§ Order for Second Reading read,
§ MR. ANDERSON,
in rising to move that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that last Session, when he was moving the second reading of this Bill, and was narrating some of the atrocities that had come to his knowledge in connection with pigeon-shooting, one hon. sporting Member, whose feelings perhaps were outraged, asked for a count of the House. It was late in the Session, on a Saturday, and a number of Members walked out, and conspicuously amongst them those Members of the Government who were then present. If those hon. Members had remained for a few minutes longer, possibly the atrocities he described might have been put an end to at least one year sooner than could now be the case. He quite recognized that some hon. Members were incredulous of the statements he then made, for several had informed him privately that they thought he must have been hoaxed, as it was absolutely impossible human beings could contrive or perpetrate such atrocities. He wished it were so, and he also wished it were unnecessary for him to horrify the House by repeating them; but he felt it was absolutely necessary that he should do so, because, unless he made known the full facts of the case, he might fail to create as strong a feeling 1649 against this so-called sport—this bastard sport—of pigeon-shooting, as to enable him to get it put down by law. Trap shooting at birds was never at the best much of a sport; but, at least in the old times, it was different from what it had now become. Long ago wild blue-rocks were the birds used; they were put in the trap unmutilated, and they had a chance of their lives, and that system tested the skill of the sportsman. But that was all changed now. Blue-rocks were no longer to be had; the common tame household pigeon was substituted. Still, the purveyors of the birds called them blue-rocks, but they had no more title to that name than a sparrow. Some of the birds were so tame that when the trap was opened they refused to rise, and something in the nature of a spur was used. The trapper wrenched out the tail at one pull, and, in order to make the incentive so much the greater, frequently touched the raw with pepper, and sometimes with turpentine. Sometimes the trapper would stick a pin in the rump of the bird, so that it could not sit, and through the pain was certain to fly when the trap was open. The nature of the barbarity that was applied to the bird depended entirely upon what the interest of the trapper might be—which side tipped him best, or whether his interest lay in backing the gun or the bird. Again, if he did not wish to be seen drawing out the tail feathers, be-because some people objected to that being done, he could give a very severe twist to the rump, which would be quite as effective, and possibly a great deal more brutal. He might also squeeze the fragile framework of bones so that the bird would be hardly able to fly. If the trapper wanted the bird to fly to the right he would destroy with a pin the left eye or gouge it out with the finger nail, knowing the bird would fly to the side it could see; if he wanted it to fly to the left he would put out the right eye. If he wanted to utterly confuse the flight of the bird he would put out both eyes, as was sometimes done. There was another atrocity which had occasionally been noticed, the object of which he was hardly able to state, and that was that the upper mandible of the bill was bent over and stuck through the soft centre of the lower, the object of which, he had no doubt, was to confuse the flight of the bird. When last year he 1650 told the House, and published to the country through the Press, that atrocities so devilish in their ingenuity were practised on poor tame doves—actually on those birds which by the common consent of mankind from the earliest times had been regarded as types of gentleness, innocence, and peace—the statement was received in some quarters with horror, and in others with incredulity. He had then sources of information that made him quite certain that the charges were true, and he could have substantiated them if necessary. But last month an event occurred that rendered any trouble of that sort unnecessary. At Belper, in Derbyshire, the officers of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society were able to bring a case into Court, which was described by the Derbyshire Advertiser. One of the witnesses said a match was made between Mr. Samuel Hawkins, publican, and John Rogers. The birds used were tame pigeons, and were put into the trap by the defendants. As soon as the first bird got out the witness noticed how remarkably it flew about. The bird was shot by an outsider, and upon examination it was found to have a damaged eye. Another bird was let loose, and it flew to the left and was killed by a man named Cook, and when examined it was found that one eye had been forced out. He spoke to the defendants about it, and told them that they would hear of it again. A third pigeon was liberated, and one of the eyes of that had been forced out. A fourth pigeon was liberated, and it was found to have had both eyes put out, and also had a pin stuck in the flesh near the tail. The heads of two of the pigeons were produced in Court. Mr. Brown cross-examined the witness, but failed to shake his testimony. John Cook, another witness, was sworn, and deposed that he witnessed the match, and saw birds with their eyes forced out, and one had the tail feathers torn out with flesh sticking to them. Well, the two defendants were convicted, and got two months with hard labour, and they were well served. At that match there were absolutely three of the identical malpractices of which he had told the House last year made use of and conclusively proved in Court. That being so, he need hardly trouble about proving the others. Perhaps some hon. Members might say that if the ordinary 1651 law could punish a thing of this kind, what more did they want? His reply to that was that this was a solitary conviction which had been got, and it had been got solely from the reckless openness with which the offence had been committed, and which came from immunity from conviction. In general these malpractices were carried on with the utmost secrecy. Generally the shooting was not in the open, but inside a high enclosure, and it could easily be understood that where 200 or 300 pigeons were fired at in one day, even if one or two should be picked up outside the enclosure in a mutilated condition, it was almost impossible to bring home the maiming of any particular bird to any particular person inside the enclosure; therefore the possibility of getting convictions was so very small that there seemed to be no remedy for it but putting the sport itself down by law. Lord Westbury had written a letter to the papers to say that at Hurlingham and the Gun Club no act of cruelty had ever been practised. Lord Westbury must be a very credulous person indeed if he imagined that because gentlemen had made a rule that there was to be no cruelty practised, and that if there was any observed they would prosecute the trapper, that therefore everything would be right. No one imagined that noble Lords and hon. Gentlemen who were present knew anything about these matters, or would sanction them; on the contrary, most likely these malpractices were for the very purpose of plundering those Noblemen and Gentlemen; therefore they were not likely to know of it. At first he was very willing to believe these malpractices were unknown at Hurlingham; but he got a letter from a rev. Doctor, the vicar of a London parish, telling him that he had amongst his parishioners a man who was an attendant at Hurlingham, and that these malpractices were not unknown even at Hurlingham. As for the Gun Club at Notting Hill, he himself knew that they were perpetrated there, and that that place was entirely unworthy of Lord Westbury's voucher. But much as these aggravations increased the necessity for legislation of this sort, he did not wish to rest his case for this Bill upon the atrocities at all; he took his stand against the sport itself. Even without the aggravations it was as cruel as most 1652 of those that had already been put down by law, and it was more brutally cruel than any that had not been put down by law. It had no redeeming feature. There was no trace about it of genuine sport—by which he meant the pursuit of the wild animal, whether bird, beast, or fish. Even if there was some cruelty—they must all admit that these sports had some cruelty about them—it might be said there was an extenuation, there was some compensation, as they tended greatly to promote health, strength, courage, skill, self-reliance, and he thought it might not unfairly be said in their favour that they had contributed in no small degree to make our race the dominant race which it was, and to keep it so. But against the wholesale slaughter of doves there was not one word of that that could be said. It was nothing but pure, wanton slaughter. It was in no sense whatever a manly sport. It was a mere gambling game, in which the lives of the birds were made the counters. The type of innocence and gentleness was made an instrument of gambling and plunder, and there was nothing more in it than that. Every game or sport on which the gambling spirit fixed was inevitably degraded by it, and it was the gambling spirit that had originated the malpractices he had narrated, and for which there was no remedy but that of forbidding the sport by law. Some of those which were already forbidden were less revolting in their cruelty, but those were the sports of poor men, and it was very easy for noble Lords and aristocratic Legislators to put them down; but here was a sport practised by rich men and noblemen. It could only be practised by rich men, because the birds themselves cost from £8 to £10 per 100. The entries were something like £10 at great matches, and as much as £1 was charged for admission to the enclosure. At the very best it was a cruel sport. A wild bird, shot at might escape; but these poor pigeons had little chance, for if one got outside the enclosure it was beset by a number of guns of outsiders all round, and if dropped wounded it was immediately chased by a lot of roughs with sticks and stones. If it escaped them and reached the roof of a house it would there die of its wounds, or be starved to death. If it escaped altogether it probably returned home or joined some of 1653 the flocks of pigeons in the neighbourhood; in either case it would be only an escape for a time, as it would be brought out again for a subsequent day's sport. He had now, he thought, said enough on that painful part of the subject, and he believed he had with him the sympathy of all genuine sportsmen in both Houses. The worst part of the sporting Press was, of course, against him, and, like Lord Walsingham, stigmatized the Bill as a disguised attack on sport in general. They described himself as a fanatical Scotchman, a hater of all sport, and one who would like to put down all sport and make all the world as sour and fanatical as himself. Those papers did him far too much honour; they judged him far too highly; he was unable to speak from that high platform. There were hon. Members, some of whom, perhaps, might take part in the debate to-day, who were able to speak from that platform, and he must admit it was a much higher moral level to be able to say they never in their lives sought amusement in any sport that inflicted death or suffering on any of God's creatures. He himself could not speak except from the lower level of one who had been much addicted to sport with rod and gun, and who had even several times engaged in the sport he now sought to put down by law. His object was no higher than to prevent all genuine sport being discredited by atrocities that were perpetrated under its name, and which had no proper connection with it at all. But this shooting at tame pigeons was not only very cruel, but it was now unnecessary. There was an invention called the "clay pigeon," which was not a pigeon at all, but a saucer made of terra cotta, and when projected from a catapult, gyrated in such a remarkable