§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he is aware of the deep concern 294W felt by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others at the distress caused to pigs by having their ears punched and tagged for identity purposes; and whether he will make arrangements to have dye stamping or tatooing as an alternative method.
§ Mr. Hoy
We are aware that some concern has been expressed about the punching of pigs' ears, and we have discussed the question with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Ear punching is the only available means of marking live pigs under the Fatstock Guarantee Scheme consistent with the need to safeguard payments under the Scheme. Unnecessary suffering can be avoided by the proper use of an efficient punching instrument and the Ministry has taken steps to ensure this. The great majority of pigs, moreover, are certified dead and do not have to be ear punched for guarantee purposes.
We are not aware that current methods of marking pigs for identification for other purposes have caused concern.