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Animal Welfare

Volume 401: debated on Thursday 20 March 2003

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What steps she is taking to prevent imports of products containing cat and dog fur. [103882]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
(Miss Melanie Johnson)

The Government are investigating the possibilities for the labelling of any products containing domestic cat or dog fur. This will give consumers the information they need about what they are buying and enable the Government better to determine levels of imports.

I am pleased to see that my hon. Friend is aware of the concerns of people such as Sarah O'Leary in Plymouth and of the Western Morning News. Does she share their revulsion at this vile trade, in which cats and dogs are beaten and clubbed to death for fur for toys and ornaments? Will she do everything she can to bring this awful trade to an end?

I would like to commend the campaign of the Western Morning News and the work that my hon. Friend and others are doing. The Government are serious about addressing cruelty to animals in third countries that do not have the same high welfare standards as the United Kingdom. My noble friend the Minister for Trade and Investment will meet interested non—governmental organisations and the relevant industry associations in the next month or so, to discuss their views on labelling. She has undertaken to report back on progress before the summer recess.

I welcome the Minister's initiatives on cat and dog fur, but there are many long—established and legitimate mink furrier industries in the UK, many of which are in my constituency. What discussions are taking place with the Home Office to ensure that such people can go about their legitimate business?

:I am sure that the Home Office is undertaking its duties in respect of these matters, as it always should.