manner that it tested the skill of the sportsmen, and did it at a twentieth of the cost, for it was not broken unless struck by the shot; and he understood that such eminent sportsmen as Mr. Reginald Herbert and Mr. Cholmondley Pennell had declared in its favour. He had now very little more to add. He had said that when he first exposed these things to the House the statement was met with incrudulity in some quarters and horror in others. One gracious lady, the second lady in the land, seemed to have believed it and to have taken it to heart, and with the 1654 true instincts of a tender-hearted woman she determined to throw the weight of her high example and influence to the side of the helpless and suffering doves. She had done so with great effect, and had earned the blessings of all humane people. He took great encouragement and hope from her action; and he trusted that those who might have opposed the Bill would, through the reverence which they and the people bore to the illustrious lady, listen to her pleading when they turned a deaf ear to his own. The Bill, however, was, he saw, to be opposed. He did not know what line the hon. and learned Member for Bridport (Mr. Warton) or the hon. Member for Wigtonshire (Sir Herbert Maxwell) intended to take in the matter; but some of the opposition, he believed, was directed solely against the 2nd clause of the Bill. Now, the original intention of that 2nd clause was to do no more than to protect animals in menageries, dancing bears, and such like; but Lord Walsingham said it would stop stag-hunting also—the hunting of bagged foxes, and of trapped hares and rabbits. He must say that to keep wild animals in captivity for the sole purpose of occasionally hunting them appeared to him to differ very little from the sport of badger-baiting, which was put down by law. He thought it would require a casuist to draw a distinction between the two. One effect of Lord Walsingham's letter had been to deluge him with letters giving instances and proofs why the hunting of tame or captured animals ought to be put down. He did not intend to go into that question further than to quote one instance from a book written by Mr. Brinsley Richards, called Seven Years at Eton, which described how the elder Eton boys used to keep a pack of beagles, and used to hunt bagged hares and foxes; but before hunting them one of the pads was cut off—[Cries of "No, no!"]—that was stated by Mr. Richards—and was done in order to prevent the animal getting too far in advance of the hounds. He hoped that was not true; but if it was, it went far to show that even the sports favoured by Lord Walsingham might very properly now be put down by law. Even Lord Walsingham did not pretend that the Bill in any way touched the hunting of wild animals, and it certainly did not do so, neither was it intended to touch 1655 the hunting of tame ones; and, that being so, he was quite ready now to say that if the House desired it, or even did not disapprove of the change, as soon as the Bill reached the Committee, if it reached that stage, he would either modify the 2nd clause so as to exempt the hunting of tame animals, or leave the clause out altogether—["No, no."]—just as the House chose. The primary object of the Bill was to put a stop to trap-shooting, and he had no desire to peril the chances of the Bill by endeavouring to extend the provisions in directions wider than the House wished. That was all he had to say for himself on the subject; but he would like to express his regret, in which he was sure the House shared, at the absence of one of the backers of the Bill, the hon. Baronet the Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Sir Frederick A. Milbank). The hon. Baronet was confined to his bed by severe sickness. There was no more distinguished sportsman in either House of Parliament than the hon. Gentleman, and so anxious was he to show that his backing of the Bill was no mere formal one, that it was no half-hearted one, that even from his bed of sickness he had written a long letter on the subject, in which he not only condemned pigeon-shooting, but also the hunting of tame stags, as a barbarous amusement that should be put down by law instead of being supported by the Government of the day. He thought the hon. Member did an injustice to the Government of the day, for it was not they that supported the Master of the Buckhounds, for that expenditure was on the Civil List; but he hoped some day the Government might do something with respect to it. He would like, if allowed, to read an extract from the hon. Baronet's letter, and he the more particularly wished to do it because it related to Hurlingham. The hon. Baronet said—The Hurlingham Club then consisted of a great many gentlemen who met for the purpose of pigeon-shooting, and very high stakes were shot for. After a few weeks it became evident that betting would be the very curse of the so-called sport. Scores of pounds were laid upon every shot on what were called grand days. This led to the inevitable result—rascality. One day it was observed that there was something wrong with the trapping of the birds. We kept careful watch, and observed that the trapper several times took birds from a different hamper from what he did at others, It was 1656 observed that one hamper contained good, fresh-caught birds, whilst the contents of the other consisted of wretched, half-starved ones, that made a miserable flight, so that it depended on how the money was put on whether the shooter should have a good bird or a bad one. No doubt, the trapper took his tip from someone betting whether he had backed the gun or the bird. The bird was trapped accordingly. From that time I made up my mind to have nothing more to do with pigeon-shooting. This rascality was practised, but luckily found out, at a club of gentlemen like Hurlingham; therefore, what can be expected at pigeon-shooting matches got up at low public-houses, all, no doubt, for betting purposes? It is well known that the whole of the old school have left off shooting at pigeons on account of its having got into the hands of a set of professional pigeon-shooters, who do not shoot for the so-called sport, but for making money. Now, as to the cruelty, I myself have observed birds after having been shot thrown into a heap struggling for life, and I have drawn attention to it. The poor birds are picked up by a wretched creature who is called a trapper, who has no more feeling than a stone; and whether the birds struggle for life for half-an-hour after they have been picked up or not is a matter of perfect indifference to him) If such things exist at Hurlingham, where there is a certain supervision, what may be expected at other places where the butchery is carried on, and there is no one to look after the sufferings of the poor creatures? Of the disgusting practices you mention I have no knowledge, except that the tails of the birds are invariably pulled out, and that in many cases they are squeezed there can be no doubt.He could use no stronger argument than that; therefore, without making any comment on the letter, he would now move the second reading of the Bill.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Anderson.)
§ SIR HERBERT MAXWELL
said, that, although he had placed an Amendment upon the Paper adverse to the second reading of the Bill, he did not wish it to be supposed for a moment that he was an advocate of the particular practice which the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) had declared it was the primary object of his Bill to prevent. He fully appreciated, and claimed, a large amount of sympathy with the amiable motives that had induced the hon. Member to bring forward this measure; and if he thought that the Bill would go no further than putting an end to the practice of pigeon-shooting, he, for one, should not have ventured to oppose its second reading. He was as anxious as the hon. Member could be that the time should arrive when civilized men 1657 could enjoy themselves without their pleasure being mixed up with the sorrow of even the meanest creature that breathed; but they had to look at these things in a practical light, and, if they admitted the principle of this Bill, he was inclined to ask where they were to stop? He could not avoid noticing the strong appeal which the hon. Member had made in reference to some letter which, it was alleged, had been written by a lady of exalted rank, expressing a strong opinion discouraging the practice of pigeon-shooting. He believed that a statement to the effect that such a letter had been written had appeared in the newspapers; but he had never heard or seen any confirmation of that statement from reliable sources—[Mr. ANDERSON: Or contradiction."]—and, for his own part, he believed that statement to be apocryphal. ["Oh, oh!"] He did not believe that the Princess of Wales had expressed any opinion as to the merits or demerits of the practice of pigeon-shooting; but he readily admitted that, had she done so, her opinion would certainly have had far greater weight with him than the arguments which had been put forward by the hon. Member for Glasgow in support of his Bill. Where was the line to be drawn? It must be remembered that pigeon-shooting was akin to other forms of sport which were usually recognized as legitimate. He would ask what well-defined line was there between shooting pigeons from traps—pigeons which had been reared and carefully fed and tended for the purpose—and shooting at pheasants which had been carefully bred and tended in a cover netted at the end? ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members said "Oh, oh!" but it was an undoubted fact that in Lincolnshire and in the adjacent counties the breeding and sale of pigeons for shooting formed an important industry. They were carefully fed and tended in cots for the purpose of being shot at the matches. Pheasants were likewise bred and reared in large numbers, and carefully fed and nurtured during the summer for the purpose of being shot in the season. There was, therefore, very little to choose between the two classes of sport. At all events, it involved a very nice question. The hon. Member had strengthened his arguments with details of a most revolting character, and he must admit that 1658 if the practices described by the hon. Member were followed, no expression of abhorrence could be too strong for them. The hon. Member had said that in order to prevent pigeons which were too tame from sitting upon the trap a pin was inserted in that part of their body upon which a pigeon did not usually sit. If these barbarities could be proved, he quite admitted that a very strong case would be made out for the entire suppression of the practice of pigeon-shooting; but he thought the hon. Member had entirely failed to make out his case. At Macclesfield, the Cheshire magistrates the other day fined a trapper 50s. and costs. That showed that the ordinary law was strong enough to interfere and obtain convictions. The hon. Member quoted a solitary conviction; he had quoted another; and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals last year recorded four convictions obtained for the improper treatment of pigeons in trap-shooting. The state of affairs which the hon. Member had described might point to an alteration of the law being required in order to bring offenders in this respect more within its power; but he hardly thought the hon. Member had made out any case for the entire suppression of the practice. He had been informed that at certain pigeon-shooting matches which were held at Hurlingham last summer, several officers of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals were present by invitation, and they, having witnessed the proceedings, declared that no cruelty had taken place during the meetings. He should be perfectly willing to give these officers every facility for putting a stop to anything like cruelty at these matches; but he objected to the prohibition of a sport which might be cruel, but which was only one or two degrees more so than other pursuits which were recognized as legitimate, and which he trusted would remain legitimate. He must confess, however, that