Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 [Seanad]: Report Stage (Resumed) (Continued)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 798 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 94 Next Page Last Page

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív I have no difficulty with this amendment, especially because it is only involves a regulation making power. Is that correct? Whenever the Minister comes to make this regulation, will he ensure it will be published and debated at the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, rather than the usual procedure used in dealing with a draft regulation, in case there are unintended consequences? Everyone should have a chance to make an input; that is all I ask.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan Will this provision apply retrospectively? Will everyone with a dog in the country have to have it microchipped? If anyone is found not to be in compliance, what will be the consequences?

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney To reply to the first question, I intend to bring the regulation to the committee. We have several codes of conduct and regulations to agree to relating to fur farming, the digging out of animals and the micro-chipping of dogs. We will also have an entirely new and improved approach towards equine identification also. I intend to bring these issues to the committee in order that we can go through them and iron out concerns people may have.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked about retrospection. I am keen to see all dogs microchipped, but we have to have a reasonable timeframe for people to do this. I understand the United Kingdom is setting a date of either 2016 or 2017 for all dogs to be microchipped. We must figure out how best to ensure people will be able to afford to do this. For example, we will discuss the matter with the Veterinary Council of Ireland to determine whether veterinary surgeons throughout the country will do this work at cost. I gather that if they were to do so, it might cost approximately €7.50 to have a dog microchipped, as opposed to €40 or €50, if one were to pay the cost of expertise and so on. However, in doing it in that way veterinary surgeons would be bring in far more clients to their practices and it would make sense for them to do so. We need to work this out with veterinary practitioners and other interested groups. We will have a consultation process before we finalise any regulation and it will involve a discussion at the committee.

  Amendment agreed to.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Bernard J. Durkan): Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Amendment No. 2 has already been discussed with amendment No. 1.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move amendment No. 2:

In page 7, line 15, after “1993” to insert “AND THE WELFARE OF GREYHOUNDS ACT 2011”.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move amendment No. 3:

In page 9, line 17, to delete “on the island of Ireland” and substitute “in the State”.

Following legal advice it was deemed more correct to make it clear that the Bill is limited to those animals in the State.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move amendment No. 4:

In page 9, line 26, after “a” to insert the following:

“licence, identity document or passport issued in respect of an animal,”.

This amendment relates to definitions. A discussion in my Department has identified the need for a slight expansion of the definition of records to specify that documents such as animal passports or identity documents should be included.

  Amendment agreed to.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move amendment No. 5:

In page 11, to delete lines 14 to 23 and substitute the following:
“(b) all buildings, gates, fences, hedges, boundary walls and other structures used to contain the animal are constructed and maintained in a manner that minimises—
(i) the risk that the animal will stray,

(ii) the risk, or spread, of disease onto or from the land or premises on which the animal is kept, and

(iii) the risk that the animal will damage the flora and fauna of the surrounding environment where the animal is contained,

having regard to shared boundaries or commonage.”.

This is a minor formatting amendment consequential on acceptance of Deputy Thomas Pringle's amendment on Committee Stage. We are seeking to provide for the risk that an animal will damage the flora or fauna of a surrounding environment. Such lists follow a precise format with commas, full stops and so forth and we must ensure the format is followed. The term "and" should occur between the second last and last entry. When the list consisted of two items the word "and" was placed between them, but given the addition of a third item, it must be moved to between the second and third item.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív It took me ten minutes last night to figure out what the amendment was about.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I realise it is a somewhat farcical explanation, but it is accurate and takes account of Deputy Thomas Pringle's amendment.

  Amendment agreed to.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Bernard J. Durkan): Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan Amendments Nos. 6 and 12 are related and may be discussed together.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move amendment No. 6:

In page 12, to delete lines 26 to 28 and substitute the following:

“(5) This section does not apply to anything done under or in accordance with—
(a) the Animal Remedies Act 1993,

(b) the Irish Medicines Board Act 1995, or

(c) the European Union (Protection of Animals used for Scientific Purposes) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 543 of 2012).”.

