Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from the Chairman to Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum of 9 February 2006 which Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture) considered at its meeting on 8 March 2006.

  The Committee decided to clear the Communication from scrutiny. We would be grateful to know how the EU proposals set out in the Communication would integrate with the objectives of the UK Animal Welfare Bill currently before Parliament.

8 March 2006

Letter from Ben Bradshaw MP to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 8 March 2006 on the Commission Communication concerning a Community Action Plan on the Protection and Welfare of Animals 2006-10. You have asked for clarification as to how the proposals in the Action Plan will integrate with the UK Animal Welfare Bill.

  The EU Action Plan and the Animal Welfare Bill are of course very different. The Bill is a piece of legislation that sits in the framework of our Animal Health and Welfare Strategy and applies to England and Wales; the Action Plan is a strategic document that sets out the EU's proposed actions on animal welfare until 2010, only some of which are legislative. The Bill covers most animals that are not wild, although its main impact will be on non-farmed captive animals; the Action Plan is largely focussed on the welfare of farmed animals although it also covers animals used in research and some trade issues.

  There are, however, also some common themes. For example both are intended to improve animal welfare and to ensure that satisfactory minimum legislative standards are in place. Both also aim to simplify and consolidate existing legislative controls. The Action Plan aims to ensure animal keepers and the general public have information about animal welfare so that they understand their role in protecting the welfare of animals. The Animal Welfare Bill provides for codes of practice to ensure that those responsible for animals have the necessary knowledge to ensure their animals' welfare. The EU Action Plan includes the aim of improving enforcement across the EU; the Bill introduces a more coherent approach to enforcement in England and Wales.

  I do not regard them as comparable or equivalent documents. But the two are mutually consistent.

  I hope this is helpful.

27 March 2006

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