Parliament was back last week. One important meeting to me was Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee when we met experts on the subject of Pet welfare and abuse.
We had representatives in from local government, the RSPCA, The Kennel Club, Pets at Home and from the Pet Industry Federation. I know that pet ownership is very popular in South East Cornwall. I meet many cats and dogs in the constituency especially when I am out canvassing views.
The topics included unscrupulous breeding, including canine fertility clinics, the importation of animals, abuse and mutilation, for example ear cropping, how people acquire pets, retail/ online sales, pet ownership, the cost of living and pet behavioural issues, regulation and enforcement.
It is hoped that our detailed look at the issues with the help of these experts will help shape future legislation to keep our non human family members safe.
I was also able to catch up with the corporate affairs manager of Asahi UK who own Cornish Orchards based in Duloe at The National Association of Cider Makers reception. It was good to be able to hear the importance they place on Cornish Orchards as an important part of their portfolio.
I recently met with local author Desmond Tynan in Cawsand. His book ‘Mammy’s Boy’ gives an experience of childhood growing up in a small terrace in Ireland with many siblings and pets.
It gives an insight into what growing up was like before children spent their time looking at screens. I enjoy the works of local authors, artists and musicians. We are very blessed in South East Cornwall with so many talented people.
This week the Farming Minister Mark Spencer wrote to me to let me know that the government have recently awarded £218,485 to farmers in the South East Cornwall constituency who applied for the first round of Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology grants as part of the Farming Investment Fund.
This was part of a total £19 million awarded to over 3,300 pig, poultry, sheep and cattle farmers who successfully applied to the fund.
These grants, for sums between £1,000 and £25,000, will help farmers to invest in items ranging from livestock handling equipment to reduce lameness in sheep and cattle, to automated monitoring systems which free-up farmers’ time and limit environmental stress in poultry housing.
They form part of the Government’s Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, which supports farmers to transition to higher welfare practices and systems, whilst improving animal health, boosting productivity and encouraging sustainable food production.
In 2023, the Government is making more than £168-million in grants available to farmers to drive innovation, support food production, improve animal health and welfare and protect the environment.
Through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, we plan to offer further rounds of equipment and technology grants, as well as larger grants for bespoke infrastructure projects.
These were announced in July this year and will fund improvements in calf housing.