HC Deb 04 June 1824 vol 11 cc1095-7

On bringing up the report of this bill,

Mr. Wynn

expressed his disapprobation of this species of legislative enactment. He thought it of very little use to insist on the knackers keeping a register from day to day of the fodder they gave their horses, as it was not to be supposed that these men, so accustomed to cruelty, would stick to the truth.

Mr. R. Smith

considered the measure as unnecessary. Under the bill to prevent cruelty to animals, cognizance might be taken of the offence against which this enactment was directed.

Mr. R. Martin

said, he had been solicited by a number of highly respectable persons to introduce this measure. One gentleman, a distiller of large property in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel, where these slaughtering houses were chiefly situated, informed him, that he was obliged to remove, with his family, four miles into the country, in consequence of the disgusting scenes which they were daily obliged to witness in those haunts of cruelty. Gentlemen mistook the matter greatly, if they supposed that it was a fit object for ridicule. Had they witnessed that which he had observed with his own eyes, they would not refuse their support to the bill. He had been to see this slaughtering-house in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel. He there beheld eight or ten horses, some with their eyes knocked out, others hopping on three legs, all miserably maimed, which had upon an average been kept there several days without food. He gave the man in wailing a few shillings to procure two or three trusses of hay, which were brought accordingly. The horses, instead of their natural deliberate way of feeding, ran at the hay, and gorged it greedily, like hounds. The man who was standing by said "There now, you'd much better gi'd me the money to drink." "I would see you d—d first," was his reply; upon which the ruffian said, "that he would trample down the hay, and make it impossible for the horses to eat it." This compelled him to compromise with the fellow, to whom he gave two shillings; but he took ample vengeance upon him afterwards, by sending more than 200 letters, appointing him to come to various parts of the town to bring away dead cows and horses. Surely every gentleman ought to be anxious to save the horse that had been instrumental to his use and pleasure, from so appalling a fate. For his own part, he never allowed a horse, over which he had once thrown his leg as its owner, to be sold: and he had left directions in his will for having them shot, if his successor should attempt to do so. The hon. gentleman related several other instances of outrageous cruelty practised upon horses which were sold for slaughter; and invited the learned member for Lincoln, who had opposed the bill on the ground of the style of its composition, to assist him in fitting it for the approbation of parliament.

The bill was ordered to be re-committed.