HC Deb 02 December 1964 vol 703 cc449-50
23. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he expects to receive the report from the committee appointed on 20th June last to examine the conditions in which livestock are kept under systems of intensive husbandry and to advise on standards in the interests of their welfare.

Mr. Peart

There is nothing I can add to the replies I gave on 25th November. I am hopeful that this report will be completed by next summer.

Mr. Rankin

Does my right hon. Friend recollect—as I am sure he must —that earlier today the House manifested its concern over the methods of slaughtering seals? Does he realise that there is equally widespread concern about the methods by which domestic animals are reared and slaughtered on intensive farms, to which this Question refers? Does my right hon. Friend also realise that the committee mentioned in the Question was appointed on 20th June last, so could he not encourage its members, in view of the urgency of this problem, to try to report a little earlier than next summer?

Mr. Peart

As I am sure my hon. Friend appreciates, this committee is a very important one and has a big job to do. I am anxious that its report should be full. We must, therefore, give the committee an opportunity to make a proper investigation.

Mr. Turton

Will its report be published?

Mr. Peart

I would think so, but obviously I must make that decision when I receive it.

Sir H. Harrison

Will the Minister bear in mind—and I think that he has given an undertaking to this effect—that there are many sides to this problem and many new methods of farming which are not necessarily against the interests of animals? Of course we are all animal lovers—[Interruption.] Of course we are.

Mr. Manuel

Animal lovers?

Sir H. Harrison

Yes. Most hon. Members are animal lovers. Nevertheless, this committee must study new methods which are entering all forms of production.

Mr. Peart

That is precisely what the committee will do.