Report on the Welfare of Animals Bill: Volume One - Second Report
Northern Ireland Assembly Report 18/10/11R, Second Report of Session 2010-11 - Report Together with the Minutes of Proceedings, Minutes of Evidence, Written Submissions and Memoranda Relating to the Report
- Northern Ireland Assembly - Committee for Agriculture & Rural Development
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The 'Report on the Welfare of Animals Bill (NIA 18/10/11R)' details the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development's consideration of the Welfare of Animals Bill which revokes and replaces the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 1972.
The Purpose of the Bill is to:
(i) Align welfare standards for farmed animals with those of non-farmed animals.
(ii) Introduce an offence for the failure to take reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals for which a person is responsible.
(iii) Provide a constable or inspector with the ability to seize an animal which is suffering or is likely to suffer.
(iv) Introduce a total ban on the docking of dog's tails.
(v) Transfer additional enforcement responsibilities to local government.
During the process of reviewing the Bill the Committee found the following issues required extensive consideration:
Enforcement and resourcing responsibilities on local government; and
Licensing of breeding establishments.
Tail docking proved a divisive issue during the consultation period. The Bill proposed an outright ban on docking a dog's tail within Northern Ireland or the deliberate travel outside of Northern Ireland that results in the docking of a dog's tail.
The Committee opposed such a measure in respect to working dogs as it is their considered understanding that full tails are more susceptible to injury and that the controlled docking of working dogs' tails before the pup is five days old is in fact a preventative measure and beneficial to the welfare of the working dog.
The Committee verbally and in written correspondence requested a compromise with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development such as an exemption line similar to that enacted in England in 2006 and 2007.
As the Department indicated that it was not prepared to do so, the Committee advised that without compromise they would oppose the clause as presented in the Bill. In order to clarify the exemptions proposed the Committee created an amendment that defines those dogs exempted from the offence of tail dockings:
Spaniels of any breed or combination of breeds.
Terriers of any breed or combination of breeds.
Any breed commonly used for hunting, or any combination of such breeds.
Any breed commonly used for pointing, or any combination of such breeds.
Any breed commonly used for retrieving, or any combination of such breeds.
Enforcement and Resourcing Implications for Local Government
The appointment of inspectors will create resourcing implications which the Committee are keen to address. Members are concerned that, given the current economic climate, the estimated sum of £760,000 required will not be found and moreover, that the amount is only for the current CSR period.
The Committee agreed that this figure should be clearly reviewed. The Committee recommends that the power to appoint inspectors in respect of non-farmed animals be deferred for a period not less than 12 months to allow for extensive consultation to be undertaken between the Department and elected council representatives.
Licensing of Breeding Establishments
The Committee was concerned that, although it welcomes the introduction of powers in respect of breeding establishments, the cost to local government and the ratepayer- licensing and monitoring - would be a burden. The Department assured the Committee that the new licensing function would operate under 'full cost recovery' and therefore all costs will be recovered from the breeding establishment.
|Format||Paperback||Published||05 Jan 2011|
|Availability||Out of stock - available to order||Delivery||Delivery options and charges|