HL Deb 07 May 1985 vol 463 cc529-30

2.56 p.m.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make it obligatory for farmed deer to be killed on the farm from which they come and not slaughtered in public abattoirs.

Lord Belstead

My Lords, the Government are looking into the question of the slaughter of deer as part of their consideration of the Farm Animal Welfare Council's report on the welfare of farmed deer. The council recommended that, subject to specified safeguards, the slaughter of farmed deer should be permitted in slaughterhouses licensed for that purpose. The report also contains a note by four members of the council who disagreed with this recommendation. The report is currently the subject of consultation with interested parties. When this is completed the Government will decide what action should be taken in response to the recommendations.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard

My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that Answer. However, is he aware that the red deer is our largest indigenous mammal? It is a very highly strung animal, with acute senses. It can scent a man on the hills from a mile away. We cannot compare red deer with sheep or cattle which have been domesticated in this country certainly since the days of the Romans. Would my noble friend agree that to subject these highly sensitive animals to a journey in a lorry amid the roar of traffic and to the smells and bustle of the slaughterhouse is extremely cruel? Would he agree that the kindest thing to do would be to shoot them in the neck with a rifle on the farm, and that preferably the rifle should be fitted with a silencer? That would be by far the kindest method.

Lord Belstead

My Lords, I give my noble friend an assurance that the Government will take very serious note of what my noble friend has said in his supplementary question, as, indeed, we shall take serious note of what is said in answer to the very extensive consultations which are taking place at present. I also give my noble friend an assurance that in forming their own view the Government will carefully consider how the welfare of deer can be satisfactorily protected.

Lord Beswick

My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord the Leader of the House whether the rule about more than one part to a question applies in this case?

Viscount Whitelaw

My Lords, I thought that my noble friend's answer to the question was immaculate. So far as I could see, he answered one question out of four.

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