Written Answers. - Slaughter of Animals.

Tony Gregory

Question:

240 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if all on-farm slaughter of farm animals for the purposes of food and mouth disease prevention is carried out by qualified veterinary surgeons; if all animals are killed out of sight of other living animals; and if he will state the slaughter methods being used. [7828/01]

The European Communities (Protection of Animals at Time of Slaughter) Regulations, 1995 (S.I. No. 114 of 1995) lay down standards for the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing and give effect to Council Directive 93/119/EC of 22 December 1993. The regulations set out rules for the treatment of animals prior to death and for humane methods of slaughter and killing of animals in slaughterhouses and other locations such as farms in order to ensure that animals are spared avoidable pain and suffering.

Animals being depopulated as a precautionary measure against foot and mouth disease must be slaughtered on-farm as the movement of these animals to a slaughterhouse while alive would exacerbate any risk that might exist of spreading the virus. Depopulation on-farm is carried out by licensed slaughter experts, using humane killers, under veterinary supervision and in accordance with the best veterinary advice. Welfare considerations, and particularly the rules set out in the regulations, would always be uppermost in the minds of those whose task it is to put down the animals. It is not practicable under conditions of on-farm depopulation to arrange out-of-sight slaughter in all cases. I have arranged for a copy of the regulations to be sent to the Deputy.