The vast majority of livestock slaughtered in England will have been reared in the United Kingdom. A small number, including some spent hens, are from the Republic of Ireland, and a very small number will be imported from mainland Europe for slaughter rather than for breeding purposes.
I thank the Minister for his response. The transport of livestock over long distances can cause unnecessary suffering and distress. Does he agree that where possible the slaughter of animals should be done locally, to avoid that distress and long transportation?
I think that most people entirely agree with my hon. Friend, and certainly I do. We want to encourage the slaughtering of animals locally wherever possible. Not only is it good for welfare reasons, it is good for local employment and fits in with local food, which we all want to encourage.