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Animal Welfare

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what factors were taken into account when deciding which measures relating to animal welfare should be included in the Government's preferred options for the England Rural Development Programme 2007 to 2013; (72710)

(2) what assessment he has made of the impact on animal welfare standards of the preferred options for the England Rural Development Programme 2007 to 2013;

(3) whether he took account of the animal welfare measures to be included in the Rural Development Programmes for Wales and Scotland in determining the England Rural Development Programme 2007 to 2013.

The recent consultation on the priorities for the next Rural Development Programme for England was informed by our extensive analysis of economic, environmental and social issues facing rural areas.

In line with this principle, we proposed that the most effective way to use the next Rural Development Programme in England to address our animal health and welfare objectives, as part of our wider aim of making farming more competitive and sustainable, is through increased opportunities for training and knowledge transfer.

We shall make decisions on the priorities for the next Rural Development Programme in England in the light of the responses to the consultation, and in the context of the EU Rural Development budget allocations and our own discussions on the use of voluntary modulation and associated match funding.

There will continue to be separate Rural Development Programmes for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland for the new programming period, 2007-2013. This is necessary to reflect the different priorities and needs identified within each part of the UK.