HC Deb 30 April 1975 vol 891 cc157-8W
Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that the shortage of cartridges for humane killers is now creating a problem for areas such as the New Forest where the captive bolt system is not suitable in remote locations; if he will take steps designed to ensure that sufficient ammunition is available to prevent any unnecessary animal suffering which may result; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Strang

Supplies of the "strong" type of 0.310 and 0.320 ammunition used for the humane slaughter of large animals away from slaughterhouses are virtually unobtainable in this country at present. I am not aware of any shortages of ammunition for captive bolt pistols used mainly in slaughterhouses, nor am I aware of any insuperable difficulty over their use in remote locations.

The supply of ammunition is not the direct responsibility of the Government, but in view of its interest in animal welfare my Department has encouraged the user interests to form a working group to co-ordinate their individual efforts to ensure the continuity of supply. In addition, we have been able to release a small number of 0.320 rounds to the working group from emergency stocks held against outbreaks of disease.

A consignment of 0.310 rounds is exected from abroad next month and supplies of 0.320 may follow later on, but this is a matter for the user and manufacturing interests to resolve on a commercial basis.