Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill

George Howarth Excerpts
Monday 5th December 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Westminster Hall
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Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn
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I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for his intervention. I hope that the Minister has heard that representation loud and clear: if that is a block, I hope my right hon. Friend’s remarks have made clear that it should not be.

First, let me delve into live animal exports in a bit more detail. Live animals are exported to EU countries from the UK for breeding, fattening and slaughter. The concern from many is that during that process, animals undergo dehydration, starving and exhaustion and often end up as the victims of very cruel actions that are already illegal in the UK. Our departure from the European Union makes it possible to ban live animal exports. I am aware that there are mixed feelings about the proposals in the farming community, and I am sure that that has added to the delay. Concerns about the impacts that the ban could have on trade and business are, of course, valid, but I hope the Minister will be able to share some of the work his Department has done to address those concerns, and some of the mitigation measures that could be introduced to ensure we improve animal welfare while protecting businesses.

George Howarth Portrait Sir George Howarth (Knowsley) (Lab)
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I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on securing the debate. I am sure that he, like me and many other Members, will have had representations from his constituents on the specific issue of the export of animals for slaughter. Does he agree that the strength of feeling on the issue is such that it needs to be dealt with as a matter of some urgency?

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn
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I absolutely agree with the right hon. Gentleman. I have certainly had that correspondence, and I am sure many colleagues will speak about the level of correspondence they have received from their constituents who feel so passionately that live animal exports are a cruel practice that should not be taking place.

Next, I want to move on to puppy smuggling. We have had debates in the Chamber about that topic and, as many colleagues will be aware, campaigners have been calling to an end to puppy smuggling and other dubious practices for many years. It has been debated, Ministers have answered parliamentary questions, there has been a major Committee inquiry and multiple drop-in events and campaign emails have been organised on the subject.