Skip to main content


Volume 486: debated on Monday 16 April 1951

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that suffering is being caused to animals by the Government's decision to close the smaller slaughterhouses; and whether he is now prepared to reconsider it.

I cannot agree that the closing of small slaughterhouses—which took place early in the war under the then Minister of Food—and the use of the larger and more efficient ones has caused more suffering to animals. On the contrary, it has meant many improvements. Many of the small pre-war slaughterhouses not now in use were quite inadequate, unhealthy and would be unsuitable for use now without costly repair and reconstruction. We are building two experimental slaughterhouses at Guildford and Fareham, and I hope soon to make a statement about the building of other new slaughterhouses.

Despite what the Minister said about the larger slaughterhouses, would he institute a more searching inquiry into this matter as very disturbing reports are reaching hon. Members about the cruelty which is practised in slaughterhouses today?

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider an alteration to the present rules about slaughtering casualty animals—animals which have broken legs, for instance—which have to be taken miles to slaughterhouses authorised by his Department?

That matter has been brought to my notice and we have looked into it. I should like further evidence. If evidence could be given on that subject we might be able to do something about it.

As the number of slaughterhouses has been cut down from 14,000 before the war to about 600 now, would the right hon. Gentleman not call a halt to the closing of further slaughterhouses—even though experimental slaughterhouses are being built—in view of the congestion of animals which is inevitable at present?

We are not closing any more. Last year we opened some and this year we are opening more. We are reversing the recent tendency.