New Clause 23 - Local abattoir networks

Part of Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 18 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 2:30, 18 Tachwedd 2021

The Government acknowledge the importance of local abattoirs to improving animal welfare through shorter journey times. We are committed to working with the industry to ensure that the UK maintains its high-quality slaughtering facilities. We need to find innovative solutions to address funding issues for small abattoirs.

I am pleased to report that the rural development programme is supporting a mobile abattoir project. The project is currently being trialled at two sites. One is at Fir Farm in Gloucestershire, which I had the pleasure of visiting with the chairman of the EFRA Committee and Lord Benyon earlier this summer; the other is at M.C. Kelly Farm in Devon. It was a very interesting pilot and I would be happy to discuss it with Members outside the Committee; it has thrown up issues that we will have to work through and resolve—that is the purpose of a pilot of course. We really do believe that this project will act as a model for future mobile abattoir sites.

We at DEFRA also chair the small abattoirs working group, which brings together industry representatives. We have initiated a series of smaller sub-groups to go into detailed discussions on how to reduce the regulatory burdens on smaller abattoirs. So far issues discussed include the new livestock information programme, the potential for streamlining the administrative and regulatory burden on small abattoirs and ways of ensuring greater co-ordination across Government agencies and abattoirs. I am looking at how a new group—for which I have two excellent chairs in mind—can oversee all this work and drive through the changes that we need in this area. I will continue to update Members as we progress through this work. Given those circumstances, I would ask that we do not vote on new clause 23.