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Written Question
Animals: Electric Shock Equipment
Thursday 3rd February 2022

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the welfare implications of ther baiting of electrified fences used to keep animals in or out of defined areas.

Answered by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park - Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

In England, wildlife is protected by law through legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Section 11 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits certain methods of killing or taking wild animals. Under subsection 2(c), a person will be guilty of an offence if they set in position any electrical device for killing or stunning, calculated to cause bodily injury to any wild animal included in Schedule 6 of that Act, such as badgers and hedgehogs. It is also an offence under regulation 45 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 to use electrical and electronic devices capable of killing or stunning, for the purpose of capturing or killing a European protected species, or for any of the protected species listed on Schedule 4 of those Regulations.

The Government has not made a specific assessment of the welfare implications of the baiting of electrified fences.


Written Question
Wild Boar
Thursday 8th August 2019

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to monitor the numbers and distribution of feral boar in the UK; and what steps are being taken to control their numbers.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

Wildlife management in the UK is a devolved issue.

In England, the majority of feral wild boar are thought to reside within the Forest of Dean. This public forest estate is managed by the Forestry Commission which undertakes an annual population survey of the feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean public estate, the results of which are on their website.

Forestry England rangers cull feral wild boar in the Forest of Dean public estate to stop the growth of the population.

On other land, feral wild boar population management is the responsibility of the landowner. The Government can support landowners by providing advice.


Written Question
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Statutory Instruments
Tuesday 5th March 2019

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many statutory instruments in total the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) has laid before Parliament, and (2) is planning to lay, in relation to the UK leaving the EU; and how many such instruments have been approved by Parliament to date.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

Defra has already laid a substantial number of the statutory instruments necessary in order to maintain a fully functioning statute book for our departure from the EU.

As of 4 March, in relation to the UK leaving the EU, we have laid a total of 114 statutory instruments (23 of which were on behalf of Northern Ireland) before Parliament, and plan to lay a further 11 (3 on behalf of Northern Ireland). We have made a total of 63 SIs.


Written Question
Poultry: Slaughterhouses
Tuesday 13th December 2016

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what (1) currents, (2) frequencies, (3) waveforms, and (4) current type, AC or DC, are used in the electrical waterbath stunning of chickens; and whether they are satisfied that the parameters used cause loss of consciousness without pain and that this loss of consciousness is maintained until death.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The parameters, such as the currents and frequencies to be used for the electrical waterbath stunning of chickens, are set down in Annex I of European Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. These parameters are based on a Scientific Opinion from the Animal Health and Welfare Panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

It is a requirement of domestic and European law that stunning must be effective in rendering the animal unconscious and insensible to pain and that the animal must remain unconscious until death.


Written Question
Animals: Post-mortems
Tuesday 8th November 2016

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each year since 2012, what is the number of (1) carcases, and (2) diagnostic samples, submitted to each of the Veterinary Investigation Centres and contractor post-mortem examination facilities.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The number of carcases submitted to each of the Veterinary Investigation Centres and contractor post-mortem examination facilities for each year from 2012 to 27 October 2016 is shown in Table 1 attached.

The number of diagnostic samples submitted to each of the Veterinary Investigation Centres and contractor post-mortem examination facilities for each year from 2012 to 27 October 2016 is shown in Table 2 attached.

It should also be noted that since 2012 the number of Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and non-APHA facilities has changed as a result of ‘Surveillance 2014’, the public consultation, Ministerial agreements and subsequent APHA project that made changes to the way veterinary scanning surveillance is delivered in England and Wales. As part of this some of the former Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Regional Laboratory sites closed and the non-APHA facilities began operations from late 2014 to provide post-mortem examination (PME) services only. However, in addition to carcase submissions to the non-APHA contractor PME facilities, a small number of non-carcase diagnostic samples have also been received at these facilities.


Written Question
Animals: Post-mortems
Tuesday 8th November 2016

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the number of carcases and diagnostic samples submitted to each of the Veterinary Investigation Centres and contractor post-mortem examination facilities in each year since 2012 is representative of the animal populations in the areas they cover.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The main aim of scanning surveillance activities performed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the five non-APHA post-mortem examination partners in England and Wales is the timely detection and investigation of animal-related new and re-emerging diseases and threats in livestock and wildlife species. The representativeness of these surveillance activities with regard to the animal populations in the areas that they cover varies, and this is subject to a number of factors. Furthermore, scanning surveillance activities performed to achieve the main aim comprise more than just the throughputs and examination of carcases and diagnostic samples.

