Dáil Éireann - Volume 460 - 31 January, 1996

Written Answers - Animal Welfare.

97. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry the plans, if any, he has to phase out sow stalls as well as tethers; if he will reduce the phase-out period to four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2094/96]

98. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry if he will meet with the group Compassion in World Farming to discuss the breeding conditions of Irish sows and other issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2095/96]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mr. Yates): I propose to take Questions Nos. 97 and 98 together.

Community rules on the protection of pigs were adopted by European Union Directive 91/630/EEC in November 1991. These lay down the minimum space to be provided for each pig and [1948] ban the use of the tethering system on a phased basis; no new tethering systems are permitted to be introduced after 31 December, 1995 and existing systems must be eliminated by 31 December, 2005. I transposed this Directive into national law by Ministerial Regulations on 19 April, 1995. While I have no plans to seek a change in Community rules, I am currently preparing a scheme of capital grant aid to assist producers to make the necessary structural alterations to comply with the new regulations.

I have not been in a position to meet the Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) group owing to my work schedule. Officials of my Department have already met CIWF representatives on a number of occasions to discuss animal welfare issues and are available to do so again if necessary.