Parliamentary Questions and Answers

Question 426 - Answered on 16th December, 2008

Mary Upton:

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the status of the Animal Welfare Bill; when this Bill will be published; the stance this Bill will take on hare coursing; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Written reply. Ref No: 45985/08

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: (Brendan Smith):

A good deal of work has been undertaken on drafting the new Animal Health and Welfare Bill which gives effect to a number of animal health and welfare commitments contained in the Programme for Government.

My officials are currently meeting with organisations that made submissions on the draft Bill following the public consultation process initiated by me earlier in the year. It would not be appropriate to comment on specific issues to be included in the Bill until the consultation process is completed. I would however state that the Bill is intended to update existing legislation to ensure that the welfare of all animals is properly protected and that penalties for offenders are increased significantly.

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