My Department became aware late last year that the Minister for Health had introduced a new statutory instrument amending the Irish Medicines Board Act 1995. This reflected recent changes in the law at EU level relating to the replacement of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 by the European Union (Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes) Regulations 2012. Therefore, we need to keep the references in this legislation up to date. Amendment No. 12 is similar to amendment No. 6 and reflects the replacement of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 by SI No. 543 of 2012, the European Union (Protection of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes) Regulations 2012. In other words, the law changed while the Bill was being considered and we have reflected this in the amendment.

  Amendment agreed to.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Bernard J. Durkan): Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan If amendment No. 7 is agreed to, amendment No. 8 cannot be moved.

Deputy Simon Coveney: Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I move amendment No. 7:

In page 13, to delete lines 8 to 28 and substitute the following:
“11.—(1) A person who has a protected animal in his or her possession or under his or her control shall, having regard to the animal’s nature, type, species, breed, development, adaptation, domestication, physiological and behavioural needs and environment, and in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, take all necessary steps to ensure that—
(a) the animal is kept and treated in a manner that—
(i) safeguards the health and welfare of the animal, and

(ii) does not threaten the health or welfare of the animal or another animal,

and
(b) all buildings, gates, fences, hedges, boundary walls and other structures used to contain the animal are constructed and maintained in a manner so that they do not cause injury or unnecessary suffering to the animal.”.

This section sets out several basic and general principles relating to the duty of welfare owed to an animal by its owner or carer. The detailed discussion on Committee Stage was helpful, given the need for precision not only in the wording used but also in the ordering. While the points were certainly open to debate and it is perhaps unlikely that owners of more wilful species such as cats would be prosecuted for the behaviour of such animals because they are considered ungovernable - perhaps that is a questionable term - I took the view that there was strong enough merit in the points made by Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív to persuade me to reorganise the section to ensure the terminology relating to "having regard to the animal's nature" and so on was clarified to make it clear that this proviso applied to the section as a whole. While the amendment does not change the meaning or substance of this important provision, it removes any ambiguity. We held a long discussion on the matter on Committee Stage. I do not propose to accept Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív's amendment on the topic because while it sets out to solve the same problem, it would weaken rather than qualify the basic duty of care on an animal owner. Therefore, it would have greater scope to be misused by unscrupulous persons. In other words, I have accommodated the Deputy's concerns in my amendment, while at the same time maintaining the strength of this important section in making clear the responsibility of an owner towards his or her animals.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív It is fair to say the Minister has gone to considerable lengths to take on board points made on Committee Stage when there was substance behind them. I will withdraw amendment No. 8 and accept the Minister's amendment.

  Amendment agreed to.

  Amendment No. 8 not moved.

Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan: Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan I move amendment No. 9:

In page 14, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:
“(2) A person shall be guilty of an offence if he keeps animals solely or primarily—
(a) for slaughter (whether by himself or another) for the value of their fur, or

(b) for breeding progeny for such slaughter including keeping animals or (as the case may be) breeding them for sale for slaughter for the value of their fur.
(3) This Act requires:
(a) the mandatory registration of current fur farmers, owners of farms used for fur farming,

(b) the Minister to appoint an official to make mandatory inspections on a regular basis of fur farming establishments to inspect the conditions of fur farms and ensure that humane practices are used according to the killing and eradication of animals,

(c) that only certified chemicals and processes be used to kill and eradicate animals used for the purposes of fur and ones which are environmentally friendly and do not risk contamination, pollution or adverse effects on the surrounding natural environment.”.

We debated this issue on Committee Stage. There are two aspects to it, the first of which relates to fur farming per se. Many of us have made known our views and how opposed we are to fur farming. At this stage many countries in Europe have banned fur farming, the latest being the Netherlands, the third largest fur producer after China and Denmark.


Last Updated: 02/09/2015 15:18:39 First Page Previous Page Page of 94 Next Page Last Page