§ Mr. Madden
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1) what representations he has received, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and others, about the suffering of animals subject to the Export of Animals Protection Order 1981; if he plans further action to protect live animals, exported from the United Kingdom under licence, from suffering; what action he is taking, within the European Economic Community, to ensure member states enforce European Economic Community directives concerning safeguards against animal suffering; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many United Kingdom exporters of live animals have been fined for breaches of licence conditions, issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food under the Export of Animals Protection Order 1981, since 1981 to date; what fines have been imposed in each case; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Donald Thompson
My Department is not aware that any exporters have been fined under the Export of Animals (Protection) Order 1981. Over the years we have received many representations about the export of live food animals, and Compassion in World Farming has recently expressed concern about the impact of protests by French farmers on the welfare of exported British sheep. We have obtained assurances at the highest level from the French authorities that they would take steps to protect future trade, and are continuing to make vigorous representations to them.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has also submitted reports that sheep destined for France have been sent on to Spain. We do not license exports to that country because it has not implemented Community safeguards on animal welfare. We have contacted the French and Spanish authorities to discuss these reports and ask for their future co-operation. We are also investigating whether breaches of the 1981 order have occurred and have demanded more extensive information before future export licences for sheep to France are issued.