HC Deb 26 January 1987 vol 109 cc125-6W
Mr. Hardy

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if, following the recent transport of sheep to Spain in breach of his Department's conditions, he will prohibit the export of farm animals for slaughter.

Mr. Donald Thompson

[pursuant to his reply, 23 January 1987]: Animals exported for slaughter must, immediately before the journey, be rested for at least 10 hours and offered food and water at any officially approved lairage. They may be exported only if they have been certified as fit to travel by one of my verterinary staff. Two-tier vehicles used for these exports are subject to approval by my Department, and the animals must be loaded in the presence of an official inspector. Licences are not issued for export of live food animals to Spain because that country has not yet implemented Community welfare safeguards.

As regards breaches of the conditions, I am aware that the RSPCA has recently successfully prosecuted a lairage manager for non-observance of the 10-hour rule. Detailed investigations following complaints have not revealed significant breaches of other requirements. Nevertheless, in the light of recent reports about exports of sheep the Government have imposed further conditions before export licences are issued. Exporters now have to supply written proof from the importer of the final destination and proposed feeding and watering arrangements on longer journeys, and undertake to provide confirmation from the importer after the journey of the time at which such feeding and watering took place and at which the animals arrived at their final destination.

A ban on the export of farm animals for slaughter would almost certainly contravene the treaty of Rome and the Government have no plans to introduce one.

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