HC Deb 11 November 1977 vol 938 cc294-5W
Mr. Adam Butler

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many complaints he has received in the last year about alleged ill-treatment of animals being exported for food; how many of these have led to prosecution; and if he is generally satisfied that the Balfour regulations are being operated satisfactorily.

Mr. Strang:

My right hon. Friend the Minister has received several hundred complaints in the past year, including 32 detailed reports mostly from the RSPCA Some of these reports are still being investigated, but so far none has provided evidence to justify prosecution. Because of continuing public concern, we are at present examining the more recent developments in this trade.

The Balfour Assurances lapsed after 1973, when the export trade in live animals was suspended. The trade is now conducted in accordance with a motion passed by the House on 16th January 1975 permitting export of live food animals to be resumed, under strict veterinary control, within the EEC and to such other countries as could offer equivalent welfare safeguards.

Mr. John Ellis

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he proposes to make an order under Section 8 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to regulate the export of live food animals in the interest of their welfare; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Strang:

We had hoped to make this order within one year of the passing of the Act. But we are now engaged on the examination of the live animal export trade, which my right hon. Friend announced on 26th July, and we deem it necessary to delay consideration of the order until the outcome of the current review is known.