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 From page 5 of the   "MERITS OF STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS COMMITTEE"  pdf  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldmerit/178/178.pdf

 

Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee

34th Report of Session 2005-06

 

B. Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) (England)

Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1200)

Summary: These Regulations permit ventilation shutdown as a method of killing

birds for the purpose of disease control. The Government have made these

Regulations as a matter of urgency due to an outbreak of avian influenza in

Norfolk.

These Regulations are drawn to the special attention of the House on

the ground that they give rise to issues of public policy likely to be of

interest to the House.

8. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have

made these Regulations under section 2(2) of the European Communities

Act 1972. An Explanatory Memorandum (EM) has been provided.

9. The EM explains that the Regulations amend the Welfare of Animals

(Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/731),3 to permit ventilation

shutdown (VSD) as a method of killing birds for the purpose of disease

control. It states that VSD involves sealing a poultry shed and turning off the

2 Takeover Bids (13th Report, 1995-96, HL Paper 100) and If At First You Dont SucceedTakeover

Bids Again (28th Report, 2002-03, HL Paper 128).

3 SI 1995/731 gives effect to Council Directive 93/119/EC on the protection of animals at the time of

slaughter or killing.

MERITS OF STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS COMMITTEE 3

ventilation, and that it will kill birds over a period of 30-60 minutes (most

likely as a result of hyperthermia). It adds that VSD will only be the method

of choice where more humane methods are not available.

10. The Regulations were brought into force the day after laying. The EM states

that DEFRA had previously planned to amend SI 1995/731 to permit VSD

should the need arise. In the event, the Department saw the need to breach

the 21-day rule because of an outbreak of avian influenza in the most densely

poultry-populated part of England,4 which meant that VSD had to be

available without delay to enable a rapid cull if necessary.

11. In our 13th Report (HL Paper 61), we reported on the Avian Influenza

(Preventive Measures) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/2989), which DEFRA

introduced to provide the basis for protective measures to be taken against

the threat of avian influenza. SI 2005/2989 was laid on 28 October 2005 and

brought into force on the same day.

12. In our 16th Report (HL Paper 76), we published correspondence with Mr

Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Local Environment, Marine and Animal

Welfare, relating to the powers taken by DEFRA under SI 2005/2989. We

asked whether DEFRA considered that the Government had the powers that

it needed to deal effectively with any incidence of avian influenza, and we

were told that work was in hand to ensure that the relevant legislation was

ready to respond to any developments. It is clear, however, that such work

had not been carried through to making the amendment to the Welfare of

Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/731) which has

now been effected by these Regulations.

13. We believe that the House will be interested in DEFRAs decision to make

this urgent amendment to the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing)

Regulations 1995, to permit ventilation shutdown as a method of killing

birds in order to control disease (most immediately, avian influenza).

4 Further information about this outbreak is given on DEFRAs website, including a press release of 28 April

2006 entitled Confirmation of type of avian influenza in chickens: Dereham, Norfolk. See:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2006/060428c.htm

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