Politicians have moved to deny media reports alleging that the Government has given itself greater powers to slaughter animals with owners’ consent.
Leader of the House of Commons, Robin Cook, denied the Government’s powers to slaughter animals had been amended, saying: “The only powers for entry and slaughter contained in the regulations are powers that already exist in statute. There is no extension on those powers.”
Cook continued: “The only new matter in those regulations is the power to carry out wider testing to try to establish whether there has been transmissible forms of BSE. That form of testing does not involve the slaughter of live animals – it involves the examination of dead carcasses. There is no extension of the power to slaughter in these regulations.”
However, the Daily Telegraph pointed out that Cook declined to address the issue of why the new statutory instrument includes powers to slaughter “any TSE susceptible animal”, while the EU regulations it is meant to be enforcing states only “suspected” and “infected” cases.
Nor did he address the new sentences of up to two years imprisonment for not aiding officers slaughtering susceptible animals.