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Animal Welfare

Volume 300: debated on Monday 10 November 1997

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To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what criteria he plans to use in determining whether to suspend or revoke an authorisation issued under the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997; and if he will make a statement. [13914]

A transporter can be removed from operating under a General Authorisation or a Specific Authorisation can be revoked or suspended in the event of repeated infringements against the Order or any one infringement which involves serious suffering to animals. These sanctions apply whether or not the infringement leads to a criminal conviction.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in how many cases he is currently considering suspension or revocation of an authorisation issued under the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997; and if he will make a statement. [13915]

The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 came into force on 1 July this year, with the Specific Authorisation Scheme operational from 1 October. We have not yet had cause to revoke or suspend any authorisations, but we have made it clear we will not hesitate to use these powers wherever appropriate.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what proposals he has to alter the minimum values system under which horses, donkeys and ponies are prevented from being sent for slaughter abroad; and if he will make a statement. [13916]

I have no plans to alter the legislation which requires a minimum valuation to be provided for specified categories of equines before a welfare export licence is issued.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to ensure that exported animals receive (a) a mid-journey break and (b) a 24-hour break once they have left the UK when such breaks are required by directive 95/29/EC; and if he will make a statement. [13920]

Enforcement of the rest period requirements of EU Directive 95/29 is the responsibility of the authorities of the member state in which a rest is required to take place. For their part, the Government ensure that exporters plan journeys in accordance with the EU rules, making such arrangements for rest periods as are required. We will not hesitate to use the sanctions provided by the Directive against transporters who are shown to have made false declarations about the journeys they have undertaken.