he had the greatest reluctance to oppose this Bill, which was intended to ameliorate the conditions of animal life. He must remind the House, however, that this country was a long way ahead of other countries in the care which we bestowed upon the lower animals. Long might it remain so; but he trusted that, in exercising that care, we should never be led to take indiscreet action. He asked 1659 the hon. Member to look at his measure, from the standpoint of the pigeons. The hon. Member denied that the birds were blue-rocks. That was merely the name by which they were known; but what he wished to point out was this, that if the law put an end to pigeon-shooting, these blue-rocks would never be brought into existence at all, because it would be worth nobody's while to breed and rear them. Therefore, the hon. Member proposed to ameliorate the conditions of the pigeon's life by preventing its life at its very inception. He wanted to ask the hon. Member this question—whether, if he were a blue-rock, he would rather accept life under the condition of his life being a short and happy one and violently terminated, or whether he would reject life at all upon such terms? He rather thought, therefore, that, from the standpoint of the pigeons, the existing law was more merciful to them than that which was proposed by the hon. Gentleman's Bill. Many other animals profited by being the object of man's sport. Thus, foxes would have long ceased to exist in this country had they not been used for the purposes of hunting, and the race would have been exterminated instead of leading a short and a merry life. [A laugh.] Well, a fox's life was a merry one, because for six months in the year he lived entirely unmolested, and for the remaining six months he had to take an occasional chance of losing his life; but generally he was able to take good care of himself. He had heard the opinion expressed that the hon. Member for Glasgow had himself once been young, although it was true that he was now approaching maturity and had abandoned the errors of his youth altogether. He had even heard it stated that the hon. Member had himself engaged, and probably not unsuccessfully, in pigeon-shooting matches. The hon. Member had, however, discontinued the pursuit, and now seemed inclined toCompound for Bins he was inclined to,By damning those he had no mind to.The hon. Member condemned pigeon-shooting, but practised the gentle art of fishing. But was there greater cruelty in the one than in the other? He would suppose that the hon. Member for Glasgow was going fishing, and sent to the garden to have worms dug up. After- 1660 wards he visited his favourite stream, and, probably, to attract his victim, he would drown a handful of these worms by throwing them into the stream. Having done that, he would proceed to impale upon the hook, through the entire length of its body, one of these wretched invertebrate animals, which being invertibrate would not be included in the provisions of the Bill. If successful, some hungry fish swallowed the worm. Now, the degree of pleasure the hon. Member would derive from the success of his efforts would be in direct ratio to the amount of resistance he met with and the amount of agony inflicted upon the victim—that was to say, he would receive more pleasure by playing the fish for half-an-hour than if he were able to land it at once. Now, he would ask whether there was a greater degree of cruely in pigeon-shooting, when it was legitimately practised, than there was in connection with fishing? He believed that this Bill would deal a blow at all field sports. He remembered asking a gentleman once whether he went in for riding? And his answer was—"No, I can't boar the sight of a horse. He bites you with one end, kicks you with the other, and makes you sore with his middle." Was it to that that English gentlemen and sportsmen were to be reduced? They all retained certain traces of their barbarian ancestry; they could not keep it out; it would return, and the instinctive pursuit would assert itself, whether it was in the collection of butterflies or the hunting of small animals; and he thought they would do well to regulate it, but not to prevent it altogether. He knew there were sickly philanthropists who would not be content until the youth of this country proceeded forth only on the bloodless bicycle, and, instead of training racehorses, confined their attention to such innocent amusements as the cultivation of cucumbers. But his principal objection to this Bill was because he believed that the 2nd clause would affect a good many more sports than its promoters intended. He had no idea when he put his Amendment on the Paper that the hon. Gentleman meant to withdraw that clause. If that were so, why was it ever inserted in the Bill? If, however, that clause were allowed to stand as it was, then stag-hunting would become an illegal pursuit. The hon. Member 1661 said he would not be sorry if that were the result; but he thought that was a very narrow view to take of the matter. The relative amount of cruelty inseparable from stag-hunting and fox-hunting was very difficult to define, and hon. Members might rest assured; if they consented to any Bill that abolished the chase of such animals, the day was not far distant when all field sports would be put an end to, in obedience to the intolerant spirit to which they were unhappily becoming accustomed. He congratulated the hon. Member for Glasgow in having attracted attention to the abuse of which he complained, for he believed it would have the effect of directing the attention of the officers of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to those evils, and that the existing law would be found sufficient to meet the circumstances of the case; but he must ask the House to hesitate before it accepted hysterical and grandmotherly legislation, which, in his opinion, was discreditable in its character. He, therefore, begged to move the Amendment of which he had given Notice.
To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "although the Legislature is willing and anxious to give further assistance in the suppression of Cruelty to Animals, this House cannot approve of a Bill which threatens seriously to interfere with recognised and legitimate sport,"—(Sir Herbert Maxwell,)
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ MR. W. E. FORSTER
said, the hon. Baronet had made a very amusing speech of a somewhat contradictory nature. He understood him to say that he would make no opposition to the Bill if it had been confined to pigeon-shooting, and he used a rather strong expression in condemnation of the practice; but it seemed to him (Mr. W. E. Forster) that the most part of the hon. Baronet's speech was in vindication of the sport, and in explanation of the manner in which it should be conducted. He made one very amusing appeal to his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), who so ably brought forward this Motion, by asking him to put himself in the position of a blue-rock; but 1662 this would be difficult, for the position was not a blue-rock in existence, but a blue-rock before it was born. It was, however, a serious matter whether they should oppose this Bill, and prevent what appeared to him to be a cruel and disgraceful sport, and being thus admitted by public opinion generally, a demoralizing sport to all those who took part in it. The hon. Baronet thought the officers of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ought to attend all pigeon-shooting matches and put a stop to the cruelties of the sport. The officers of that Society did attend these pigeon-shooting matches, and did their very best to put a stop to the cruelties perpetrated; but they could not. In one or two cases, by extraordinary good fortune, they might be able to stop it; but, generally speaking, they found themselves utterly unable to do so. He supposed he should be considered one of the fanatics of that House. His hon. Friend was somewhat in the position of a repentant sinner, and held a strong view in favour of sport generally. That was the view generally held by men who, he believed, were as humane—probably more humane—than himself (Mr. W. E. Forster). But he happened to hold a different view with regard to it, because he never had to do with killing animals for sport. In fact, to make a candid confession, he never shot a fellow-creature but once, and that was a favourite cat whose life was a misery to it. But if he were as strong a sportsman as many of his Friends, he should say that in the interests of legitimate sport they could not by any possibility do anything more likely to preserve sport in the country than to support the Bill of the hon. Member for Glasgow. Whereas, if they wished to injure sport, and increase what he thought was more or less a growing public opinion against unnecessary cruelty, even for the purpose of amusement, they could not do better than oppose the Bill. Depend upon it, it would go very much against the sense of people and their feelings to find that English sport, of which so many persons were proud, was to be defended by legalizing and continuing this shooting of doves out of a trap. They must remember what had happened in past times. There was quite as much to be said—in fact, more to be said—in favour of cock-fighting. 1663 The hon. Baronet had said the breeding of pigeons was an industry. So was the rearing of cooks in the old days of cock-fighting. He thought there was much more to be said in favour of cock-fighting than of pigeon-shooting. He believed the cock did enjoy fighting, and he did not suppose the pigeon particularly enjoyed the flight it took from the trap. The Legislators of a former time found that such was public feeling against the sport of cock-fighting that it had to be given up. He strongly advised all friends of sport now to do the same with regard to pigeon-shooting. He did not think any argument could be adduced in support of this particular sport. There was no courage, or endurance, or outdoor exercise required in connection with this sport. The hon. Baronet said that we retained some traces of the barbarism of our ancestors. If he meant that any of those qualities which had enabled Englishmen to rule the world wore cultivated for pigeon-shooting, he denied that that was the case. To take enjoyment in killing or attempting to kill perfectly helpless animals could not, in his opinion, tend to the keeping up of any of those qualities by which we had made and kept our position in the world. The remark that this was an unmanly sport had been cheered on both sides of the House. If possible, there was an adjective that still better applied to it—that it was unwomanly. He could conceive few things more revolting than seeing a pigeon match conducted under the auspices of gentlemen of position, with ladies of beauty and rank looking on with approval. The Royal Buck-hounds had been referred to. He thought there was a very great deal to be said against the practice of keeping deer for the purpose of subjecting them to torture from time to time; but he advised his hon. Friend who introduced the Bill to get what he could, and if he found that he could secure the Bill by dropping out the 2nd clause, relating to stag-hunting, he would recommend him to do so. In conclusion, might he be allowed to make a suggestion to sportsmen on both sides of the House? If they should start a movement, with the object of giving prizes for showing how the amusement of sport could be obtained with the least torture to animals, it very likely would result in changes in a great many sports. What 1664 they had now to do with was this particular sport. Its object was gambling, and its result was gambling. There was not one of the qualities for which sport was held up to admiration to be found in it, except merely the technical and mechanical act of shooting in a particular way. He could not help thinking that the country would by a very large, almost an overwhelming, expression of opinion, support a law similar to what his hon. Friend had introduced; and if the Bill were rejected in consequence of the resistance of sportsmen, he thought that sport would not gain thereby.
