HL Deb 21 July 1982 vol 433 cc962-3WA
Lord Northfield

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In how many instances the Farm Animal Welfare Council has given specific advice to the Government since it was set up; and which advice has been rejected.

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

Since it was set up in June 1979, the Farm Animal Welfare Council has submitted advice on the following topics to the agriculture Ministers in Great Britain, who have responded as indicated:

The Harvesting of antlers in velvet from live farmed deer

In April 1980, the council advised Ministers that, except as first aid or for therapeutic purposes carried out by a veterinary surgeon, the practice should be prohibited. The council's advice, which was published, was accepted and appropriate regulations were made.

Control of Rams Regulations 1952

The council was consulted late in 1980 about proposals to revoke these regulations. Although their advice, which was submitted to Ministers in February 1981, was that the regulations performed a useful welfare function, Ministers subsequently decided, on the balance of all the evidence considered, to proceed with revocation.

Further controls over the mutilation of farm animals

In July 1981, a number of recommendations for the regulations of mutilations of farm animals were submitted to Ministers and published. In the light of their subsequent consultations on the recommendations, Ministers recently asked the council to give further consideration to one point.

Codes of recommendations for the welfare of livestock (Welfare Codes)

The council submitted to Ministers in July 1981 revised versions of the welfare codes for cattle and pigs. In the light of their subsequent consultations on the proposed codes, Ministers have recently asked the council for further advice on a few points relating to the proposed pigs code, whilst accepting the majority of the council's recommendations.

The council submitted revised versions of the welfare codes for domestic fowls and turkeys in June 1982. Ministers are initiating the statutory consultations on these proposals.

Export of farm animals

The council advised Ministers on proposals by the agricultural departments for new legislation incorporating added safeguards to protect the welfare of exported farm animals and also on an associated code of practice for the case of farm animals in Government-approved export lairages. This advice was accepted in January 1981. The Export of Animals (Protection) Order 1981 was made, and the code of practice was issued, later that year.

Transport of farm animals

The council has submitted its advice on a new order which was proposed by the agriculture departments to govern the sea transport of farm animals, and on an associated code of practice on the "roll-on/roll-off" transport of farm animals and horses. This advice is under consideration by Ministers, who hope to respond shortly.

Welfare of poultry at the time of slaughter

In January 1982, the council offered detailed advice in a published report on this subject. Ministers have consulted interested parties on the report and are currently considering it further in the light of the reactions of those consulted.

European Commission proposals for a directive laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens kept in battery cages

In September 1981, the council gave its advice to Ministers on the line which it would like to see adopted. This was not wholly accepted for the reasons which were explained during the debate in another place on 17th November 1981.

Deer (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 1982

The council's advice to Ministers on one clause in this Private Member's Bill was to resist proposals to exclude farmed deer from the close season. This advice was reported to the Standing Committee in another place, which subsequently decided to proceed with an amendment to exclude farmed deer in Scotland from the close season.

Statements on research and development and electro-immobilisation

The council has recently published statements on research and development relating to farm animal welfare and on the technique of electro-immobilisation. These statements are addressed to others as well as to Government, but Ministers are considering their implications to the extent that they are directed to Government.