"I thought you may be interested to know that last month, Environment Secretary Michael Gove laid legislation to make CCTV cameras mandatory in slaughterhouses in England. Many of you wrote to me about this matter when it was first proposed by the Government, and I campaigned for this to be brought into law. I wholeheartedly welcome this new legislation, which demonstrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the UK remains a world leader in animal welfare.
"Under this new legislation, authorised officers such as official veterinary surgeons would have unrestricted access to this CCTV footage, reassuring consumers that high welfare standards are being effectively enforced. If breaches are found, a slaughterhouse can be given a welfare enforcement notice, have its licence suspended or revoked, or be referred for a criminal investigation.
"It is of paramount importance to maintain our high standards of animal welfare, and it is something I will continue to strongly advocate. Indeed, I fully support the current campaign to ban electric shock dog collars, and I recently spoke in a Westminster Hall debate to highlight my backing for this initiative. I am clear: these collars are not only barbaric, they are ineffective devices that do nothing but cause pain, and therefore must be banned.
"I thank you for continuing to make me aware of your passion for animal welfare, a passion that I wholeheartedly share. As ever, if there is ever anything you wish to raise with me, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org."