said, he was anxious to intervene early in the debate lest the sports which he favoured should come in for condemnation; but up to that time he was happy to say that no sport had been abused for which he had the slightest liking. He remembered having once shot a pigeon freed from a trap, and ever since he had felt ashamed that he should have done such a thing. He was very much inclined to agree with the right hon. Gentleman who had just spoken as to the desirability of living without giving pain to dumb animals; but he feared that condition of things would never come in the present state of the world. At the same time, he asked the right hon. Gentleman to consider that it was not in those countries where there was the least sport that there was the least cruelty to animals. The subject before them was a very difficult one, and there appeared to him to be a considerable confusion of mind amongst those who discussed it, both in and out of the House. It was said by the supporters of the Bill that the practice which they desired to abolish inflicted a great deal of pain upon dumb animals. That was an argument which might be used against all kinds of sport. One hon. Member seemed to think that the old modes of pigeon-shooting were less cruel than the present system because in former times more birds escaped. To that hon. Member he would point out that many birds must have escaped in a wounded condition and suffered greater pain than they would have suffered had they been despatched at once. Now, as far as cruelty was concerned, he thought the very strongest argument he had heard in favour of shooting tame birds was that so few of them 1665 escaped. If they were hit at all they were killed, and the sportsman was spared the pain of thinking, as he had often done after a good day's shooting, of how many birds he had wounded, but which had escaped. If pigeon shooting was demoralizing, let them put it down; but let them understand distinctly the ground upon which they did so. But the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had had the courage to show that cock-fighting was not nearly so cruel as many of the sports engaged in by half the Members of that House. It was said that the sport to which their attention was particularly directed led to gambling; but so did nearly all other sports. The objection, therefore, did not apply exclusively to the sport in question. And, for his part, he could not see why they singled out one sport on that ground, unless they were prepared to put down all sport to which that objection applied. It had also been said that this sport was a rich man's pastime. He had been very much surprised to hear that statement, for it was admitted that the matches were mostly arranged in low public-houses. Did rich men go to low public-houses? He did not know. They might do so. He asked for information. With the very best motives the Legislature had, for many years past, been putting down one after another the sports of the poor man—while they had never touched the sports of the rich. Was there any greater cruelty in pursuing a rabbit with a terrier, than in hare-hunting or fox-hunting? He did not like to hear hon. Members talk about the cruelty of poor men's sports, when, they must know that the kinds of sport in which they themselves indulged were just as cruel. He thought, therefore, the House would be making a great mistake if, in its honest endeavour to minimize the infliction of unnecessary pain on animals, it laid itself open to the imputation of striking at the sports for which its Members had no liking, and forgetting altogether the sports against which just as much might be said on the ground of cruelty.
§ DR. FARQUHARSON
said, he thought that all who had the interests of sport at heart ought to be very grateful to his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) for having brought this Bill before the House, and 1666 for having cleared an institution which they regarded as English, and of great value to the country, from any imputation of complicity in the infliction of unnecessary cruelty. The hon. Member, unlike many persons who took up what were called sentimental arguments, had not begun by begging the whole question, and by assuming the existence of cruelties which had not been proved to exist. He had brought before them, almost with painful elaboration, statements of cruelties which were undoubtedly most amply founded on fact. Speaking as one who had great sympathy with sport, and was himself a sportsman, 'he (Dr. Farquharson) also wished to have an opportunity of saying a word for his own profession. Medical men were occasionally spoken of by certain sections of the community as being so hardened and brutalized by their training that they occasionally sympathized with cruelties; but he was prepared to say, after consultation with some of the most distinguished members of the profession, that they were in hearty sympathy with this Bill, and would give it all the support in their power. He thought that the strong point in favour of the Bill as regards pigeon-shooting was not so much the cruelty of shooting itself, as the unsportsman like character of the practice, and the degrading cruelties by which it was surrounded. In defending any sport, all that could be pleaded in justification was that the cruelties were counterbalanced by great advantages and benefits to the community; but whenever the cruelties of these sports got too apparent, and whenever they became surrounded by heartless abuse, and the sentiment of sport became overborne by the mere pleasure of killing, then they should very likely have to deplore an agitation got up in the community to endeavour to sweep away sport altogether. There was no doubt that the real danger to sport in this country was from the altered agricultural state of the country. Farmers were no longer able to take part in the sport, and hunting was no longer confined to the country gentlemen. Special trains brought down large parties of men from London, who trampled down and destroyed crops, and who very often paid nothing to the hunt, and the people whose lands they destroyed obtained nothing except damage. 1667 He thought their only hope for sport in the future was that they must cultivate sympathetic relations with the farmers, show them the sport was in no degree to injure their property, and enable them from time to time to share the sport, and then sport would be made on a firm basis, undisturbed by legislation. They had heard from the hon. Baronet who had opposed the Bill several arguments against it. They had been told that Lord Westbury and other noble sportsmen went to Hurlingham and elsewhere, but heard nothing of these things. He did not think that this argument could hold water for a moment. It was not at Hurlingham that these things took place, but at the low public-houses which were frequented by the lower classes, at which these cruelties were only too frequent. They had been asked, where was this kind of legislation to stop? He said no doubt if they went back to the discussions when this Cruelty to Animals Bill was introduced 30 years ago, they would have heard the same arguments made use of with regard to badger-drawing, bull-baiting, and cock-fighting, which, they were told, were all English sports, and were necessary to keep up the pride and prestige of the country. Then they were told that the ordinary law was sufficient to stop these evils. The hon. Baronet answered that argument himself when he told the House that under the ordinary law in the past year only four convictions took place, and as the hon. Member for Glasgow brought forward a great many instances of gross cruelty, it would appear that the ordinary law was not sufficient. The hon. Baronet said they did not prevent other cruelties, and why should they prevent this? The old argument was a very good one, that two blanks did not make a white. They must begin somewhere, and he hoped they would not stop until they had swept away all unnecessary cruelty. The hon. Member seemed rather to deplore the cruel instincts of mankind, but these must be repressed when they spring up. They were told that sports of poor men were not to be touched by legislation. Unfortunately the sports of the poor man were too often cruel. The upper classes conducted their sports with a minimum of cruelty, because they had been educated up to the point; but, unfortunately, in the lower classes the cruelty still remained, and it must be 1668 repressed. Those who objected to sport which involved cruelty might be called sickly fanatics, but they must be content to hear that; and he, for one, had much pleasure in supporting the Bill.
§ MR. C. ROSS
said, that, although he had been a Member of that House for two years, this was the first occasion on which he had ventured to address it, and he did so now in defence of the defenceless. His main object in rising was, as a member of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and one of its Council, to tender the most cordial thanks of that Society to the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) for having brought this measure forward. The object of that Society was not to put down sport, but deliberate and cold-blooded cruelty. Pigeon-shooting did not come within the category of real sport. Though a member of the Society to which he had referred, he was as fond of sport as any Member of the House, and loved fishing and shooting. There was a certain element of uncertainty connected with real sport that made an enormous difference to his mind between it and such practices as that of pigeon-shooting. One might tramp a moor for hours without getting a shot, or draw cover all day long, and get a few tumbles and have a blank day; and there was, therefore, about real sport an uncertainty that added a dignity to it, and which deprived it of all resemblance to the cold-blooded and deliberate intention to slaughter a bird out of a cage. The hon. Baronet (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had asked the hon. Member for Glasgow to join with him in imagining what he would think of pigeon-shooting if he were a blue rock. Now, both Gentlemen were countrymen of his own, for he was half a Scotchman himself, though representing an English constituency; and as Scotchmen had never been distinguished for any great amount of imaginative power, he could not regard the question from that point of view, and should be content to regard it from the point of view of a man. As a man, he thought pigeon-shooting ought to be condemned by law as an unmanly and brutal pastime. He thanked the House for having borne with him, and he thanked the hon. Member for having brought forward this Bill, which he trusted, in the interests of manly sport as well as of poor dumb, defenceless 1669 creatures, would find a place upon the Statute Book.
