HC Deb 21 November 1949 vol 470 cc15-6
26. Mr. Spearman

asked the Minister of Food if he will take steps to ensure that only humane killers are used in Government slaughter houses.

Mr. Strachey

Instructions were issued in March, 1948, that in all Government slaughter houses all cattle, calves, sheep and pigs except those killed by Jewish and Mohammedan methods must be stunned prior to slaughter. Sheep are included, although the provisions of the Slaughter of Animals Act, 1933, relating particularly to sheep may not have been applied by resolution of the local authority.

Mr. Spearman

Is the Minister aware that there is a widespread feeling that the kosher practice inflicts a great deal of suffering, and that in some cages far more meat is killed by that practice than is actually required?

Mr. Strachey

We have discussed this matter with the Jewish authorities concerned, but it is a difficult one about which to make any arrangements.

Mr. Peter Freeman

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the same conditions are applied to all imported meat in view of the fact that the Government have accepted the principle of the desirability of the humane slaughtering of animals?

Mr. Strachey

It would be difficult to do so.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Can my right hon. Friend say whether anything can be done to prevent animals in Government slaughter houses from being killed in front of each other, which is a particularly cruel practice?

Mr. Strachey

The modernisation of slaughter houses in general is a desirable object, and when the resources are available we shall push on with it.