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Parliamentary Question No. 378, For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 4th March, 2008.

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she is considering new legislation, primary or secondary, to update the law regarding the welfare of animals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – David Stanton.


The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: (Mary Coughlan)

The Programme for Government contains a number of animal welfare-related commitments including one to consolidate responsibility for the welfare of all animals, including non-farm animals, within my Department. Other such commitments include the updating of existing legislation to ensure that the welfare of animals is properly protected and penalties for offenders are increased significantly. The preparation of comprehensive legislation in the form of a draft Animal Health and Welfare Bill, to take account of these commitments is proceeding within my Department. In advance of its publication, my Department will engage in a form of public consultation regarding the proposed legislation, which will provide an opportunity for interested parties to submit their views.