HC Deb 08 February 1972 vol 830 cc1124-5
16. Mr. Burden

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will draw to the attention of the company whose name has been sent to him, and others who wish to practise the system, the terms of the Code of Practice, in view of the fact that piglets are being put in cages when about seven days old, kept at a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity content of 55 to 65 per cent. and in total darkness except when being fed twice daily

Mr. Anthony Stodart

The Code has already been sent to this company's veterinarians and to all farmers and veterinarians in private practice.

Mr. Burden

It is all very well sending the Code. But will my hon. Friend ensure that this firm and others adopt the proposals laid down in the Code regarding lighting, temperature, humidity and space? It is not enough to have a Code and to send it to these people. Has he heard from them that in future they will carry out the recommendations of the Code? Otherwise it is meaningless.

Mr. Stodart

My hon. Friend asked whether I would draw the attention of the company to the Code. It has been sent to the company. The cage units seem to follow the recommendations on space and flooring, and a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and a humidity content of 55 per cent to 65 per cent., my hon. Friend may be surprised to know, is considered by veterinarians to be ideal for young pigs.

Mr. Lipton

Would it not be a good thing if this laudable concern for the welfare of piglets were extended to hare-coursing and stag-hunting?

Mr. Stodart

I see very little connection between the two.

Mr. Peter Mills

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind, when considering this subject that, though codes of conduct are important, intensive methods of production have helped to contain increases in the price of food?

Mr. Stodart

I certainly take my hon. Friend's point; but it is very important, in my view, that the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and the veterinary profession should be vigilant on welfare matters. We shall consider what advice they give us with great care.