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Animal Welfare

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government have taken to ensure the welfare of animals held in quarantine facilities in the last 12 months. (261472)

[holding answer 10 March 2009]: The welfare of animals held in quarantine is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a Duty of Care to animals—this means that anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animal's needs are met.

These include the need for a suitable environment; for a suitable diet; to exhibit normal behaviour patterns; to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable), and to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

Every approved quarantine premises must have a veterinary presence six days a week. It is the Veterinary Superintendent's responsibility to monitor the welfare of animals in quarantine and take any necessary action to prevent suffering.