Sixth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.




Wednesday 8 February 1989



£4.35p net

Members who wish to have copies of the Official Report of Proceedings in Standing Committees sent to them are requested to give notice to that effect at the Vote Office.

No proofs can be supplied. Corrigenda slips may be published with Bound Volume editions. Corrigenda that Members suggest should be clearly marked in a copy of the report—not telephoned—and must be received in the Editor's Room, House of Commons,

not later than

Tuesday 14 February 1989


HMSO publications are available from:
HMSO Publications Centre HMSO Bookshops HMSO's Accredited Agents
(Mail and telephone orders only) 49 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6HB (01) 873 0011 (Counter service only) (see Yellow Pages)
PO Box 276, London SW8 5DT 258 Broad Street, Birmingham, BI 2HE (021) 643 3740
Telephone orders (01) 873 9090 Southey House, 33 Wine Street, Bristol, BSI 2BQ (0272) 264306 and through good booksellers
General enquiries (01) 873 0011 9–21 Princess Street, Manchester, M60 8AS (061) 834 7201
80 Chichester Street, Belfast, BT 1 4JY (0232) 238451
71 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9AZ (031) 228 4181
Printed in England and Published by
Her Majesty's Stationery Office ISBN 0 10 991389 2


The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Mr. Ted Leadbitter

Boscawen, Mr. Robert (Somerton and Frome)

Brazier, Mr. Julian (Canterbury)

Buck, Sir Anthony (Colchester, North)

Carlisle, Mr. Kenneth (Lincoln)

Curry, Mr. David (Skipton and Ripon)

Davies, Mr. Ron (Caerphilly)

Home Robertson, Mr. John (East Lothian)

Howell, Mr. Ralph (Norfolk, North)

Jones, Mr. Martyn (Clwyd, South-West)

Livsey, Mr. Richard (Brecon and Radnor)

Macdonald, Mr. Calum (Western Isles)

Madel, Mr. David (Bedfordshire, South-West)

Marlow, Mr. Tony (Northampton, North)

Mates, Mr. Michael (Hampshire, East)

Morley, Mr. Elliot (Glanford and Scunthorpe)

Quin, Ms Joyce (Gateshead, East)

Stewart, Mr. Andy (Sherwood)

Thompson, Mr. Donald (Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food)

Mr. M. D. Hamlyn, Committee Clerk.

2 3 Sixth Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Wednesday 8 February 1989

[MR. TED LEADBITTER in the Chair]

Draft Codes of Recommendations for the Welfare of Goats, Farmed Deer and Livestock—Sheep

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Donald Thompson): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Codes of Recommendations for the Welfare of Goats.

The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss the two other draft codes in respect of farmed deer and livestock—sheep.

