Examination of Witnesses (Questions 380-389)|
13 SEPTEMBER 2004
Q380 Chairman: Mr Buckhaven, I am going
to stop you there not out of discourtesy, but I want you to switch
back to being a lawyer for a moment and assist us to understand
how the Bill should be amended or used to achieve the objective
which you have graphically described for us. Where do we have
to change it to get to a situation where the species you have
identified could be killed by the method you have identified?
Mr Buckhaven: First, I would refer
on page 2 to the New Zealand legislation, which in fact is very
well thought-out legislation. It has a wide definition of animals,
which as you can see includes everything there; but there is an
exclusion on page 3. Although it makes no distinction between
domesticated or wild animals save for an exemption, in the case
of hunting and fishing and captured wild animalsso long
as its capture is for the purpose of facilitating its imminent
destruction; otherwise wild animals in captivity are covered by
the legislation. Therefore, in this case the definition of animal
should include all these, including fish, octopus, squid, crab,
lobster, et cetera. At the moment for example, if you look
at the background, there are slaughter regulationsand I
am really talking about those here because these are what matter.
At the moment, one has the European Directive from back in 1993
dealing with slaughter regulation. That applies the Directive
which says, "animals shall be spared any avoidable excitement,
pain or suffering during movement . . . slaughter or killing."
Defra believes that that does not apply to crabs and lobsters,
although there is some doubt about it because the English regulations
have taken that on, and you will see that the UK legislation is
1995, which again applies the regulations in the same way to the
"stunning, slaughter or killing of animals bred or kept for
the production of meat". They say that it does not include
these. We are seeking that this legislation should make it clear
that it does apply to the larger crustaceans in respect of which
we know we can deal with it in an electronic fashion. As the Committee
will know, virtually all slaughter regulations in the Western
world deal essentially with stunning the animal before they kill
it. Most stunning takes place electronically, sometimes physically,
and until now there has been no electronic method of dealing with
crabs, lobsters and crayfish. We have it now. We know it works.
When the question of cost has been raised, the shellfish producers
in Cornwall think it is very viable in terms of the equipment
they have to use. For restaurants we are talking between £1,000-£2,000
per machine. In terms of catering equipment it is minimal.
Q381 Mr Mitchell: Has the New Zealand
legislation stopped killing by boiling?
Mr Buckhaven: No, at the moment
that is all they do; they kill crabs by boiling.
Q382 Mr Mitchell: In New Zealand?
Mr Buckhaven: No, it has stopped
Q383 Mr Mitchell: You mentioned the exemption
of fishing and capturing for the purpose of facilitating its imminent
destruction, but some anglers chuck the fish back, do they not?
Dr Broughton: Good anglers certainly
do not throw fish back; they return them carefully to the water.
Q384 Mr Mitchell: For the purpose of
its imminent destruction.
Dr Broughton: It is almost the
universal practice amongst those people that coarse fish for roach,
bream, perch and tench and so on, that fish are caught and released.
They might go back a little bit wiser, but they would certainly
have the opportunity to get larger, and maybe somebody might capture
them in the future. In game angling for trout and salmon and in
sea angling it is commonplace, and it is now the law that spring-caught
salmon must, under Environment Agency bye-laws, be returned alive
to the water; so it is an intrinsic part of angling.
Ms Roxburgh: We are speaking in
this case about food animals, not animals used in recreation,
so there is a huge difference here between angling for
Q385 Mr Mitchell: Well, not with salmon,
if salmon have got to be put back, it is recreation.
Ms Roxburgh: Yes it is, if it
is for recreation, if they are going to be put back; otherwise
they must be destroyed as soon as possible, yes.
Q386 Mr Mitchell: If the provisions you
want, like the tubes for transporting shellfish in are included
in the Bill, and the method of killing everything, will there
not be an enormous problem of enforcement?
Ms Roxburgh: Is there not always
a problem of enforcement? We would not include things just because
we are not sure whether we can enforce it or not. There are all
sorts of things we are not sure we can enforce, but nevertheless
there should be legislation which considers these attitudes, and
gradually introduces them. I can see no reason why they cannot
gradually be enforced either. I do not think that people who are
dealing with shellfish are beastly, horrible, cruel people who
are going to do nasty things; if there is a way of storing and
transporting these animals that actually gives a 1% death rate
instead of whatever it is, then they are going to be pleased about
it anyway; but they do not want to hurt the animals just for the
sake of it. It is their livelihood, but they are not killing them
for the sake of it, they are killing them for food. Therefore,
we have to remember that this is not being done out of cruelty;
it is being done at the moment out of necessity, but we could
make that necessity much better.
Q387 Patrick Hall: I think the logic
of what Julie Roxburgh said earlier was that in order to ensure
that the best practice with regard to disposal of shellfish of
stunning becomes the norm and the law in this country, therefore
shellfish must be embraced by this Bill, and that is because shellfish
are being, in a sense gathered together or farmed for food. If
one follows that logic, if that is the only way to ensure that
that good practice becomes the norm, is it not the same as saying
sea fishing must be encompassed by the Bill because they are "farmed"
for food? Therefore, we may be in some difficulties there.
Ms Roxburgh: I do not know. I
am not here to talk about sea fishing. If I were, I would have
answers available, but I am not. I am here to talk about the methods
used to trap, store, transport and kill invertebrates. I feel
that this is a very important part because whether sea fishing
or commercial fishing is going to be included or not, fish are
vertebrates, and in the 1911 Act they are considered to be animals,
but invertebrates essentially are not. Vets generally do not even
have any training in invertebrates, so they are not even thought
of in these terms. This, I think, is the first time ever that
invertebrates as such have been considered to be included in a
bill as food animals. That is the only thing we are talking about
Q388 Patrick Hall: Mr Buckhaven has gone
into considerable detail about a method that is a more humane
way of killing shellfish. If it could not be done within this
Bill, is he aware of another way of doing that within the statutory
Mr Buckhaven: Yes, it could be
included in the regulations. We already have regulations on slaughter
of animals, and one would merely have to include shellfish within
Ms Roxburgh: I would just like
to add that we would like the trapping, transport and storage
to be included as well, or at least given consideration; or it
could be included in such a way as Simon has said. I have got
information here on pain in invertebrates that I would like you
all to have copies of.
Q389 Chairman: That last point, I know,
is covered by your evidence, particularly on the question of transport.
Ms Roxburgh, gentlemen, can I thank you for the very helpful answers
you have given and the time and trouble you have taken, particularly
in written form, to provide us with your initial submissions,
and indeed the Shellfish Network for the subsequent and very helpful
information that you have provided. Thank you for giving your
time to give evidence to the Committee today.
Ms Roxburgh: Thank you for giving
us the opportunity.