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Animal Welfare

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations she has received about animal welfare with respect to compulsory ear tags in livestock. [124524]

We have recently consulted the pig. sheep and goat industry on proposed changes to the identification rules. The sheep and goat industry has expressed concern about the European Commission proposal to double tag lambs before 1 month of age. The pig industry has also expressed some concern about the proposal to implement the EU requirement to identify pigs before they leave the holding on which they were born with an ear tag or tattoo. We are considering the responses from industry.We take animal welfare issues very seriously when considering changes to livestock identification rules. It is important to use a suitable style and size of tag for the breed of animal and care needs to be taken on its application and to ensure that tags are applied by appropriately trained personnel in accordance with manufacturers instructions.