HC Deb 13 June 1995 vol 261 c512W
Ms Glenda Jackson

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many slaughterhouses in the United Kingdom have failed to reach the required standards of hygiene and animal welfare in the years 1994–95. [26956]

Mrs. Browning

Where hygiene falls below the required standards, action depends on the circumstances of the case and will range from discussions—confirmed in writing—with slaughterhouse operators explaining the specific deficiencies and suggesting improvements in working practices and equipment, to the refusal or revocation of licences. In the 1994–95 financial year in the UK we acted to refuse or revoke 19 licences on hygiene grounds, of which 11 were subsequently relicensed.

The state veterinary service made 1,982 visits to licensed red meat and poultry slaughterhouses in Great Britain last year and 206 visits to unlicensed poultry premises in England and Wales at which welfare was monitored. Figures for visits to unlicensed premises in Scotland are not available. In 17 cases—three licensed and 14 unlicensed premises—conditions were found which warranted welfare advice to be given. Where necessary, follow-up visits are made to ensure that the advice is acted upon.

In Northern Ireland departmental veterinary staff on permanent duty at meat plants regard animal welfare as a priority. Advice is provided when necessary and on no occasions were conditions found to be unacceptable.