efficiency in every local district?

Dr. Summerskill

We have our experts inquiring into the matter and I am giving it my personal attention. It will of course become part of our long-term meat policy which we are considering at the moment, and when this has been decided-we shall make an announcement concerning slaughterhouses.

Mr. Quintin Hogg

Will the hon. Lady give the House an assurance that in considering this matter the Government will look at it not merely from the point of view of the efficiency of their meat scheme but from that of humanity to animals?

Mr. Bossom

Will the hon. Lady review all those slaughterhouses which were closed during the war to see if they could be used at present now that the situation is becoming very serious?

Dr. Summerskill

We have looked at every one, but I would remind hon. Gentlemen that many of these slaughterhouses were in the back yards of butchers' shops and that the entrance for the animals was through the shop. We have no intention of opening those again. We have reopened all those which are suitable.

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