HC Deb 08 September 2003 vol 410 c309W
Mr. Hayes

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on Government policy on animal welfare in the Intergovernmental Conference. [128182]

Mr. Bradshaw

At the Intergovernmental Conference, which starts in October, the Government will remain committed to maintaining a policy towards the EU that focuses on a Union that is more transparent, accountable and effective, and better able to deliver on issues which matter to its citizens. The aim of the IGC is to agree the European Convention's draft Constitutional Treaty before the June 2004 elections for the European Parliament.

With respect to animal welfare, we are pleased that the Protocol to the Treaty of Amsterdam has been retained in the new draft Treaty and will remain legally binding. The draft Treaty continues to recognise animals as sentient beings and requires full regard to be paid to their welfare when formulating and implementing policies.