§ MR. MONK
said, they had heard a great deal about real sport; but he would like to ask them what was "real sport?" Pigeon-shooting was said to be no sport at all, and probably to those who never shot it was no sport at all; but, although it certainly was not the highest kind of sport, he believed it afforded sport to a great number of their fellow-subjects. No doubt there was a great deal of sport in walking over a moor; but if they were to define what sport was, he thought they would have some difficulty in coming to a satisfactory decision; certainly, if they were to take for granted all that they had heard from those who had introduced this Bill. When 150 or 200 pheasants rose and were covered by six or seven guns, which killed or wounded almost every one of them, he should like to ask his hon. Friend whether that was sport. The hon. Member for Glasgow had laboured to bring an accusation against Hurlingham, and had read a long letter from the hon. Baronet the Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Sir Frederick Milbank) as to what took place there. Many years ago the hon. Baronet and himself were members of the Hurlingham Club, they had shot pigeons together when the House of Commons shot against the House of Lords, and there was no more distinguished shot than the hon. Baronet. On a certain occasion the hon. Baronet said that he noticed something unfair going on—that blue rocks, which were fast birds, were taken out at one time and slow birds at another; but his hon. Friend did not say what took place in consequence. He had no doubt the trapper was dismissed. His hon. Friend must be aware that the manager of Hurlingham was a gentleman of high birth and connections, and was probably known to a majority of the Members now in the House. Whenever there was pigeon-shooting at Hurlingham the manager was almost invariably present, and he could assure the House that none of the cruelties which he had heard mentioned with horror and indignation had ever taken place there. He quite agreed with his hon. Friend that animals deserved full protection from cruelty; but, if that was the object of the Bill, did his hon. Friend think it went far enough; and 1670 did he, for instance, not wish to suppress such cruel practices as the crimping of salmon and cod, and the boiling of live lobsters? Whatever was done ought, at least, to be done sincerely; and if because the House had heard of certain cruelties at low public-houses, do not let them put down that which was certainly as genuine a sport as shooting tame pheasants, brought up by hand, at a "hot corner." Again, did his hon. Friend intend to persevere with the 2nd clause of the Bill, which related to tame stag-hunting? He had once been in a stag hunt; but, after the pitiful sight of the poor, hunted tame deer, with the hounds hanging on to its flanks, he had never taken part in another. Was the hon. Member further aware that in Norfolk and Suffolk hares wore caught in nets and put in confinement and sent to other parts of the country for the purpose of being coursed, and did he mean to put down such sport as that? If this Bill was to pass it should be extended so as to apply to netted hares and bagged rabbits. He had given up pigeon-shooting for many years, but he was not at all ashamed that he had shot pigeons. Certainly he had never seen, nor would he have tolerated, any cruelty with respect to the sport in which he had engaged. There were probably many anomalies and inconsistencies in the attitude of the law to sport and animals in general, but he would not now discuss them; his only object had been to vindicate Hurlingham from the charge of cruelty.
§ MR. BLAKE
said, he entirely concurred with what had fallen from the hon. Member who introduced the Bill; and, for his part, he should certainly support the Motion for the second reading. He was only sorry that the Bill had not taken a more exhaustive scope, and that it did not prohibit fox-hunting and hare-coursing. ["Oh, oh!"] Those were his opinions, and he would tell the House why he held them. The hon. Baronet (Sir Herbert Maxwell) had asked where were they to stop if they admitted the principle of this Bill, and what was the difference between shooting pigeons and pheasants? That was a very simple question, and easily answered. We were justified in killing animals for the purposes of food, and we were justified in killing all animals that were vermin and annoyed us. But in both cases we 1671 were absolutely bound by the laws of God to do the killing in the most rapid and instantaneous manner. It was a most cruel and brutal proceeding, utterly inexcusable from his point of view, to prolong the sufferings of any animal merely for sport. He could not imagine anything more brutal, more sinful, or demoralizing than the practice of hunting bagged foxes and hares. In the case of the fox the animal, it was true, was vermin, and ate our chickens, and ought to be destroyed; and as to the hare, he should be killed in order that we might eat him. But the killing in both cases should be as expeditious as possible. [Colonel KING-HARMAN: What about salmon crimping?] He would ask the hon. Member where, on any occasion, he ever prolonged the pain of the salmon beyond the time necessary for catching it? As to pigeon-shooting, it was condemned by Sir Robert Peel, and he (Mr. Blake) supported the Bill in this respect. He would reply to the hon. Baronet (Sir Herbert Maxwell) by saying that he killed pheasants in order to eat them; but if they could be killed more rapidly by cutting their throats, by all means let us do it. Pheasants might be killed to be eaten, but their sufferings ought not to be prolonged for sport only. The hon. Baronet might just as well eon-tend that we were not justified in killing chickens and ducks for food. He entirely disagreed with the noble Earl (Earl Percy) that it was justifiable to set a dog after a rabbit, and hunt it for amusement, or that anybody was justified, for the purpose of sport, in torturing for one single instant any of God's creatures. In the presence of his hon. Friend the Member for Queen's County (Mr. Lalor), who was an active member of the Land League, he said there was nothing he more thoroughly sympathized with in the Land League—although its object was not the same as his own—than in its endeavour to prevent fox-hunting in Ireland. He thought their funds could not have been spent in a more justifiable way, and he congratulated them on the partial success of their efforts. No matter how popular fox-hunting was, both inside and outside the House, as practised in Ireland, it was a most monstrously brutalizing, cruel, and sinful sport. What could be more unfortunate than to see the hon. Member 1672 beside him (Colonel King-Harman)—with whom he differed in politics, but, in common with most of his countrymen, whose personal qualities he admired as well as his personal appearance—what could be more unfortunate than to see the hon. Member for County Dublin, mounted on a horse, and with his pack of hounds pursuing an unfortunate animal from sunny morn to dewy eve? Surely, if anything could demoralize such a noble specimen of humanity, it was that sport. The practice in France when they went out to hunt a fox was to take a gun on the saddle, and shoot him at the first opportunity. That was the right thing to do. He remembered reading of an ardent French sportsman who was brought to an English hunt by an equally keen English sportsman. The former went and provided himself with a gun. A fox was started, and the report of a gun was heard. The visitor turned to his host with the greatest possible elation, and said—"Do you know what I have done? I have shot the fox." There was a great hubbub in the hunt, and the gentleman was requested not to come out any more. On one occasion, and on one occasion only, he had been out to a fox-hunt himself. [Laughter.] Yes; he had. He went out with the Kilkenny hounds, and he went for the purpose of seeing if he could be of any use to the fox. The master was the great Sir John Power. The horse went much faster than he had anticipated, and soon, to his very great horror, he found himself leading the hunt. He knew where the fox was, and he was asked the question, and he was sorry to say that, in the interest of humanity, he was guilty of a little fiction, for he sent the hunt the wrong way. Afterwards the master of the hunt came up and said—"Do you know you sent the hunt the wrong way; you pointed in one direction, and the fox went in another." His reply was—"That is quite true, but it is consistent with my principles;" but the master of the hunt rejoined—"You may keep your principles, but you must keep away from the hunt in future," and accordingly he did so. As these were his principles, he hoped the House would excuse him for having expressed them so strongly.
§ COLONEL KING-HARMAN
said, he thought the speech of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Blake) proved con- 1673 clusively the necessity for opposing the second reading of this Bill. The hon. Member for Glasgow stated, indeed, that if the Bill were allowed to pass the second reading, he would, if such a course were in accordance with the feeling of the House, modify or withdraw the second clause. But the hon. Gentleman was met with cries of "No, no!" from both sides of the House, and the last speaker said he would not be allowed to withdraw it. He would not follow the hon. Member in his amusing and interesting speech further than to say that the hon. Member, in referring to him, did certainly touch upon a barbarous case of cruelty to animals when he said that he (Colonel King-Harman) had followed the chase on one horse "from sunny morn to dewy eve." If, in point of fact, 18 stone had been carried over Dublin County "from sunny morn to dewy eve" on the back of one unfortunate hunter, that would indeed have been an instance of cruelty to an animal. He was asked whether he had ever unduly prolonged the agony of a fish. His reply was, "Certainly not," as he had always brought the fish to bank as soon as possible. He would, however, remind the House that the hon. Member for Waterford was for some time a Commissioner of Inland Fisheries, and that as such it was his duty to see that the laws were duly respected which allowed salmon to get up from the lower waters, where they might have been taken almost painlessly with a net, to the upper waters, where they were killed, after a long struggle, with a rod and line, and after enduring half an hour's agony. He would ask the hon. Member how it happened that, although he deprecated cruelty to some kinds of animals, he never, in his capacity as a Fisheries Commissioner, said anything about crimping the unfortunate salmon and the harmless cod? He agreed with the first portion of the Bill, and if it applied solely to pigeon-shooting the hon. Member for Glasgow would find him among his supporters. He had himself been a pigeon-shooter, but he gave up that amusement a long time ago, because he thought it was unsportsman like and unnecessarily cruel. He was not now speaking of the barbarities in pigeon-shooting that were practised in some parts of the country and the suburbs of London, for nothing could be said in extenuation of those horrible practices. Pigeon 1674 shooting, even when practised as it was now at Hurlingham, and as it used to be at the Gun Club, was not a manly pursuit, and it was one that was decidedly cruel. The hon. Member for Glasgow spoke of this pursuit as having fallen into disrepute because of the gambling with which it was associated. In former days he had attended a great many pigeon-shooting matches, and he found that the betting was always for ready money. He was surprised that this practice of ready money betting was not put down by the officials of the law, who would not allow it on racecourses. In his opinion, if ready-money betting were put down at pigeon-shooting matches, there would be very little pigeon-shooting. The hon. Member for Glasgow quoted a statement made by an author not much known to fame, to the effect that a mutilated hare was pursued by Eton boys, with beagles or harriers. He (Colonel King-Harman) spoke in the presence of many Etonians and of many others who knew what Eton boys were, and he fearlessly asserted he did not believe that in the history of Eton College such a base act of barbarity was ever committed. The hon. Member for Glasgow said that the object of the 2nd clause of his Bill was to secure the better treatment of animals in menageries. Perhaps the tender heart of the hon. Member was so touched by the departure of Jumbo from our shores, and the piteous sorrow of the mourning Alice left in the Zoological Gardens, that he had brought in this Bill to provide that the keepers should not longer be permitted to interfere with the tender affections of the animals committed to their care. He presumed the hon. Member for Glasgow had been to Hengler's Circus, and had seen the wild boar of the forest compelled, at the bidding of his keeper, to pick up the letters A, B, B, A, and so on. It was necessary to prevent such tortures as must have been inflicted in order to teach that noble but unsagacious animal to go through such a performance. If the Bill had been confined to the cases of hares caught in boxes and let out, or to the hunting of tame rabbits, he could have supported it just as he would that part of it referring to pigeon-shooting; but this 2nd clause was artfully drawn up, and might be twisted by zealous humanitarians into almost 1675 any shape, and be made to cover almost every description of sport enjoyed in the British Isles. So far as the question of shooting pheasants was concerned, he read a story, which he did not believe to be true, that some years ago, at a large shooting party, when the birds were laid out, one of the visitors noticed that the cock pheasants all had their tails broken. On inquiry, it appeared that some of the birds had been put under flower-pots, and, in order that the rise should be gradual, the keepers went along and took off the pots one by one. It might, perhaps, seem odd for an Irishman to object to setting birds put of traps, for Irish landlords were generally shot at from a trap, and there was not even a close season for them. He could well understand that, in the districts where fox-hunting and hare-hunting abounded, the stag-hunt seemed an ignoble pursuit; but in the neighbourhood of large cities, and in certain parts of the country where there were no fox covers, it was the only way in which gentlemen, and especially business gentlemen, whose hours of relaxation were small, could get sport and exercise. What would be thought by numbers of City men if they were debarred from running with Her Majesty's Staghounds once or twice a week? Could it be said to be a cruel sport when it was practised by the Queen's Buckhounds, and presided over by the Master of the Buckhounds? The Ward Union Staghounds in Dublin afforded the present Lord Lieutenant almost the only sport he had during his brief periods of relaxation. It seemed to him that this Bill was the outcome of the meddling and humanitarian legislation which had been pressed upon the House from time to time. A certain amount of pain would be inflicted and blood would be shed so long as the instinct of sport was allowed to prevail in the human mind, and so long as we were allowed to live, like our forefathers, on wholesome beef and mutton, fowl, game, and other products of nature. He looked upon this Bill as one that should be thrown out, not as regarded pigeon-shooting, but on its merits as a whole. It ought to be thrown out as a meddling attempt to interfere with legitimate and honourable sport, and as a precursor of legislation under which fishermen would be imprisoned, butchers would be hung, 1676 and we should all be ridden over by rampant vegetarians, and there would, be in our markets "neither fish, flesh, fowl, nor good red herring."
