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Slaughterhouses: Regulation

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to discuss the regulation of the slaughter of farm animals with his EU counterparts. (255536)

There are no plans to discuss the proposed regulation on the welfare of animals at the time of killing with EU Ministerial counterparts. Detailed discussions involving the UK and all other member states are currently taking place in a series of Council working group meetings. These provide an opportunity for the UK to comment and to discuss issues with other member states. The proposal will also be discussed at the Council of Ministers once an agreed text has been finalised.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will take steps to ensure that the derogation on the ritual slaughter of farm animals for human consumption will continue in any revision of EU Directive 93/119. (255537)

The Government would prefer to see all animals stunned before they are killed. However we do recognise the rights of religious communities to eat meat killed in accordance with their religious beliefs.

The European Commission has published a proposal for a regulation on the welfare of animals at the time of killing. If agreed, this will be directly applicable in every member state and will replace EU Directive 93/119 and all national legislation implementing it. The current Commission proposal includes a derogation allowing animals to be killed in accordance with religious rites without prior stunning. However the proposal gives individual member states the right to decide not to apply that derogation if they so wish.

We believe it is important to ensure member states retain the ability to determine this issue. We will therefore be seeking to ensure member state discretion on this point is retained in the final regulation. We will pursue this point in ongoing negotiations and when the proposal is discussed in Council.