§ Lord Houghton of Sowerby
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) is failing to make any impact upon public concern on the several sectors of animal welfare (eg transport, intensive animal husbandry, and slaughter) compared with the relative success of the Select Committee of the House of Commons in the field of animal welfare in poultry, pig and veal calf production; and whether FAWC will publish a report of its work up to the present.
The Farm Animal Welfare Council was set up to advise Ministers. In its first two years it has made a most valuable contribution to the welfare of farm animals, a contribution which is reflected in the report of the House of Commons Agriculture Committee to which the noble Lord refers. The Farm Animal Welfare Council has advised Ministers on proposals to revise the legislation relating to the welfare of animals when being exported and when being transported by sea. It is at present considering proposals to revise the legislation on the transport of poultry by road and rail, and for a code of practice on the transport of farm animals and horses by air.
The council has carried out a detailed review of the codes of recommendations for the welfare of cattle and pigs and has advised Ministers on their revision. The council is currently actively reviewing the codes for domestic fowls and turkeys. The council has examined certain husbandry procedures involving the mutilation of farm animals and it has investigated the harvesting of antlers in velvet from live deer. Reports submitted to Ministers on both subjects have been published. The council has also decided to publicise the advice which it is submitting to Ministers on the European Commission's proposals for a directive laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens kept in battery cages. A review into the welfare of animals at the time of slaughter is now in progress and a report on the slaughter of poultry, which is to be published, will be submitted to Ministers very soon. The council has invited comments from interested parties and the public as the first step in a similar review related to red meat animals. The council decides in each case whether the reports or advice it submits to Ministers should be published.