§ MR. R. T. REID
said, he must deny that this Bill attacked fair and honest sport. If any gentleman cared for legitimate fox-hunting or shooting, or any kind of sport which involved the chase or destruction of wild animals, he would not be interfered with in the smallest degree by this Bill. In his opinion, that which was not confined to the chase and destruction of animals in a state of nature was not genuine sport of which any true sportsman could approve. This Bill would afford relief in a great many cases in which it was desirable that relief should be afforded. There was often practised towards animals kept in menageries great cruelty, which would excite just indignation in the minds of those who knew of it; and a Bill of this description was necessary to protect those animals from such treatment. Pigeon-shooting was another case to which the measure ought to apply, that not being an instance of legitimate sport. The real question was not one as to bagged foxes or carted stags. The hon. Member for Glasgow was prepared, if the House desired it, to alter and modify the Bill, so as to prevent it from applying to cases of that kind. For himself, he regretted that it should be necessary to make any such amendment as that; but he earnestly hoped that the House would not reject a Bill which would unquestionably have the effect of preventing cruelty, which he was sure they would all deprecate. He believed that, sooner or later, more of these Bills would be brought forward, and more support would be given to them in future, not for the purpose of putting down genuine sport, but in order to suppress cruelties by which some so-called sports were accompanied.
§ Mr. ECROYD
said, he felt obliged to the hon. Member for Glasgow for introducing the subject. He thought it was impossible to draw a clear logical distinction between different kinds of sport on the ground of the entire absence or presence of cruelty. He would not go the length—as some estimable people did—of condemning all sports on the ground of the cruelty inevitably connected with them; but he was afraid that, so long as man exercised his supremacy over the 1677 lower animals, and used them as food, there would always be a certain amount of cruelty in his dealings with them. But there was a broad distinction between genuine manly sport and that abuse of sport which was now exciting a feeling of reprobation in the country; and he would support the Motion of the hon. Member for Glasgow, among other reasons, from an interest in the preservation of true and reasonable sport. The old-fashioned, manly sport which had been practised for generations by English gentlemen, and which brought them the enjoyment of fresh air and genial, pleasant society, while it strengthened them physically and encouraged them in good fellowship, was far too valuable ever to be willingly sacrificed by the English people. At the same time, he looked back with regret on the days when our sportsmen were more content to seek their sport in the fair pursuit of wild animals than they appeared to be now; and he thought that the desire manifested in recent times to concentrate a large amount of slaughter in a small space and a short time was to be reprobated. If it were persisted in, it would give rise to so widespread a feeling of disgust that even the most legitimate sport might be brought into great danger. He hoped, therefore, that the Motion of the hon. Member might find favour with the House, and that would be satisfied with carrying that part of his Bill which was likely to obtain practical support. At the same time, he trusted the result of the discussion might be the preservation of English sport from those excesses which threatened to bring it into general disrepute, and to increase the feeling against it amongst classes of the community who themselves took no part in it.
§ MR. HENEAGE
said, he thought it was about time the House should know where they were. After the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), they were under the impression that he would withdraw the part of his Bill which was objectionable to all true sportsmen; but, since the amusing address of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Blake), things had got a little mixed. He should like to know from the hon. Member for Glasgow whether it was to be understood that if the Bill was allowed to 1678 pass a second reading, the hon. Member would undertake, in Committee, to move the omission of the 2nd clause? [Mr. MONK: No!] The hon. Member for Gloucester said "No;" but if the 2nd clause was to be omitted he would give the Bill his hearty support; but if they were asked to acknowledge the principle of the 2nd clause, he, for one, could not consent to do so. He entirely concurred in the letter which had been read from the hon. Member for the North Riding of Yorkshire (Sir Frederick Milbank). He thought, however, that the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) had spoiled his case by overstating it. He did not believe in the stories about putting out the birds' eyes; but he believed there were few pigeons put into the trap, at Hurlingham or anywhere else, without having some feathers extracted from them. With regard to the speech of the hon. Member for Waterford (Mr. Blake), he thought it came to this—that there was no cruelty in killing an animal if they ate it afterwards. Pigeon-shooting in olden time was quite different from that now practised, and he thought that, as it was now carried on, it ought to be put a stop to. He believed that the question before the House had become rather complicated, and he should like the House to have a clear notion of what it was voting on before they went to a division. He considered the 2nd clause a dangerous one, and hoped the hon. Member would withdraw it.
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
had come down to the House prepared to support the Bill, because he thought it an excellent Bill as it stood. At present there was a law to prevent cruelty to tame animals, and his hon. Friend wished to include in the Bill all animals, whether tame or wild. He understood, however, that his hon. Friend was to withdraw the clause giving those general powers. The practical result of this would be that the House would say that ratting and other things which hon. Gentlemen called manly sports, although cruel, ought to be permitted by law. The argument of the landed interest was that, if ratting were forbidden, they must necessarily forbid the hunting of tame stags, and then some monster would bring in a Bill declaring it to be cruel to kill wild foxes. If they must submit to the al- 1679 teration of the Bill, let it go forth to the country that his hon. Friend had been forced by the House to withdraw a clause generally assented to, as he (Mr. Labouchere) believed, by the people of the country, because hon. Gentlemen said that it would interfere with their ideas of sport. If the clause were removed, the Bill would simply forbid the shooting of birds liberated from traps or other contrivances, though they might still have their eyes put out. The House was told that pigeon-shooting was poor sport, because betting took place upon it. If he were a pigeon, and were put into a trap to be shot at, he should be quite indifferent as to the betting. Betting did not make the sport cruel. He was reading the other day that certain persons in the East End of London were in the habit of catching birds and blinding them in order to make them sing; if the 2nd clause was struck out, they would still be able to practise that cruelty. If, however, the hon. Member must modify the Bill so as to enable hon. Gentlemen opposite to hunt tame stags, well and good; but if he reduced the Bill merely to a prohibition of shooting pigeons from traps, he would recognize, or would rather call upon the House to recognize, the fact that there was to be a distinction between cruelty towards a tame animal and cruelty towards a wild animal.
§ SIR. EARDLEY WILMOT
said, he had always been an ardent sportsman, and the reason why he should support this Bill was that he thought it would promote instead of discourage legitimate sport. He could not help feeling that the tendency of modern sport was to alter somewhat its genuine character by enabling it to be carried on with less trouble and less exercise than formerly. Even in battue-shooting, however, it frequently happened that the pheasant, being a free bird and at liberty to exercise its natural instincts, escaped the gun of the sportsman stationed at a "hot corner;" but that was not the case with pigeon-shooting. The unfortunate pigeon was kept in a trap, and the only time it had for escape was a very short one. He had become a great enemy to pigeon-shooting ever since he had visited Monte Carlo, where the so-called sport was carried on in all its glory. [The hon. Baronet described the process.] The only argument in its favour was that it 1680 enabled men who were not qualified otherwise to have sport, to enjoy some amusement and to obtain skill in the use of the gun. On the other hand, he thought a strong argument in favour of suppressing pigeon-shooting was that it was antagonistic to what was manly, athletic sport, which involved taking exercise over the stubble, or wandering along a river in pursuit of salmon, or seeking for snipe along the banks of a brook, perhaps up to one's knees in snow. That was something like athletic exercise, and was a kind of sport that would always find favour in this country. If this Bill had a tendency to discourage legitimate sport he would be one of the first to oppose it; but he did not believe that it would have any such result.
