§ Mr. David Nicholson
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what representations she has had on the cost and inconvenience to farmers arising from new regulations for slaughtering injured or fallen animals; and if she will make a statement.
§ Mr. Soames
The Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1992 require that if a "casualty" animal slaughtered outside an abattoir is to go for human consumption, it must receive an ante-mortem inspection from a veterinarian who should then observe the correct bleeding of the animal and certify the carcase.
There has been some concern about the logistical problems of getting the slaughterman and vet together on the farm at the same time and the associated costs of a failure to do so. We are considering the problem in the context of the review of the regulatory burdens which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has commissioned. In the meantime, I cannot advise anyone to ignore the law.
The welfare of the animal must be paramount. If it is necessary to prevent suffering, animals should be slaughtered on the spot even if this means that the carcase cannot be sold for human consumption.