§ Lord Brougham and Vaux
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their position regarding the recent lobby of Parliament on animal welfare organised by Compassion in World Farming.
§ Baroness Trumpington
We welcome the widest possible debate on the vitally important issue of animal welfare.
The Government are pressing for improved welfare standards to be adopted throughout the European Community. We are currently seeking in the Council important new welfare safeguards for pigs and calves. Among our objectives in these negotiations are to secure the phasing out of unacceptable husbandry systems, as recommended by the Farm Animal Welfare Council, and to extend throughout the Community our ban on the close confinement of veal calves in crates.
The parliamentary lobby highlighted the concern about transport conditions for farm livestock. The Government fully share this concern.
We cannot, as has been suggested, ban exports of live animals under Article 6 of the Treaty of Rome, as there is already Community law on the protection of animals during international transport. It is most important, however, to ensure that all animal transport is carried out with proper regard to welfare, and the Government will be negotiating to this end in discussions on the Commission's proposals for new Community measures on protection of animals in transport, whether to, from or between member states.
Special rules are proposed for animals going for slaughter. The Government will be pressing particularly here for agreement to maintain our controls on trade in horses for slaughter.
The Government welcome any support from those concerned with animal welfare for its efforts to achieve practicable and enforceable welfare safeguards in the Community.