HC Deb 22 November 1973 vol 864 cc1541-2
17. Miss Foxes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the conditions under which animals for slaughter are transported within the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Fenner

Conditions for the transportation of farm animals within the United Kingdom are laid down in orders made under the Diseases of Animals Act 1950. They apply equally to animals for slaughter and those intended for other purposes. I am satisfied that these orders provide adequate welfare safeguards.

Miss Fookes

Will my hon. Friend note that I find her answer distressingly complacent? What is the average distance travelled by animals from the point of production to the point of slaughter'?

Mrs. Fenner

I cannot without due notice provide the exact figure for my hon. Friend. We do not regard distances in the United Kingdom as the vital factor. We regard the conditions and adequacy of care during transport as vital. I am sorry if my hon. Friend believes that I am being complacent. We are continually working on legislation concerning present-day practices. We will continue to consult the organisations which are concerned.

Mr. Deakins

What powers does the Ministry have to control the movement of animals by sea, which is pertinent not only to exported animals but also to the traffic between Ireland and Britain?

Mrs. Fenner

Farm animals landed from Ireland must be rested and examined in daylight by a veterinary officer before they continue their journey. Thereby they are examined after their journey and prior to their journey, when all the other safeguards operate.

Mr. Burden

What steps have been taken to ensure that the regulations regarding transport and treatment of animals in transit have been met'? How many, if any, prosecutions or contraventions of the regulations have taken place in the past two years?

Mrs. Fenner

In order to ensure that the safeguards in the legislation are adhered to, we have officers who are continuously monitoring the situation, and the RSPCA has inspectors at almost every market. I have not the figures for prosecutions at the moment, and I will write to my hon. Friend.

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