§ 35. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on how many occasions in 1955 veterinary officers of his Department visited slaughterhouses or knackers' yards at which horses were being slaughtered; whether in all cases the provisions of the Slaughter of Animals (Amendment) Act, 1954, were being fully complied with; and what action was taken in regard to infringements of that Act.
Such visits were made by officers of my Department on fifty-four occasions. In a number of cases the provisions of the Regulations made under the Act were not being fully complied with, and the infringements were brought to the notice of the local authorities responsible.
§ Mr. Johnson
May I ask my right hon. Friend if he is aware that, whereas there is a considerable improvement, it is largely in connection with lairage that the provisions of the Act are not being complied with, and is it possible for him to take any action other than to refer the matter to the local authority?
No. I will take account of what my hon. Friend says about lairage, but if my inspectors find infringements it is my duty to call the attention of the local authorities concerned to them. I have no reason to think that, when I have done so, appropriate action will not be taken.
§ 58. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware of the concern which is widely felt because the electric stunning of pigs is often incorrectly carried out; and if he will take steps to ensure greater supervision, proper training of slaughtermen, the installation of a voltmeter in all slaughterhouses where pigs are electrically stunned and the provision of smaller enclosures so that pigs cannot run about before being stunned.
I am not aware of any general concern about this matter; but I am anxious to do all I can to ensure humane slaughtering, and I will consider my hon. Friend's suggestions with this in mind.
§ Mr. Johnson
May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he is aware that in some cases the tongs by which this stunning is 1797 carried out are applied in the wrong place—behind the pig's ear instead of in front of it—with the result that the pig is paralysed but not stunned, and though it cannot move, it can feel pain? Will my right hon. Friend look into this matter?
I have had no representations made to me on this point, but I will bear in mind what has been said by my hon. Friend and make inquiries.