Mr. Donald Thompson: In addition to the material before us today for debate, we have placed in the Library of the House complete texts of the three codes with the preface which Ministers propose to include in the version which will be printed and distributed to farmers. Many hon. Members will be aware that welfare codes play an important role in our approach to farm animal welfare. They are made under the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968 and their purpose is to provide farmers and stock-keepers with the best available guidance on the way in which the welfare of farm animals may be protected. But the codes do more than that—they have the same legal status as the highway code, in that a breach is not in itself an offence, but may be quoted in any prosecution as helping to establish the guilt of the accused. Welfare codes for the main species of farm livestock have existed since 1971 and have been used in cases brought under the 1968 Act in this way. Officers of the state veterinary service check on compliance with the codes when visiting farms to check on the welfare of the stock. Opportunity is also taken to look at welfare when they go to farms for other purposes. The texts of the three codes are based almost entirely on recommendations from the Farm Animal Welfare Council, the Government's independent advisory body, which does very good work. However, in preparing the texts for this Committee's consideration, we are obliged by the 1968 Act to take account of comments from interested parties. Comments on the council's proposed text have led, therefore, to the Ministry making some changes—we believe improvements—resulting in the documents before the Committee today. I should mention in particular that the deer code stems from the Council's 1985 report on the welfare of farmed deer. As a result of other recommendations in this report, we have also issued a voluntary code of welfare practice on abattoir slaughter of farmed deer and guidelines for the transport of farmed deer. Those documents are referred to in the on-farm code, 4 which is before the Committee, and I commend them to any people involved in the transport or abattoir slaughter of deer. Of the three codes, those for goats and deer are, as I have said, entirely new. There has been expansion in these farming industries in recent years, and we feel that welfare guidance from the Department is now necessary. The sheep code was first issued in 1977 and, as farming practices are constantly evolving, a revision is needed to take account of new technology and changes in sheep husbandry which have taken place since then. There are a few points that I should draw to the attention of the hon. Members. The code for sheep contains, in particular, new guidelines for the management of milk sheep and milking practices, on pregnancy and lambing, on housing, especially when welfare is dependent on electrical or mechanical equipment, and on emergency precautions. The deer code particularly highlights the nervous nature of these animals and emphasises the special care that they need. Specific recommendations are made on taking deer from the wild, use of dart guns and field slaughter. The goat code acknowledges such things as their gregarious nature and tendency to clamber and takes account of them. It makes specific reference to the care needed if goats are tethered—a practice that can lead to welfare problems unless properly and carefully carried out. The most important common denominator of all three codes is the message that stock-keepers should be aware of the behavioural needs of their livestock, and that good stockmanship is essential if the welfare of the animals is to be protected. That brings me to my opening remarks about the purpose of the codes—that is, to provide guidance to those who need to know about the best way to safeguard the welfare of their stock. That is why, subject to Parliament's approval, all three codes will be distributed free of charge to all known farmers who keep these animals. We shall ensure also that bodies such as the agricultural colleges and the Agricultural Training Board receive copies for use in their training of young or inexperienced stock-keepers. We shall also seek publicity for the codes so that anyone who may miss our distributions will be aware of them and know how to obtain copies. Finally, the documents reflect the valuable work undertaken by the Farm Animal Welfare Council in preparing the basis for the codes. I wish to record my thanks to its membes, both past and present, who have given so much of their time to this task. I am sure that the hon. Members here would wish to be associated with that message. Hon. Members: Hear, hear.

Mr. Thompson: I believe that the draft codes represent the best advice that can be given in the light of our current knowledge and the views presented to the Ministry. I commend them to the Committee.

The Chairman: I think that there should be draft codes for Members of Parliament. Some of us left at 2 o'clock this morning and are now back here for this 5 important business. We shall consider such a code for our colleagues.

10.36 am

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian): I take your point, Mr. Leadbitter, about the intensive husbandry of hon. Members by the Whips Office. It seems appropriate that you, Mr. Leadbitter, should chair a Committee which is considering animal welfare, representing as you do the constituency "where they hung the monkey". I also recall an occasion when you chaired a Committee that was considering a private Member's Bill on animal welfare. My hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) attempted to make up the quorum by coming into that Committee with a rabbit. Even so, the Bill's sponsors could not make up the quorum. The orders gave me some unusual bedtime reading last night. It is a truly memorable parliamentary occasion when this Mother of Parliaments can reflect, perhaps for the first time, on the signs which indicate good health in goats. Paragraph 6 of that code states that the signs "include good appetite, alertness, good coat condition, absence of lameness, firm round droppings (similar to those of a sheep or a rabbit) and no visible wounds, abscesses or injuries." Paragraph 11 states: "Goats prefer water which is not excessively cold." That should be remembered, Mr. Leadbitter. Paragraph 20 states: "Goats are very inquisitive and all gate/door fastenings should be goat-proof" Otherwise, the stock will be lost. Something which appeals to me and might be of interest to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Carlisle), as a Whip, is paragraph 3, which says: "Goats, being gregarious animals, prefer to live in social groups and appear to enjoy human contact. If kept singly, they require more frequent contact with, and supervision by, the stockman. They should always be treated as individuals, even when kept in large herds. When forming new groups, care should be taken to avoid fighting and stress if adult animals are mixed … Goats prefer to be led but can be driven if care is taken." How about that for a motto for the Government Whips office? The Government are right, however, to take farm animal welfare seriously. I join the Minister in paying tribute to the Farm Animal Welfare Council on its work in producing the new codes. We welcome the fact that the code on sheep has been brought up to date to take account of changing circumstances and practices. We welcome the introduction of new codes which deal with goats and farm deer and also take account of the more intensive husbandry of those species which have traditionally been accepted as extensive grazers or, indeed, as wild animals. Much of what we read in the codes should be obvious. It represents straightforward good stockmanship. No doubt stockmen and farmers throughout the country would be insulted to be given some of the advice in the codes. Nevertheless, nothing should be taken for granted, and it is right to have a codification of good animal husbandry practice. I referred fleetingly to the code of practice on goats. I welcome the fact that the Government are paying 6 attention to a newly cultivated area of livestock in this country. Indeed, I have a constituency interest as there is a thriving goat business near East Linton in East Lothian. Two issues have been brought to the attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Davies) by goat producers. First, the code contains no reference to the practice of embryo transfers, which could apply to other farm species. Embryo transfers involve major surgery in which vets have both commercial and welfare interests, so perhaps the process could usefully be covered by the code. Secondly, under the code, disbudding has to be done by vets, which costs money. To save vets' fees, some goatkeepers might leave goats' horns in place, which might cause further animal welfare problems if too many goats with horns are reared intensively. Deer are a relatively new subject of agricultural husbandry and are a useful form of diversification on the farm, especially in Scotland. The Minister has already mentioned the special aspects of deer husbandry, including darting to sedate animals, taking deer from the wild and slaughtering by shooting them in the open. Those practices could give rise to public concern and it is important that the best professional procedures are adopted. I hope that we shall see less taking of deer from the wild as farmers establish their own stocks and can breed internally without the need to bring wild animals into the farmed herd. I should be grateful for an explanation of paragraphs 47 and 48 on the housing of deer. Do they point to the possibility of intensive, indoor deer husbandry—a sort of venison veal? If so we should be told, as the likelihood will cause concern in some quarters. The code of practice on sheep amends the existing code and extends it to take account of new considerations, including the practice of milking sheep. My experience of sheep husbandry is that the species has inherently suicidal tendencies. No matter how good the stockmanship is, if a sheep is determined to die, escape or get lost, there is little anyone can do about it. Nevertheless, I am pleased that the Minister is attempting to do something about the problem. Paragraph 29 deals with feed, Recently, there has been a lot of attention on animal feeding and on the fact that animal residues are sometimes used in feeding compounds. We know about the problem of scrapie in sheep, which is a disease of the brain that can be transmitted through feed. Will the Minister tell us whether the issue is relevant to the alarming question of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is causing such concern among cattle farmers—and which may also be associated with compound feeds which include animal residues? I note that this aspect has been included in the code for sheep, and perhaps the Minister will comment on it. Paragraph 35 suggests that pregnant women should stay away from lambing ewes because of a possible threat to human health and to the welfare of unborn babies. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that. On a more flippant note, paragraph 13 deals with the handling of sheep and says: 7 "Sheep should not be lifted by the head, horns, legs, tail or fleece." That being so, how does one lift a sheep? The Minister has confirmed that we are discussing good husbandry and good stockmanship. I join him in paying tribute to the Animal Welfare Council for the work that it has done in laying the ground for the new regulations. The Minister said that the new code would be disseminated like confetti throughout the country, but I do not know whether it will be taken seriously by good stockmen. I suspect that it should be used for reference to make it possible to pin down cases of bad stockmanship that should be dealt with. I hope that the Minister will say something about enforcement and tell us whether there will be scope for inspection or reporting to deal with cases of very bad livestock husbandry and what penalties will be imposed on those who offend against the code. There are a number of references in the code to the need for specialist advice, but that is not as easy to come by as it was some years ago since the Government started to charge for advisory services and cut the availability of the services of the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service and the Scottish colleges. That is not entirely consistent with what the Minister suggested. I cannot resist firing a parting shot at the Minister on the subject of vets. We are debating a code of practice that will involve vets in a certain amount of work and responsibility yet the Government are presiding over a university grants committee which proposes to cut down or shut down a number of excellent veterinary schools including those at Glasgow and Cambridge. That does not make sense.

10.47 am

Mr. Robert Boscawen (Somerset and Frome): I am grateful for being called to break my silence in a Committee after a long time, especially to speak on such an interesting and important subject as the welfare of sheep, goats and deer. I want to ask my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary a few questions. I come from an area where there are no deer farms of the kind that exist in the north of England, but it contains quite a lot of wild deer. Some of my constituents, especially those who are hard-pressed dairy farmers, are worried by the presence of a few wild roe deer and red deer—alas, there are so few—which were recently found to be suffering from or carrying bovine tuberculosis. Has my hon. Friend information on that subject and will he tell us what is being done to tighten up on the slaughtering of wild deer which are shot when they stray on to farms? They are also shot at by gamekeepers to keep them away from areas where there is shooting. I presume that the dead animals are sold and sent to butchers, not on a regular but a one-off basis. I ask my hon. Friend to confirm that the hygiene controls and the inspection of the carcases of such deer are being kept up to scratch in view of the possibility that they are carrying bovine tuberculosis. I wish to provide answers to my constituents on that issue. I believe that the EC proposals for the inspection of deer carcases are considerably tigher than those that exist in our country. I ask my hon. Friend to 8 confirm whether that is so and whether the controls will be brought into effect fairly soon. Will goat milk production be brought under the same strict EC controls that govern cow milk production! That also is of concern and interest to my constituents.

10.50 am

Mr. Richard Livsey (Brecon and Radnor): I apologise for not being here at the beginning of the sitting but, like many hon. Members, I was on two Committees at once. The Welsh Select Committee did not have a quorum and I had to wait there until 10.30 am before I could come here. I welcome the proposals for animal welfare. Animal welfare has improved vastly in my lifetime. I remember sitting on the garden wall watching people catching unbroken horses in the Black mountains and doing all sorts of horrible things to them which do not happen now, thankfully. As the hon. Member for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) has said, sheep tend to die in the springtime. We have all read the books of Henry Brewis who shows us despondent farmers looking at a sheep with its legs in the air and saying, "I see it's springtime again." That is very much in my memory because I have seen it myself. As someone who has farmed sheep for a considerable time, and one who comes from a family that has been involved in sheep farming for many generations, I have seen a revolution in husbandry. In particular, the in-wintering of sheep has become extremely common, especially with lowland flocks. The hours kept at lambing time are very little different from the hours kept by people working in the House. There is no difference between coming from lambing at 2 am and being at debates in the House at 2 am. It is the same sort of existence in many ways. There is reference here to adequate space for in-wintering the differences between the density with which one can stock shorn sheep and unshorn sheep and different sized breeds, and the amount of through space that is allowed. In the past, as the hon. Member for East Lothian said, there were adequate ADAS and advisory staff around one could put someone right and advise people who were changing their system and bringing their sheep inside after having them outside. We need to give guidance through the Agricultural Training Board, and the colleges need to be able to teach their students good husbandry practice from the point of view of animal welfare. The hon. Member for East Lothian raised an important point about the dangers to pregnant women through the spread of enzootic abortion, which now seems to be rife in some areas and which is difficult to keep out of flocks. It is a cause of considerable concern. I agree with what the hon. Gentleman said and would like to know whether there are any guidelines on it. The number of goats has increased greatly. Before I entered the House, I farmed next door to a farm that milked 80 goats in a milking parlour. It was an interesting sight. I presume that standards for the size of milking parlours for goats are incorporated in 9 the welfare code. Many goats are tethered, and I presume also that there are descriptions of the proper tethering procedure for goats and, indeed, of fencing. My experience of my neighbour's farm is that goats seem to get everywhere. There must be adequate fencing. Deer farming is already being practiced in my constituency. The Welsh agricultural college, where I used to lecture, regularly sent students to New Zealand to study deer farming practices. Several of them returned and started their own enterprises, and that is becoming increasingly common. I am glad that the code requires special stockmanship skills, as the slaughter practices involving deer are important. I am surprised to see some references to abbatoir slaughter in the code. It is more appropriate to have farm slaughtering, as deer are so timid that they can damage themselves during transportation.

Mr. Home Robertson: I am interested in the hon. Gentleman's point about the slaugher of deer. I wonder whether it is worse to transport deer—as he said, they are timid animals—to an abattoir, or to indulge in a wild west approach and use rifles to shoot them in fields among animals that have not been selected for slaughter. Would it not be preferable to compromise and restrain the deer, take them into a building or handling pen, and kill them humanely there?

Mr. Livsey: The hon. Gentleman is right to express concern. The code refers to shooting deer in fields, but although people who come out for a day's amble in their car from Birmingham will be upset if they see that happening, we must also consider the animals' welfare. Regrettably, shooting them in the fields may be the best option, although it will not be nice for the other animals there. We must consider good practice, and bringing the deer into pens may be preferable. I should have thought that, in some circumstances, slaughtering deer on the farm is preferable to carting them around the country to an abattoir.

