HL Deb 14 May 1981 vol 420 cc682-4WA
Lord Houghton of Sowerby

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress they have made towards the fulfilment of their election manifesto on animal welfare.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Ferrers)

Her Majesty's Government have given whole-hearted support to the proposal for a European Community directive designed to develop the provisions of Directive 77–489 on the protection of farm animals during international transport, and have played a very active part in Brussels in the preparation of this directive. We expect it to be adopted shortly.

The Farm Animal Welfare Council, which we appointed, is reviewing the welfare codes for farm animals in the light of developments since the Brambell Committee reported. The rules relating to the export of live food animals have been re-examined: the Farm Animal Welfare Council and interested parties have been consulted and two new statutory instruments are being prepared, one of which will include among its provisions a prohibition on the export of farm animals which have given birth during the preceding 48 hours. The other order will update and extend the current provisions relating to the welfare of farm animals carried by water.

After advice from the Farm Animal Welfare Council, we introduced orders which have prohibited the removal of antlers in velvet from live farmed deer.

We are actively engaged in the discussions at Strasbourg, which are to be resumed from 12th-15th May, on the preparation of a Council of Europe convention for the protection of vertebrate animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department is now studying the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Animal Experiments which he has received. It remains our intention to move forward towards modernising and improving the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876.

House adjourned at eighteen minutes past seven o'clock.