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Volume 174: debated on Monday 18 June 1990

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the relative advantages which follow from the practice of requiring inspection of slaughterhouses by prior arrangement with the proprietor as against unannounced inspections; and if he will make a statement.

Local authorities (district councils) are responsible for the enforcement of hygiene and welfare legislation in slaughterhouses. Visits made by officers of the state veterinary service are for the purpose of providing advice to the local authority and are made in the company of local authority personnel. It is usual for visits to be arranged with the plant concerned as their purpose is served best if representatives of plant management are present. Unannounced visits may be made, however, in response to reports of problems at a plant.