10.58 am

Mr. Martyn Jones (Clywd, South-West): Item 13 on the welfare of farm deer refers to antlers out of velvet. Is the Minister aware of a practice that has developed in New Zealand of removing antlers in the velvet for sale in the far east? I do not know what they are used for. Is the Minister satisfied that the regulations cover that point?

10.59 am

Mr. Donald Thompson: I thank the Committee for an interesting and well-informed debate. May I say to the hon. Members for East Lothian (Mr. Home Robertson) and for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Livsey) and to my hon. Friend the Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Boscawen) that the Government still do not charge for welfare advice. Last year we made about 6,000 visits in England and Wales. When the state veterinary service and others visit farms, they also consider welfare matters. 10 As the hon. Member for East Lothian said, good stockmen will be disgruntled to be given the code to read in bed, as the hon. Gentleman read it last night. However, the code is based on good British stockmanship, as are all our codes of practice, and the proper use of modern machinery in farming such as automatic lighting, watering and ventilation. That is important and we try to incorporate those two aspects in welfare codes. I hope that someone is writing to me about antlers and velvet. Goat farming is a growing industry. I was lucky enough this year to be invited to the national goat conference which was held in my constituency. The British Goat Society is doing its best to spread this information. It is a responsible society which is writing to hon. Members about the problems of milk and the quality of goat milk. We are considering embryo transfers and transplants in all animals. But with the increased use of goat sponges, the goat industry gets a more even distribution of its stock thoughout the year. We need not only the best professional but the best traditional practice for deer. Deer have been kept in parks for centuries. No doubt the hon. Member for East Lothian will get such a park to add to his other expensive toys.

Mr. Home Robertson: The Minister had better explain that.

Mr. Thompson: Houses, land, farms, cattle—all of the best quality. Deer have been gently bred in parks for many generations so we need the best traditional practice. I hope that as the farm deer herd improves, fewer deer will be taken from the wild. We are worried about tuberculosis and I expect a submission on that matter soon so that we can discover how extensive that disease is in deer. We have already taken steps to alleviate the problem. But I shall not expand on that or the Chairman will rule me out of order because we are discussing welfare rather than animal disease.

Mr. Livesy: The point was made earlier about the reduction in the number of places at and the closure of vet schools. That is a serious matter. The Minister referred to problems of deer and animal health. That is a new area for veterinary colleges to get stuck into and to produce trained vets skilled in deer management. I hope that the Ministry will make representations about the closure of veterinary colleges, especially in Glasgow. It is said that there are many foreign students at the Royal Dick in Edinburgh and home students in Glasgow. This is a serious issue.

Mr. Thompson: I agree with the hon. Gentleman that it is a serious issue. I shall raise it with my colleagues in the Department of Education and Science. I understand that we shall educate more vets, but I agree with the hon. Gentleman that vets are important.

Mr. Madel: Opposition Members have suggested that the Government propose to close vet schools. That is not so. An independent committee has made a recommendation which is now on the desk of my 11 right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science. Opposition Members are jumping the gun, as no decision has been taken.

Mr. Thompson: I thank my hon. Friend. We have a very good Committee today.

Mr. Home Robetson: Perhaps I can assist the Minister further. The hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South-West (Mr. Madel) is right that the university grants committee has made the recommendation. In recent years, recommendations from the UGC tend to be inspired from higher up the ladder. Can I take it from what the Minister has said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food will be joining the Secretary of State for Scotland in making positive representations to the UGC about the existing vet schools?

