Safeguards for animals face the axe

LEGAL safeguards on the treatment of domestic pets and slaughter of cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are under threat in the Government's drive to remove restrictions on business.

The Deregulation Bill, the flagship of John Major's legislative programme, will transfer supervision of animal slaughter from local councils to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Officials are also canvassing changes in the laws on dogs, cats, horses and circus animals.

The Bill partly repeals the 1974 Slaughterhouses Act and the 1967 Slaughter of Poultry Act, and would transfer supervision of animal slaughter from local councils to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Compassion in World Farming, which seeks better conditions for farm animals, says the legislation is a backward step. Peter Stevenson, the organisation's political and legal director said: 'Just when we need a toughening-up of the law, we get deregulation. This Bill gives the minister a blank cheque.'

Last year 600 million chickens, almost 35 million turkeys, 19 million sheep, more than 14 million pigs and nearly 3.4 million cattle were slaughtered for British dining tables. Even without the Government's deregulation plans, guidelines on electrical stunning of animals before death are often ignored.

Welfare activists are alarmed that the Government has been asking animal organisations if they have any objections to changes in:

The 1963 Animal Boarding Establishments Act, which sets standards of care and safety rules for kennels and catteries.

The 1973 Breeding of Dogs Act, which prevents the over- breeding of bitches on 'puppy farms'.

The 1925 Performing Animals Act, which looks after circus beasts.

The 1983 Pet Animals Act, which regulates pet shops.

The Riding Establishments Act on competence and safety at horse riding schools.

The 1975 Farriers Act, which registers blacksmiths

The British Veterinary Association said:'These acts were brought in to protect the welfare of animals. There is no way they should be deregulated. If anything, they need to be kept under constant review to make sure they are strong enough.'

The DTI's purge of legal safeguards extends far beyond animals. More than 50 pieces of consumer legislation are being investigated with a view to partial or total abolition, including regulations governing push- chair safety, package holidays, childrens' nightwear, furniture safety, the contents of cosmetics and toy safety.

The Shadow Industry Minister, Derek Fatchett, said last night: 'It is now becoming clear just how wide-ranging the Government's plans are.

'If what we hear is true, they are going to rip the heart out of the most fundamental health and safety, consumer, environmental and animal welfare safeguards that we have in this country. No one and nothing will be safe.'

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect