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Animal Welfare

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if he will make a statement on the animal welfare enforcement database; (127367)

(2) what discussions he has had with (a) the Home Office, (b) the Department for Constitutional Affairs and (c) the Information Commissioner regarding the animal welfare enforcement database.

DEFRA Ministers and officials have not yet discussed this issue with the Home Office, the Court Service or the Information Commissioner. However, we do see merit in establishing a central database for enforcers to access information such as details of convictions for offences relating to animals, disqualifications from keeping an animal, and certain records relating to previous licences. At present, there is no central record of those subject to disqualification orders and this is regarded as a significant handicap to effective law enforcement. The database could also contain a register of specialist experts, which would ideally be accessible to enforcers.