The Surveillance Intelligence Unit of the APHA, which was established in 2014, now monitors engagement with the surveillance network and maps this by species as a ratio of each livestock population. The engagement across England and Wales is not uniform. Areas of higher livestock density for a particular species tend to have higher engagement ratios. The Quarterly Emerging Threats reports are available on the Government’s website on the APHA animal disease surveillance reports page.


Written Question
Marine Protected Areas
Friday 3rd June 2016

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to require all abattoirs to have CCTV recordings of the slaughter process in the interests of animal welfare, and to require storage of such recordings and access to them by third parties.

Answered by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The primary responsibility for protecting animal welfare in slaughterhouses rests with business operators, who must have operating procedures in place to prevent animals suffering avoidable pain, suffering and distress. Business operators must also have appropriate monitoring procedures in place.

The vast majority of animals are slaughtered in slaughterhouses which have CCTV present, so the Government is not currently persuaded of the case for introducing regulation which would require all abattoirs to have CCTV, but we are keeping the issue under review.

In their report last year, the Farm Animal Welfare Committee recommended that CCTV should be retained, by the slaughterhouse, for a period of at least three months and the Government supports that recommendation. Official Veterinarians of the Food Standards Agency are present in all approved slaughterhouses to monitor and ensure operators comply with strict animal welfare regulations and have the power to seize CCTV footage if they suspect a breach of welfare standards.


Written Question
Animal Welfare: Prosecutions
Monday 16th March 2015

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prosecutions were made under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in the last year for which complete records are available; and who instigated those prosecutions.

Answered by Lord De Mauley

1,894 defendants were proceeded against at magistrates’ courts in England and Wales for offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 in 2013 (latest available).

The Ministry of Justice court proceedings database cannot separately identify whether or not a prosecution is brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, or by a private authority. This information may be held by the relevant courts in England and Wales, and can only be discerned at disproportionate cost.


Written Question
Reptiles
Monday 16th March 2015

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to encourage adoption of the Code of Practice for Reptiles developed by the British Veterinary Zoological Society.

Answered by Lord De Mauley

I am delighted that the hard work and co-operation of keepers, industry and welfare organisations has led to the development of the Good Practice Guidelines for the Welfare of Privately Kept Reptiles and Amphibians. Along with the six care sheets for six of the commonly kept species, we hope this code will provide valuable information to promote the welfare of these animals and encourage keepers to source captive bred animals wherever possible. The Government will explore with the interested parties how the code can be best promoted. I am placing copies of the documents in the libraries of the House.


Written Question
Birds of Prey
Thursday 17th July 2014

Asked by: Lord Trees (Crossbench - Life peer)

Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to trigger a European Union referral procedure for the drug diclofenac in view of its recent registration in two Member States of the European Union and its toxicity to vultures.

Answered by Lord De Mauley

Authorisation of a veterinary medicine involves an assessment of the benefits of a product against its risks. Potential risks include risks to the animal, to the user, the consumer and to the environment. The environmental risk is assessed to establish the extent of exposure. If the environmental exposure is not extensive, then no further assessment is required. Without exposure, there is no risk irrespective of the toxicity. If there is information in the public domain to indicate that despite low exposure there may be a potential risk, then the competent authority – the body that authorises veterinary medicines - can request a further assessment of the issues identified.

Products containing Diclofenac are a risk to vultures if there is any exposure of the birds to carcasses of animals containing residues of the veterinary medicine. The toxicity of Diclofenac to vultures is well documented. In Europe there are laws which provide for the disposal of fallen stock. The risk of exposure is therefore minimal as dead farmed animals are not left in the fields. Risk mitigation measures (instructions to the users) could be used to eliminate exposure by instructing users not to feed carcasses of animals treated with Diclofenac to vultures. This is something for the competent authorities of those Member States that have authorised the veterinary use of Diclofenac. The Government has no evidence that there is a serious risk to vultures posed by the authorisation of Diclofenac and therefore does not plan to trigger a referral procedure.