HC Deb 09 August 1869 vol 198 cc1491-2

said, in the absence of his hon. Friend (Sir Robert Anstruther), he would beg to ask the Vice President of the Council, Whether he can inform the House what steps the Government intend to take in the exercise of the powers entrusted to the Privy Council by the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill for the protection of animals carried by railway or in steamers from unnecessary suffering?


Sir, the powers entrusted to us by Parliament by the Bill now speedily to become law, for the protection of animals carried by railway and in steamers from unnecessary suffering, shall have the best attention of Earl De Grey and myself, and it is a matter which each of us has much at heart. However, on considering the question, we found it would be impossible to use those powers without obtaining full information with regard to the present conditions of both railway and steamboat traffic as far as regards the carriage of animals. It was necessary to find out what was the present state of things before we could make up our minds as to the alterations to be made. Earl De Grey and myself have, therefore, appointed a Committee, consisting of gentlemen in our own Department, with a gentleman from the Board of Trade and another from the Customs, to look into the matter and make as early a Report as the nature of the inquiry will admit of. In the meantime we have seen the managers of the principal railways, and it is only justice to them to state that they have expressed great willingness to meet us in this matter. We are addressing to them a letter asking them to inform us, by an early date, at what stations they already supply water, and at what other stations they will by that time have made arrangements to supply it. When we have thus ascertained what the railways will do of themselves, it will be more easy for us to consider the serious question in what way we shall use our powers in relation to railways and steamboats.