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
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'