§ 14. Mr. Greenway
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with conditions at Southall horse market; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
We have been monitoring all horse markets following the introduction in 1979 of the code of practice and we are writing to markets where breaches of the code have been noted. My officials have written today to the operators of Southall market. I stand ready to take further action, including the introduction of legislation, if the necessary improvements are not made quickly at the poorest markets, including Southall.
§ Mr. Greenway
I warmly welcome my right hon. Friend's reply and thank him for what he has done to implement the 1979 code of practice. However, in view of the suffering of many animals at Southall and other horse markets, will he consider the introduction in any future legislation of powers to close horse markets where grave abuses continue?
§ Mr. Walker
I know that my hon. Friend has taken an immense interest in this topic. He has informed me constantly of the situation at Southall. I am sure that he would be quick to point out that there are perfectly good marketing practices there, with plenty of people dealing fairly and reasonably with the animals. Alas, there are also places where animals suffer hardship. Therefore, I repeat the reply that I gave to my hon. Friend that, if necessary, legislation will be introduced to ensure that the code of practice is enforced.