§ 8. Mrs. Anne Campbell (Cambridge) (Lab)
When she expects to publish the draft Bill on animal welfare. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr. Ben Bradshaw)
We hope to publish a draft animal welfare Bill in the first half of this year.
§ Mrs. Campbell
I am pleased to hear that news, but may I tell my hon. Friend about an appalling story that appeared in my local paper just a few months ago? Two young children went into a pet shop and bought a hamster. They then tied the hamster to a firework and ignited the firework, killing the hamster. Does he not agree that it is now urgent that the age at which children can buy pets should be raised to 16, and will he consider including such a provision in the animal welfare Bill?
§ Mr. Bradshaw
This is certainly one of the issues that will be included in the consideration of our animal welfare Bill. My hon. Friend might already know that this will be the first opportunity for 100 years to make major improvements to our animal welfare legislation. The distressing activity that she has described is covered by existing law, but I recognise that a number of areas need tightening up. I hope that she and other colleagues with an interest in these issues will help us to produce a good piece of legislation that will stand the test of time.