Clause 16 - Determination of applications

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:00 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) 11:00, 16 Tachwedd 2021

I beg to move amendment 113, in clause 16, page 9, line 15, leave out ‘put down’ and insert ‘humanely euthanised’.

This amendment would bring the language in the Bill in line with existing animal welfare legislation.

This is not a complicated change; it is self-explanatory. In my correspondence with animal welfare organisations, they expressed their misgivings about the use of the term “put down” in the Bill. I am told that currently the wording used in the majority of animal welfare legislation, including the Animal Welfare Act 2006, is “humanely destroyed”. However, I have had conversations with the RSPCA, and it suggests the most suitable language would be “humanely euthanised”, as that, I am reliably informed, is the correct veterinary term. This is a fairly technical amendment, and I hope that if colleagues want to ensure the accuracy and suitability of the technical language in the Bill, the amendment might be fairly uncontroversial. I have never had a successful amendment in Committee, so I am hoping this may finally be it.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I am so sorry to disappoint the hon. Gentleman. It is already the case that when an animal is euthanised—this is an awful subject to be discussing—it must be done humanely. Under section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is already an offence to cause an animal unnecessary suffering, and that includes the method of the animal’s death. Therefore, it is not necessary to specify that primates must be euthanised humanely, though, of course, all of us here feel they should. I ask the hon. Member to withdraw his amendment.

Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Ceidwadwyr, Penrith and The Border

Again, I am sympathetic to the hon. Member for Cambridge and understand his intention. We have to be sensitive about the language when euthanasing animals. In different contexts, we use different terms. In small animal practice, “put down” and “put to sleep” are often used. In the equine profession, where I have spent many years, we will not use “put down”, but will often use “euthanased”. I take on board the hon. Gentleman’s comments that in some of the legislation “humanely destroyed” has been used, which is often used in clinical and scientific literature.

To the Government, I say that in considering changing the terminology, I disagree with the hon. Gentleman and would not prefer “euthanised”. If we look at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ website and the section on euthanasia, we often use the term “euthanased”, in that a vet euthanases an animal. There is that matter of semantics. In America, they talk about “euthanatizing” and “euthanizing”. I cannot support “humanely euthanised” for some of the reasons I have just given and I suggest that “humanely euthanased” would be a suitable substitution. I wish the Government would have a look at this to get to more clinical and scientific language.

Photo of Daniel Zeichner Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. His expertise is extremely helpful to the Committee and shows how complicated this is. Clause 16(2)(c) is just too aggressive in this context. While I accept the Minister’s explanation of the legal situation, I cannot see why that cannot be put in a different way, given the kind of creatures we are dealing with. I suspect the Minister agrees, but she has to do what she has to do. We are not going to push this to a vote to embarrass people—there is no point—but if there is an opportunity, perhaps it could be amended at some further point in the process. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The clause will help to ensure compliance with the new licensing system, and provide local authorities with a better ability to enforce higher standards of animal welfare. I urge that it stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 16 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.