Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC)

  During my evidence, I discussed FAWCs concerns about the welfare implications of breeding strategies currently being used in agriculture. I expressed the view of FAWC that this has a greater negative impact on the welfare of farm animals than the acts of omission or commission which producers may, from time to time, be guilty of. The Chairman invited my expansion on this point and, in response, I now enclose 20 copies of the recent FAWC Report on the "Welfare Implications of Animal Breeding and Breeding Technologies in Commercial Agriculture". I would be grateful if they could be distributed to the members of the Committee since this report eloquently expands on the points I was making during the evidence session. The report seeks to achieve a realistic balance between the needs of the animals involved in modern agriculture and the needs of producers and identifies the benefits that can result from selective breeding as well as the threads which need to be averted.

  Our main recommendation is the setting up of a Standing Committee to consider issues associated with farm animal breeding. Since producing our report in June 2004, I have had discussions with my colleagues on CAWC (Companion Animal Welfare Council) and the APC (Animal Procedures Committee) and they are fully supportive of this concept and indeed, propose that the Standing Committee should extend its remit to cover all animal breeding (including companion animals). FAWC is content that its initiative for farm animals should be extended in this way.

  In relation to Clause 1 C, it was our belief that this was self-evident. However we now appreciate its importance from a drafting perspective and, on reflection, we are happy with its inclusion. Similarly we felt that the definition of "animal" is so fundamental to the proposed regulations that it should be made clear earlier on in the text alongside other definitions. However, we have no fundamental disagreement with the coverage of the definition in the draft Bill.

  I trust these comments will assist the Committee in reaching its conclusions on this extremely important opportunity to rationalise and update the animal welfare legislation.

28 September 2004

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