Clause 40 - General interpretation

Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:14 pm ar 16 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 3:14, 16 Tachwedd 2021

I beg to move amendment 37, in clause 40, page 23, line 32, at end insert—

“‘enclosed deer’ means any deer so long as they are being kept for business purposes on land enclosed by a barrier intended to prevent their escape;”

This amendment and related Amendment 42 are drafting changes.

Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Llafur, Gorllewin Abertawe

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government amendments 38 to 42, and 44 and 45

Amendment 88, in clause 42, page 25, line 17, at end insert—

“(f) adult poultry.”

This amendment would add adult poultry to the list of livestock species that may not be exported for slaughter.

Amendment 87, in clause 42, page 25, line 17, at end insert—

“(7A) An appropriate national authority may by regulations extend the definition of ‘relevant livestock’ in subsection (7).”

This amendment would enable an appropriate national authority to extend the list of the livestock species that may not be exported for slaughter.

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

Government amendments 37 to 42 make minor and technical drafting changes to the definition of “livestock” that applies in part 2 of the Bill. The definition is intended to cover the types of animals that are kept in agricultural settings and may be vulnerable to attacks from dogs.

I do not believe that amendments 87 and 88, tabled by the hon. Member for Cambridge, are necessary. The definition of “relevant livestock” in clause 42 is drafted to cover all species that might be exported for slaughter or fattening. I have tabled Government amendments 40 and 41 to clarify that definition further.

We carried out a wide-ranging consultation on banning live exports and received no evidence at all that a ban on poultry was necessary. There are no exports of poultry for slaughter or fattening from Great Britain to the EU. Poultry exports are either for breeding or other purposes not covered by the ban, such as exhibition. There have been no such exports of poultry for several years.

There are significant exports from Great Britain to the EU of day-old chicks, however, which are transported for breeding. Those movements do not generate major welfare concerns. The chicks are transported in high-welfare conditions, with a yolk sac or the equivalent gel for them to receive nourishment during the course of their journey. We have looked at this matter extensively and do not have welfare worries about the transportation of day-old chicks.

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

I hear what the Minister says, and we appreciate that there are no exports at the moment, but we do not quite see why the Government would not want to cover the export of adult poultry or give themselves the potential to change things in the future, which amendment 88 would allow them to do.

Looking back at our discussions on previous clauses, it is quite clear that the Government want—sensibly, in my view—to future-proof the legislation and give themselves and future Governments the opportunity to amend legislation. In fact, the delegated powers memorandum repeatedly makes the point that one of the problems with past legislation is that it has not been able to keep up with changing circumstances. In the modern world, given the uncertainties around our trading relationships, it is really hard to know how trading patterns will develop.

It is curious that we would not want to include adult poultry, which are just as capable as other animals of suffering poor health and welfare caused by long-distance transportation. I have been advised that a 2017 paper by Wageningen University & Research studied the transportation of live poultry for slaughter. It found that:

“During the transport, birds with broken bones suffer from pain, are not able to stand up and reach water supply, are stepped upon by other birds, and are prone to die”.

Clearly, that is the transport of adult poultry rather than export, but we cannot necessarily conclude that there will be no such trade in future. We have tabled amendment 88 because we cannot see why the Government would not want to include adult poultry. The Minister says that is not needed, but I cannot see why we would not include it when we have the opportunity.

In the future, science may well develop in such a way to show that a number of other species suffer from these problems in transport. Amendment 87 would give the Government the opportunity to future-proof legislation in a way I have suggested. However, these are essentially probing amendments and we will not push them to a vote.

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

I think I have made my point, which is that there are, in fact, no poultry exports. In many ways it would be lovely if the Government could take all powers on to themselves for evermore, but I fear when we overreach in legislation. The fact that there have been no poultry exports for several years makes me feel that we should not take powers when we do not need them.

Amendment 37 agreed to.

Amendments made: 38, in clause 40, page 23, line 37, at end insert—

““enclosed wild boar” means any wild boar so long as they are being kept on land enclosed by a barrier intended to prevent their escape;”

This amendment and Amendment 41 provide that paragraph (g) of the definition of “livestock” covers only wild boar that are enclosed.

Amendment 39, in clause 40, page 23, line 39, leave out paragraph (a) and insert—

“(a) cattle and other bovine animals,”

This amendment simplifies paragraph (a) of the definition of “livestock”, and ensures that it includes steers.

Amendment 40, in clause 40, page 23, line 40, leave out from “horses” to end of line and insert “and other equine animals”

This amendment simplifies paragraph (b) of the definition of “livestock”.

Amendment 41, in clause 40, page 24, line 5, after “or” insert “enclosed”

See the explanatory statement to Amendment 38.

Amendment 42, in clause 40, page 24, line 8, leave out paragraph (j) and insert—

“(j) enclosed deer;”—

This amendment and related Amendment 37 are drafting changes.

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

The clause sets out the definitions for terms used in part 2. They include definitions for agricultural land and livestock. The clause also provides the Secretary of State with the power to amend, through regulations, the definition of livestock for part 2 where that might be necessary.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 40, as amended, accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.