HC Deb 20 April 1964 vol 693 cc129-30W
Mr. Burden

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what action he proposes to take to ensure that livestock are not subject to the risk of suffering or cruelty under intensive systems of management.

Mr. Soames

The development of cheaper and more efficient methods of rearing livestock, which is such a marked feature of the changes occurring in farming practice, has brought with it very real benefits to consumers. The increase in the consumption per head of poultry meat from 5.1 lb. pre-war to 9.4 lb. in 1958, and to 14.6 lb. in 1962. at competitive prices, is one instance of this. At the same time, these new methods, as they become increasingly widespread, raise the question as to whether standards as to the general conditions under which these animals are raised and kept should be laid down. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I feel the need for an expert inquiry to advise on this. We have, therefore, decided to set up a technical Committee to examine the conditions in which livestock are raised and kept under systems of intensive husbandry and to advise whether standards ought to be set in the interests of their welfare, and if so what they should be.

I hope to be able to announce shortly the names of the Chairman of the Committee and of its members who will include officers of our Departments as well as other knowledgeable persons.

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