HC Deb 30 July 1998 vol 317 cc511-2
1. Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington)

What has been the response to the public consultation on the future of fur farming. [51685]

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Elliot Morley)

The response to the public consultation exercise carried out last year on the future of fur farming showed that there was overwhelming support for the Government's position to ban fur farming. I want to announce that it is the Government's firm intention to end fur farming in this country. Primary legislation will be required, and we will be seeking the most appropriate route by which to achieve that.

Mr. Corbett

I congratulate my hon. Friend, and through him the Government, on making for the first time a pledge that a Bill is to be introduced to ban fur farming. Does he agree that fur looks better on the backs of animals that are born with it than on the backs of bimbos?

Mr. Morley

The public certainly find fur farming unacceptable. We know from the many representations that we have received from welfare and other organisations and consumer groups, as well as from our own specialist advisory bodies, such as the Farm Animal Welfare Council, that there has been long-standing concern about the practice of fur farming. I want to make absolutely clear our commitment to bringing it to an end through legislation.

Mr. Norman Baker (Lewes)

I congratulate the Minister on his announcement; I know that he takes the matter very seriously. I am sure that many hon. Members were pleased to hear it. Can he give an undertaking that legislation will be in the Queen's Speech? Will he give a definite undertaking that fur farming will have been stopped by the end of this Parliament?

Mr. Morley

The procedure will be announced in due course, although there are several ways in which such legislation can be brought forward. It is right and proper that the details of legislation, including such aspects as the phase-out period, will be announced for consultation among interested parties.

Mr. Vernon Coaker (Gedling)

Does my hon. Friend agree that that news will be especially welcomed by the very many young people who write to us, and who find it inconceivable that a modern Government cannot end such an immoral and barbaric practice as soon as possible?

Mr. Morley

I agree with my hon. Friend. From the many representations that we have received, it is clear that many young people find it very strange that, in our society and in this day and age, animals are kept in such conditions for no other reason than to produce fur.