HC Deb 24 April 1975 vol 890 cc1732-3
13. Mr. Boscawen

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many incidents have been reported to him alleging cruelty to animals that have been exported for slaughter since the ban on live exports was lifted; and what action he has taken over such reports.

Mr. Strang

The only report we have received concerns the incident that was the subject of the television programme on 20th March and about which my right hon. Friend made a statement to the House on 11th April.—[Vol. 889, c. 1597.]

Mr. Boscawen

I welcome the right hon. Gentleman's statement, but will he agree that he owes it to the livestock producers and to the public in general to assure them that he is keeping a lookout for abuses? When abuses occur, will he bring into play the full force of the law and the penalties which are available to deal with such abuses?

Mr. Strang

I agree with the hon. Gentleman and I assure him that the Government will make every effort to see that abuses do not occur.

Mr. William Hamilton

Does my hon. Friend recall that when the farmers were pleading for this export ban to be lifted they prayed in aid the future of that industry and the fact that exports were derisory? In view of the fact that the Government cannot control acts of cruelty in respect of animals exported to third countries, will my hon. Friend reconsider the decision to lift the ban?

Mr. Strang

I agree that it is possible to exaggerate the size of this trade. That incident, which was highlighted by the BBC film, represented a contravention of French law. A prosecution is to take place. We are not granting licences for the export of animals to third countries where we are not satisfied with their safety requirements.

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