Mr. Thompson: The hon. Gentleman cannot take that from what I have said. I am not prepared to wander down that road—or even up to Edinburgh. We were talking about deer codes and the housing of deer. I have been to one or two deer farms where deer are housed. The most important aspect of that is the wintering of calves. People like to see wild deer, but with the erosion in forests, some wild deer suffer badly in winter because they cannot get suitable cover. We must ensure that farm deer do not suffer from the same diseases as wild deer. People who choose to farm deer should make sure that they are well wintered and well looked after. Various members of the Committee have been kind enough to say how they welcomed sheep codes. Milking is a growing occupation, and we must ensure that proper codes of practice are laid down. The hon. Member for East Lothian mentioned scrapie. We have banned the use of animal protein in feeding ruminants because of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. We think that because of a change in practice by the renderers some years ago, scrapie in sheep was not properly eradicated, so we have asked them to deal with that now. We think that by following that practice BSE may disappear in four or five years. We are now building up a herd which is, we hope, BSE-free, and ensures our pedigree exports, especially of milk cattle. There is no evidence of a jump of scrapie from any animal to man. Nevertheless, we are taking careful note of the recommendations of the various committees advising us. In fact, we have jumped the gun in some cases. We are also careful about the advice given to pregnant women helping on the farm. It is often the lady who is the expert lamber, and we take care that she is warned about enzootic abortions. We ensure that farmers' wives and the ladies who work on farms have that important information. The hon. Member for East Lothian asked how to lift a sheep if it cannot be lifted by its head, legs, horn, tail or feet. The sheep has to be cradled. The hon. Gentleman probably dips someone else's sheep or cows. Perhaps he could not count sheep properly when he went to bed last night. If he cradles them, he will sleep more soundly. 12 Many of us who have seen sheep in slaughter houses will have seen the bruises on their backs made by handling. That is cruel to the sheep and is also commercial nonsense. Whenever possible, the animals should be cradled. My hon. Friend the Member for Somerton and Frome, who I am very glad to see, asked important questions about deer. I have already mentioned the importance of finding a solution to the creeping incidence of tuberculosis in deer. We do not think that it is yet a serious problem, but it is a problem to be taken seriously. Deer have not traditionally been inspected, when shot either on the hill or by irate farmers in Somerset. May I ask any farmers who are having special trouble to write to me? A couple of years ago we helped to solve specific problems of deer getting on to land at night and damaging crops and would be happy to act as mediators so that the farmers, the deer protection societies and the deer can be properly integrated.

Mr. Home Robertson: The hon. Gentleman is talking about the Prime Minister.

Mr. Thompson: I thank the hon. Gentleman. A more integrated lady one has never met: all her chairs are at home. We already have a code of practice for the production of goats milk which the goat societies that I have mentioned give to all their members. We are looking again at all milk and its importance to health. The hon. Members for Brecon and Radnor and for East Lothian appeared to be having a little conversation about the slaughter of deer. We are anxious for them to be slaughtered as humanely as possible. They have been shot in the fields and parks for generations. Strangely enough, when one deer in the park is shot, the others do not move. The deer that has been shot falls down and the others go on grazing. It may seem callous, but it is not, because they do not know what has happened to the shot deer. The moving of deer to abattoirs is a different matter. We have careful regulations for the transport of deer. It is a pity that the private Member's Bill presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Torridge and Devon, West (Miss Nicholson) was so misunderstood, and defeated. There are careful codes of practice for both the transport of deer and their slaughter in abattoirs. I have seen the process; the people who keep deer have gone to great lengths to ensure that there are circular movement patterns so that the deer see no corners and walk in with the sides of the stunning pens blocked so that they can see nothing. I have seen deer shot; their eyes make one weep, but the slaughter is as humane as possibly can be arranged. We hope to do better than the New Zealanders, although they have developed a method of shooting which involves a killing pen being brought to the field. Their attempts to round up deer with helicopters did not prove satisfactory. I thank the Committee for its welcome to the order, and for hon. Members' comments on it.

Mr. Home Robertson: What about velvet?


Mr. Thompson: The taking of velvet is banned. The Farm Animal Welfare Council has looked at the practice and can find no instance in this country on a commercial scale. There may be a black market for export to whatever country feels it needs it—usually the country with the highest birthrate. Why they need it I do not know.

The Chairman: It is an impressive experience to listen to people who have animal welfare at heart. I wish that more members of the public could have heard what has been said this morning. I have listened with care and have been moved by some of the comments I have heard.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, 14 That the Committee has considered the draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Goats.


Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Farmed Deer.—[Mr. Donald Thompson.]


Resolved, That the Committee has considered the draft Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Sheep.—[Mr. Donald Thompson.]

Committee rose at fifteen minutes past Eleven o'clock.


Leadbitter, Mr. Ted (Chairman)

Boscawen, Mr.

Brazier, Mr.

Carlisle, Mr. Kenneth

Home Robertson, Mr.

Jones, Mr. Martyn

Livesey, Mr.

Madel, Mr.

Stewart, Mr. Andy

Thompson, Mr. Donald