HC Deb 12 July 1979 vol 970 cc647-8
11. Mr. Myles

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he has any plans to meet the chairman of the Meat and Livestock Commission.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I met the chairman on 14 June and 26 June.

Mr. Myles

When my hon. Friend next meets the chairman of the MLC, will he urge that due attention be paid to the valuable work done by the meat promotion executive? I must declare an interest, in that I was a member of that executive right up until the election.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I certainly endorse the work of the MLC, through the meat promotion executive. Any work of that nature which can bring to the notice of a wider public the high quality and good value of British-produced meat is well worth while, and I support it.

Mr. John Home Robertson

When the Minister next meets the chairman, will he reflect on the numerous statements by Conservative spokesmen before the election that they would do more for the hard-pressed hill livestock producers? Will he explain to the MLC, the House and the farmers why his Government have done nothing to help the hill livestock producers in the Government's recent decision on compensatory allowances for hill livestock?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

We did exactly what the hon. Gentleman's Government proposed to do. If he was dissatisfied with that, why did he not say so earlier?

Mr. Michael Brown

When he next meets the chairman of the MLC, will my hon. Friend discuss with him the shortage of abattoirs as a result of closures, such as the closure of the Scunthorpe abattoir, which is resulting in the import of large amounts of processed meat?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I had a meeting with the Association of British Abattoir Owners only this morning, so I am very much aware of the industry's problems and concerns. I am considering these very carefully.

Mr. Stoddart

When the Minister next meets the MLC, will he draw its attention to the BBC programme " World About Us ", which showed animals, particularly poultry and pigs, being kept in disgusting, atrocious and inhumane conditions? Will he discuss ways and means of ending that form of factory farming and perhaps having food labelled to show whether it is produced in factory farms or on free-range farms?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

The hon. Gentleman's question is not the direct responsibility of the Meat and Livestock Commission. I think that there is a later question on the Order Paper about animal welfare generally. So far as there may be an interest in that direction, I shall certainly discuss it at my next meeting with the chairman.