Part of Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:45 am ar 16 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:45, 16 Tachwedd 2021

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his expertise. When I looked through the amendments last night, I sighed, realising that he was very likely to make exactly the point he has just made.

I hope the Minister has heard the broad gist of what has been said. We do not know the numbers who will come forward through the licensing system, but even if it were the upper limit of 5,000, there are, I am told, 10.8 million cats in the UK. That gives one a sense of how likely it is for any individual vet to be asked to provide an opinion on these cases and it offers a comparison with what they do in their normal daily work.

Amendment 110 is as drafted on the amendment paper, but there may be scope down the line to revisit the issue. It is important that we get this right. We can help local authorities by making sure that the Government sort out a list of people who have the necessary skills. As I have already hinted, I worry that the average district council will consider the issue and wonder how it will cope with the provisions in the Bill. Clearly there are parts of the country where zoos and rescue centres have the necessary experience, but there will be other parts where they do not. If they came up against an application, they would struggle and it would make it far simpler if the Government did what we are suggesting and compiled a list of the names of competent veterinary surgeons and zoo inspectors who have the skills to carry out the work.

Despite the suggestions from the hon. Gentleman, we think the issue is sufficiently important for us to push it to a vote. We know what the outcome will be, but we want to put it on the record that the Government should take another look at the issue. When the Bill is passed, we hope it will have been improved in this regard.