§ SIR WILLIAM HARCOURT
said, they had had a long and interesting discussion on the Bill, and he thought the course of the discussion had shown that it could not be regarded from any point of view as a Party question, but rather that it was a question on which hon. Members would form their own independent opinion, and one upon which he did not think the Government were called upon in any way to guide the decision of the House. It was eminently one of those questions in which the House ought to reflect the public opinion of the country. It would be a great mistake in questions of that kind, whatever might be their own opinions, to outrun public sentiment upon the question; and as it was their duty not to fall behind that sentiment, so they ought not to exceed it. On that question, which interested everybody—the question of humanity to animals—there could not be the smallest doubt that opinion in this country had been progressive for a long time, and progressing in the direction that everybody would desire; and it was the duty of the House to represent that progressive opinion on proper occasions. One, perhaps, of the most interesting records of English oratory was the celebrated speech made by the great orator, Mr. Wyndham, in defence of bull-baiting. Mr. Wyndham himself was a celebrated fighter and sportsman; and he (Sir William Harcourt) commended the speech he made in defence of bull-baiting to the attention of hon. Members who had not read it for the ingenuity and power with which he defended that sport. It was a 1681 complete defence of bull-baiting. He did not think, in the course of this debate, anybody had been bold enough to defend pigeon-shooting from the point of view from which Mr. Wyndham had defended bull-baiting. They had seen many sports favoured, before public opinion had advanced as it had now-done, and not condemned. Bear-baiting was a celebrated sport in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and for a long time afterwards; and bull-baiting, cock-fighting, and many other sports had at one time been popular, which public opinion now condemned and the law prohibited. The only question, then, which they had to consider was whether the proposal of the hon. Member for Glasgow was a reasonable proposal, and corresponded with public opinion in the country. He was not endeavouring, on behalf of the Government, to influence the opinion of that House in the matter; but was merely expressing his own personal opinion, and that was strongly in favour of the proposal of the hon. Member for Glasgow. A great deal had been said about the sport of pigeon-shooting, and his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow bad been able to reinforce himself with the opinion of a Gentleman whose name was on the back of the Bill, and whom he had very properly described as one of the most distinguished sportsmen of this Kingdom—the hon. Member for the North Biding of Yorkshire (Sir Frederick Milbank). But the hon. Member for Wigtonshire (Sir Herbert Maxwell), who had moved the rejection of the Bill, had called for some logical definition of sport, and of that which was to be regarded as not sport, but as cruel. He should not attempt to give any definition of the kind. He did not think it was possible to give it. He thought it was very likely that what was now commonly regarded as legitimate sport might be regarded in future times as the other sports to which he had referred were regarded now. He did not feel at all I called upon to defend the hunting of the carted stag. He knew that he had resided sometimes in a county where it was pursued, and that it was not regarded with very great favour by the gentlemen over whose lands it was pursued. But with regard to the question of pigeon-shooting, and whether it was sport or not, they had had great and justifiable eulogiums upon the manly 1682 exercise that was derived from sport. He was afraid that, in modern times, sport had a little lost that character; and sport, even in his recollection, had not improved in quality as it had increased in quantity. The sport which was spoken of was not a sport which involved walking three or four miles in the course of the day, with a luncheon at a suitable interval. That was not the sort of sport to which our ancestors were addicted. It began at 3 or 4 in the morning, and ended about in the afternoon, and did not begin at 11 and end at 3 or 4. But, without entering into these elaborate distinctions of sport, let them ask if this pigeon-shooting was entitled to receive the protection given to sport? He was inclined to concur with the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) in hoping that the intimation of the hon. Member for Glasgow with reference to the 2nd clause would be thoroughly understood and acted upon. These were matters, after all, in which they must proceed according to clearly developed public opinion. He believed public opinion was made up on the main point which the hon. Member for Glasgow sought to I be established. Then, let the point be established, and the other matters could be discussed at another time. He knew his hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) thought that would be a very incomplete chapter in the "coming democracy." But they were not all so impatient as his hon. Friend, and they were willing to make their progress in a more reasonable and cautious way. He would, therefore, strongly advise the hon. Member for Glasgow to make it clearly understood that the question of stag-hunting was out of the field, and that the House was dealing now with the question of pigeon-shooting alone. On that point he had no doubt the hon. Member would secure an overpowering majority of the House. It was not only the sufferings that the unhappy birds endured, but there was another thing to be considered, and that was the outrage upon the feelings of the people who witnessed those proceedings. He had received the other day a letter from a lady in reference to this matter. [A laugh.] He thought when hon. Gentlemen heard the letter they would think it worthy of their attention. She resided 1683 in the neighbourhood of a notorious gun ground. It was about 200 yards from her residence, and she wrote that she had had many sad opportunities of seeing the cruelties that were called sport. Birds were found to have been inhumanly treated before being put into I the trap—their eyes put out, their beaks turned and twisted inwards, and other cruelties inflicted which she could not mention, while hundreds which escaped death by the guns had lingered for days on the roof of the house where she lived. Besides the cruelty of it, he (Sir William Harcourt) thought that that letter showed that pigeon-shooting was an absolute nuisance. Why should any person who resided in these neighbourhoods be exposed to the outrage upon their feelings which practices of this kind brought about? These were matters that ought to be considered. He himself fully believed that the opinion of the country was against these practices, and that, by supporting the Bill of the hon. Member for Glasgow, confined, as he hoped it would be, to the clauses prohibiting pigeon-shooting, the House would reflect the overwhelming opinion of the country.
§ LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL
said, he thought that one or two of the remarks which the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Sir William Harcourt) had just made had been dictated rather by candour than by prudence. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that the Government did not intend to interfere in the discussion of that Bill, because it was not a Party question, which meant, he supposed, that they did not see their way to making political capital out of it. And the right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to remark that he thought it of the greatest importance that the House of Commons should decide this question for itself, because the House of Commons reflected the true mind of the country, whereas, he indicated, the Government did not do so. With both those statements he (Lord Randolph Churchill) could most cordially agree. He also agreed with the Home Secretary in the sentiments he had expressed with regard to pigeon-shooting; but he differed from him entirely with respect to the 2nd clause, which he looked upon as the germ of the Bill. He hoped the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson) would on no 1684 account consent to abandon that clause. The hon. Member for Wigtonshire (Sir Herbert Maxwell) said they must look at the principle of this legislation; and asked where they were going to stop when it was passed. Well, he should say "stop here," because this Bill interfered with a particular class of sport, which was recognized by the large body of public opinion in this country to be objectionable and cruel. It did not interfere with true sport, and therefore this Bill would mark a convenient stop-ping-place upon the road. The hon. Baronet took up very dangerous ground when he said—"If you put down pigeon-shooting you must also put down pheasant-shooting." If the same amount of cruelty prevailed in the one case as the other, then, undoubtedly, pheasant-shooting would follow; but everyone who knew anything about it was aware that pheasant-shooting was perfectly safe under the Bill. The hon. Member for Wigtonshire said pigeon-shooting as practised at Hurlingham was not cruel, and he mentioned that on some occasions two of the officers of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had attended the pigeon-shooting, and had come away declaring that there was no cruelty at all practised there. All he could say was that those two officers, instead of being connected with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ought to be denominated officers of a society for the promotion of cruelty to animals. He supposed they saw, in the course of their experience, such horrid atrocities that their feelings became blunted to what cruelty was. In his opinion, the sight of a pigeon-ground, abounding with masses of feathers and blood, and wounded birds surrounding the trap, contrasting so hideously with the green grass and the trees all around, with the sun, perhaps, shining brilliantly on the scene, was, without exception, the most horrible and repulsive sight possible to imagine. Reference had been made by the hon. Member for South Warwickshire (Sir Eardley Wilmot) to the pigeon-ground at Monte Carlo. He had had the opportunity of watching the sight at Monte Carlo, though he never had the satisfaction of killing a pigeon himself. The pigeon-ground at Monte Carlo was conducted on the same principles as that at Hurlingham, and under similar rules. 1685 He saw the birds taken out of the basket, and before being put into the trap a man cut their tails with a large pair of scissors. That probably was not very cruel, because he only cut the quill, though at times he seemed to cut very close. But worse followed. After cutting the tail, he saw the man take the bird in one hand, and with the other tear a great bunch of feathers from the breast and stomach of every pigeon. On asking the man what he did that for, he replied that it was to stimulate the birds in order that, maddened by excitement and pain, they might take a more eccentric leap into the air and increase the chance of the pigeon gamblers. He saw another very curious thing too. One of the pigeons was struck and fell to the ground; but when the dog went to pick it up the wretched bird fluttered again into the air, and for an appreciable time it remained so fluttering, just a little higher than the dog could jump. While the bird's fate was thus trembling in the balance, the betting was fast and furious, and when at last the pigeon tumbled into the dog's jaws, he never would forget the shout of triumph and yell of execration that rose from the ring-men and gentlemen. