Part of Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 16 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Ceidwadwyr, Penrith and The Border 10:30, 16 Tachwedd 2021

I declare an interest as a veterinary surgeon. I am not competent or experienced when it comes to treating or examining primates, and that is the nub of the point that the hon. Member for Cambridge is making. I am sympathetic to what he is saying.

When veterinary surgeons train, certainly in this country, they have the potential to practise on any species; they are described as being omnipotential. That is very different from being omnicompetent. The hon. Gentleman’s amendments are very sensible, but I respectfully disagree with the detailed wording. Committee members will recall the evidence we took from the president of the British Veterinary Association about the term “specialist”—unfortunately, the amendments contain the word “specialist”. In the veterinary world, that will conflate and confuse the issue. As the president of the BVA said, she is not a specialist as per the definitions, but she is experienced in zoo medicine, having worked in it for many years.

The intention behind the amendments is good and I strongly urge the Government to take the sentiment behind them and adapt it by not using the term “specialist”. Using the word “competent” and referring to a veterinarian who has the appropriate expertise or experience in the relevant species would be a helpful and sensible change. The people who look after such animals and inspect their premises need experience in dealing with them. The term “specialist” would rule out many people who have experience in looking after primates. If the Government could consider the amendment holistically and remove the word “specialist” and substitute it with “competent” and “experienced”, we would have a resolution of the issue.