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Cattle (Slaughtering Arrangements)

Volume 480: debated on Wednesday 15 November 1950

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58.

asked the Minister of Food whether in view of the increasing numbers of cattle awaiting slaughter and the congestion that results, with its consequent suffering to the animals, he will arrange for more slaughter houses to be built without delay.

I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. D. Marshall) on Monday, 6th November.

While not having access to that answer, as no doubt the Minister has—which is something to which I have drawn attention before—may I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear in mind that there are now only 600 slaughterhouses compared with 16,000 before the war? Therefore, how can there not be congestion and consequent suffering? Will he remove some of the restrictions that he has imposed?

There were not 16,000 slaughterhouses before the war, but 12,000, and some of these backyard slaughterhouses just did not bear examination.

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a great deal of suffering is caused to animals by their having to travel long distances? Will he do his best to alleviate the situation?

Before my right hon. Friend gives permission for the building of any more slaughterhouses, will he take a look at some of the slaughterhouses that were used prior to and in the early part of the war?

60.

asked the Minister of Food if he has considered particulars which have been sent to him concerning cruelty to animals and waste due to slaughtering of beasts under Government control; and if he will restore the right to butchers to do their own slaughtering.

I am having inquiries made about the information which the hon. Member has sent to me and will write to him as soon as possible, but I cannot accept the implication in his Question. On future slaughterhouse policy, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. D Marshall) on 6th November.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, due to Government control of a specialised industry, the waste of money and good food is appalling? Is he also aware that a butcher told me last week that he was no longer a butcher but a "cutter-up" of meat for the Government, and that he would like to get his knife into the Minister of Food?