Clause 22 - Power to extend Part 1

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:00 pm ar 16 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Amendment made: 25, in clause 22, page 11, line 31, leave out “Secretary of State” and insert “appropriate national authority”.—(Victoria Prentis.)

This amendment relates to the application of Part 1 to Wales. See the explanatory statement to Amendment 3.

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

I beg to move amendment 26, in clause 22, page 12, line 1, leave out from beginning to second “provision” in line 2 and insert

“The consequential, supplementary, or incidental provision that may be made under this section includes”.

This amendment is a drafting change that is consequential on the new clause about regulations.

Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Llafur, Gorllewin Abertawe

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Clause 23 stand part.

Clause 38 stand part.

Clause 49 stand part.

Government amendments 56 and 58.

Government new clause 3—Regulations.

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

New clause 3  brings provisions relating to the parliamentary procedures that must be used when making regulations under parts 1, 2 and 3 into one clause that will be inserted into part 4.  At the appropriate times, I will move that clauses 23, 38 and 49 should not stand part of the Bill. Amendment 26 makes minor changes, all of which are consequential on the removal of clauses 23, 38 and 49 and the introduction of new clause 3.

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

I find this set of amendments baffling. I would welcome an explanation from the Minister as to why it was necessary to bring forward these amendments to the Government’s own Bill and what that means, not least because clause 22 seems to give the Government permission to extend the licensing system to any other kind of wild animal. I am not sure why they want that power. It is important that that is explained. As I argued earlier, the fact that everything will be done by regulation leads us to wonder what is planned and how it might be challenged in future. An explanation would be welcome.

Members of the Committee may have read the memorandum to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. It is quite helpful on this Bill. I am struck by the fact that these amendments are subsequent to that memorandum. Is there a revised memorandum, and when might we see it?

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

I may have misunderstood the hon. Gentleman, but I fear that he may have got ahead of himself again in talking about clause 22. With your permission, Mr Davies, I will deal with clause 22 stand part later. New clause 3 and amendment 26 merely bring the Bill into line with itself, as amended. Clauses 23, 38 and 49 will be removed, so we have made insertions to make that operable. I fear that the hon. Gentleman was talking about the power to introduce regulations to regulate the keeping of other wild animals. Is that right?

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

On the clauses that we are now discussing, we have carefully considered the parliamentary procedures. All powers to make regulations should be subject to the affirmative procedure. I hope that the hon. Gentleman and the rest of the Committee are happy with that.

Amendment 26 agreed to.

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

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

I have heard what the hon. Gentleman said. This clause provides the Secretary of State with a power to introduce regulations to amend part 1 of the Bill to regulate the keeping of other wild animals. The power will allow the provisions to be extended to other kinds of wild animals that are not normally domesticated in Great Britain. The use of this power would be dependent on our gathering significant evidence in support of extending the primate provisions to another type of kept wild animal. It is quite clear that the Secretary of State is required to consult appropriate persons before making regulations.

The Government do not have any immediate plans to extend the measures in the Bill to other wild animals, and the power will be used only when there is evidence to show that Government intervention is necessary to ensure that the complex welfare needs of an animal are met. It is in the Bill that the Secretary of State will consult relevant experts before using the power, which ensures that we can prevent other wild species from suffering as pets and being kept in inappropriate conditions. We can ensure that any further regimes are in line with the primates licensing regime. Environmental non-governmental organisations have expressed considerable support for the extension of this regime to other kept wild animals, should the need arise.

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

I am grateful to the Minister for her explanation. To go back to points I made earlier, we seem to be designing a licensing system for a relatively small number of cases and then, at the end of the discussion, saying, “Ah, yes. This can also be used in wider circumstances.” That seems to be the wrong way round, and I think we will have the same discussion a bit further down the line on the extensive changes to the regulations applying to dogs. Although I do not necessarily have any objection to that, it is a curious way of proceeding. To some extent, it would have altered the discussion on Second Reading or more widely if people had known that the Government were setting up a new system, which is fine, but this started off being about primates.

Although we will not oppose the clause, I observe that it seems, from my conversations with organisations in the world outside, that they are not entirely clear what the provision is about. As one always says in these circumstances, I have no doubt that Ministers are well intentioned, but not all their successors may be. There is a considerable power to set up a new system for a whole range of animals well beyond primates.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 22, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 23 disagreed to.