HC Deb 17 February 1983 vol 37 c458
10. Mr. Crowther

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will ensure that the maximum benefit is gained from the implementation in 1979 of veterinary supervision of poultry slaughterhouses.

Mrs. Fenner

I am satisfied that the Poultry Meat (Hygiene) Regulations 1976 provide a satisfactory framework for veterinary supervision of poultry slaughterhouses in the interests of all concerned with the hygiene of poultrymeat, including consumers.

Mr. Crowther

Does the Minister feel that extra benefits would be gained if official veterinary surgeons supervising slaughterhouses were to be given statutory powers to support their professional and ethical responsibilities? Would not benefits be gained from a more formal and co-ordinated use of their experience and expertise, not only with regard to the welfare of birds, which is extremely important, but commercially, because at the moment there is a substantial loss from damage and injury to birds which could be avoided?

Mrs Fenner

I recognise the importance of the role that veterinary surgeons can play in supervising poultry slaughterhouses. I propose to ask local authorities to implement the Farm Animal Welfare Council's recommendations on that point. I am not convinced that legislation is either necessary or appropriate to achieve that.

Mr. Torney

Is the Minister aware that in poultry slaughter houses birds go round on a belt and, before they are dead, are dropped into boiling water, which causes undue suffering? Will she either introduce legislation or do something to stop it?

Mrs. Fenner

I should certainly require evidence of such practices, but I know that the Farm Animal Welfare Council is always concerned to ensure the proper supervision of slaughterhouses.