§ Mr. Greenway
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will report on the consultations with representative horse organisations and veterinary bodies about stallion licensing.
§ Mr. Peter Walker
The extensive consultations set in train in 1981 have now been concluded. Many breed societies argued that the standards of their own schemes were more suited to modern conditions than those of the Horse Breeding Act. A substantial majority of horse organisations together with the veterinary bodies believed that statutory stallion licensing had outlived its usefulness and that the Act should now be repealed.
These views are entirely in accordance with the Government's policy of relinquishing control over natural service. Legislative proposals will be brought before the House as soon as practicable.
For the interim my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland and Wales and I have aimed to meet the industry's views by making an amendment to the horse breeding rules whereby the age at which a stallion should be licensed is raised from two to five years. This will have the effect of postponing further licensing pending the introduction of the necessary legislation. The order will take effect from 2 July 1982.
The Agricultural Ministers in Great Britain wish to thank the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the British Veterinary Association and the horse organisations for the full co-operation which has been freely afforded during the seven months in which the consultations have been in progress.