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Farm Animal Welfare

Volume 116: debated on Monday 11 May 1987

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asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what measures the Government have taken since 1979 to improve the welfare of farm animals.

[pursuant to his reply, 8 May 1987]: We have set up the Farm Animal Welfare Council, which has carried out wide ranging studies into welfare on the farm, in transit, at markets and at slaughter. Its current studies include the transport of animals and pig production systems.We have sponsored the Animal Health and Welfare Act 1984, have made regulations to protect poultry at the point of slaughter, to stop unnecessary mutilations on the farm, to ban the tooth grinding of sheep, to protect animals in intensive units, and to safeguard welfare on export. We have also made new welfare codes for cattle, pigs, domestic fowls, turkeys, ducks and rabbits, commissioned research into various aspects of the slaughter of poultry and red meat animals, and supported work on alternative systems of poultry husbandry.We have announced a forthcoming ban on the veal crate system of calf rearing and have embarked on a major rationalisation of the legislation on welfare in transit. A new code on welfare at slaughter is now being prepared.Within Europe we have secured the adoption of further Community rules on welfare in transit and mandatory standards for battery hens. We have also played an active part within the Council of Europe in the formulation of welfare standards for hens, cattle and pigs.