§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he has received the communication from the hon. Member for Newham, North-West enclosing a letter from the Secretary of the Newtown branch of the Newham North-West Labour Party protesting about the ritual slaughter of animals according to the Islamic and Jewish religious practices; and whether he will take steps to control ritual slaughter.
§ Mr. Wiggin
My right hon. Friend received the hon. Member's letter of 9 July. The Slaughterhouses Act 1974, which provides exemption from the prestunning requirement for Jewish and Muslim slaughter, already contains safeguards which are enforced by local authorities. In particular, it requires that slaughter must take place without the infliction of unnecessary suffering, that slaughtermen of either faith must hold a706W normal slaughterman's licence issued by a local authority and in addition that a Jewish slaughterman must hold a licence from the Rabbinical Commission. We have no plans to propose an amendment to these provisions.