§ Lord Northfield
asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many deer are known to have been slaughtered in premises owned by Canvin International Ltd. of Cardington, Bedfordshire; what special safeguards have been taken to ensure the welfare of the animals, both in transit and during slaughter; as this firm is now licensed for ritual slaughter, whether it is intended to slaughter deer ritually; and whether, in advance of issue of government views on deer farming and slaughtering, Her Majesty's Government approve of the foregoing activities.
§ The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Belstead)
Under the Protection of Animals Act 1911 it is an offence to cause any captive animal, including captive deer at the point of slaughter, unnecessary suffering. This provision and the Farm Animal Welfare Council's recommendations on the handling of deer in slaughterhouses have been drawn to the attention of the management of the company in question. The welfare of the deer at the slaughterhouse is being monitored by officers of the State Veterinary Service and it is understood that the local authority's official veterinary surgeon has attended the slaughter of all deer at the premises. We understand that 101 deer have been slaughtered.
The welfare of deer in transit is adequately protected by the Transit of Animals (General) Order 1973.
Slaughterhouses do not require special licensing for carrying out religious slaughter but the ministry understands that the company have no plans for such slaughter of deer. The Government are considering the Farm Animal Welfare Council's recommendation that it should be permissible to slaughter deer in slaughterhouses providing specified safeguards are met.