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pounds changed hands over the dying agonies of the unfortunate creature. They were told that there was actually no difference between that and other kinds of sport; but the fact was that pigeon-shooting now was kept up simply for the sake of betting, and if the hon. Member for Glasgow had chosen to deal with this subject by way of rendering it illegal to make bets at pigeon meetings, there would not be a single pigeon shot from one end of the country to the other. It seemed to him that if people wanted to gamble and undergo this exciting way of earning money, they ought to accompany the Prime Minister to the Riviera and gamble at roulette and such like games, which would not injure the lives of innocent creatures. Pigeon-shooting, he ought to point out, was not one of the sports which, as the hon. Member for Wigtonshire seemed to suppose, they had inherited from their barbarous ancestors; it was entirely a modern sport—so modern that they might look upon it as a Radical sport. There was no doubt that it originated not more than. 50 years ago, and as it 1686 had not the merits of the more ancient sports of this country, that constituted another reason why the Tory Party should put it down. With respect to the 2nd clause, however, if it was abandoned, he should really feel disposed to oppose the Bill of the hon. Member, on the ground that it would be dealing piecemeal with a very important question, and in a very imperfect manner. The great merit of the Bill, in his eyes, was that it put down the abominable amusement of stag-hunting. He was sure that every genuine fox-hunter would be glad to take an opportunity of putting down stag-hunting. He was told that if this Bill was carried, Lord Cork, the Master of Her Majesty's Buckhounds, would be summoned before a magistrate. Well, what was he? Lord Cork was an Irish Whig. If an Irish Whig chose to indulge in those amusements connected with following staghounds across country he had only himself to blame if they brought him to the police-court or somewhere worse. As far as the Queen's hounds were concerned, he did not think they need be in any fear, because he had no doubt that if stag-hunting was made illegal the Queen's buckhounds would be transferred into the Queen's foxhounds. Who were the followers of the Queen's buckhounds, and by whom were they supported? Why, the "meet" was mainly composed of the counter-jumpers of London—that class of per-sons who were denominated by the generic term of "'Arry." He believed that in the East End of London these hounds were generally known as "'Arry's 'ounds." The persons who followed the stag were hardly ever genuine sportsmen. There was another reason why this 2nd clause ought to receive I general support, and that was because stag-hunting did an infinitude of harm to the land through which the hunters went. This sport attracted more people than any other kind of sport, and many of them did not know the difference between a wheat field and a field of oats. On all these grounds he would support this Bill, in which he thought the hon. Member had drawn a very wise distinction. The distinction in it between fox and stag-hunting was this—you rendered it illegal to capture an animal and keep it in captivity in order to pursue it over and over again; but you did not in- 1687 terfere with the legitimate sport of hunting wild animals for the purpose of killing them and giving pleasure to everyone engaged in such sport.
§ COLONEL KINGSCOTE
said, he did not see any difference between pigeon-shooting, pheasant-shooting, partridge-shooting, or any other kind of shooting at birds. He saw no greater cruelty in shooting a pigeon than a pheasant or a partridge, provided they were not tortured beforehand. It was not nearly so cruel to hunt a tame stag as to hunt a wild stag, because the tame ones were trained and kept in perfect condition. He considered that the law, as it at present stood, was quite strong enough to prevent any malpractices such as had been described by hon. Members. He did not stand up for pigeon-shooting; it was an amusement he never cared about; but, notwithstanding all that had been said, he had still to ask, Where were they going to stop? If they passed this Bill they would have a Bill to prevent the keeping of squirrels in a cage, or to prevent the shaving of poodle dogs in a tender part of their bodies. He had been brought up a fox-hunter, and he hoped he might continue one. But he could see no reason why stag-hunting should be stopped any more than fox-hunting. As far as his humble vote went, he should give it most cordially against every provision of this Bill.
§ LORD ALGERNON PERCY
said, he did not quite understand the grounds upon which the hon. Member for Glasgow asked the House to pass this Bill. Was it upon the ground of cruelty? or that the pastime—for he would not call it sport—was a demoralizing one? He denied that there was any special cruelty in pigeon-shooting from traps, apart from the inhuman practices which it had been said were associated with it, and which were quite unnecessary for carrying on the sport. By all means let these inhuman practices be put down with a firm hand; but they afforded no reason whatever for putting a stop to the sport of pigeon-shooting. It had been urged that the mere shooting of pigeons was in itself cruel; but he denied that there was any cruelty in putting an animal to a speedy death. Horse-racing, in the opinion of some persons, was conducted with a considerable amount of cruelty. Some people 1688 said that horses enjoyed racing; but if anyone had seen a close finish of a great race, they would know to the contrary. If this Bill were to pass, where was the line to be drawn? One hon. Member had talked about gentlemen standing around in order to stop the escape of the birds. He should be very sorry for anyone who stood in front of a gun at Hurlingham. The noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) had alluded to Monte Carlo. He (Lord Algernon Percy) could only say that in those countries where love of sport did not exist as it did in England there was great cruelty; and therefore he did not think that they were good examples to quote. If the 2nd clause was omitted, the Bill would be useless, and if it was retained, the Bill would strike at all forms of sport.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, that, as there seemed to be some doubt on the subject, he might repeat the announcement he made at the beginning of the debate. It was that he would be willing, if the House wished, or if it did not disapprove, either to modify the 2nd clause or to leave it out altogether. The general opinion seemed to be in favour of modifying the clause. No doubt the noble Lord (Lord Randolph Churchill) took a different view, but his position was somewhat illogical; because, while stating that he regarded Clause 2 as the germ of the Bill, and that if that were withdrawn he would vote against the Bill, he had given them a most vivid description of the cruelties of pigeon-shooting, which was dealt with by the other clauses. Surely, if they could not get all they wanted, it was wise to take a half, provided that half was a distinct advantage. He did not propose to withdraw from his announcement. The primary object of the Bill was to put down pigeon-shooting from traps. Its second was to protect wild animals in captivity; and he was quite willing to avoid interference with hunting, and confine Clause 2 to menageries and other things of the same kind, or, if that were not possible, to withdraw the clause altogether.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
observed, that the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock (Lord Randolph Churchill) had attributed to him a course which he did not intend to take, and opinions which he 1689 did not entertain. From what he had heard he was still at a loss to know on what grounds they were asked to support this measure. If they were asked to support it on the ground of the cruelty inflicted, then he failed to see any great distinction between the cruelty of shooting pigeons, on the one hand, and the cruelty of shooting partridges or pheasants, on the other hand. They must not allow themselves to be the victims of humbug or cant. There was no sport which was practised in this country, or could be practised, which was not attended with some cruelty. The noble Lord had given a harrowing description of the horrors of pigeon-shooting at Monte Carlo. He was tempted to ask the noble Lord if he had never been I present at a battue or in a warm corner? He had always understood that the noble Lord was a distinguished shot, and that he had covered himself with glory on many occasions. Had the noble Lord, when pursuing his favourite sport, never seen wounded birds and rabbits brought in by the dogs? Even if the Bill were confined to pigeon-shooting he should oppose the second reading, because he thought it was one of those matters which had best be left to public opinion. The predicament they were placed in was this—If public opinion was opposed to the proposition made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, then he did not think they would find that it would work very satisfactorily. If, on the other hand, public opinion was in advance of the Bill, why then the country did not want it. If the practice of pigeon-shooting were a public nuisance, let it be dealt with as such by means of the law that already existed. In his opinion, modern sports contrasted favourably with those of their ancestors. Inasmuch as the hon. Member for Glasgow had now thought fit to withdraw the 2nd clause, he assumed that the noble Lord the Member for Woodstock would feel himself bound to vote against the second reading of the Bill. He did not himself care about stag-hunting. As an hon. Member had said, they might as well hunt a jackass. The noble Lord had made a suggestion which he would certainly like to see carried out—namely, that the Royal Staghounds should be abolished. There were many gentlemen in the Metropolis who could not enjoy sport in any other form than by following the 1690 Queen's Staghounds. It had been said that if the staghounds were done away with there would be foxhounds. But to keep a pack of foxhounds there must be foxes to hunt, and there were very few, if any, foxes in that part of the country. On several grounds he should be compelled to oppose the second reading of this Bill.
§ MR. GIBSON
entirely agreed with what had been said by more speakers than one as to the necessity of a Bill of this nature following public opinion. The hon. Member for Glasgow had himself recognized this. As far as he understood the present position of affairs, the hon. Member had modified his views as to Clause 2 during the debate. At the outset the hon. Member had said that he was willing to go with the feeling of the House, and if they were opposed to the Bill he would modify it. Now, he stated that he would issue the Bill again without this clause at all.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, he wished to modify the clause so as to confine it to wild animals in menageries, &c, or, if that were not found practicable, to abandon it altogether.
§ MR. GIBSON
said, he was afraid that that left the debate on this Bill exposed to considerable doubt and uncertainty. He felt there was a very strong feeling with reference to Clause 3. If Clause 2 was kept in the Bill it would affect the chance of Clause 3. The best way of getting rid of Clause 2 would be to bring in the Bill again pro formâ without the clause. He did not think the opinion of the country was at all ripe enough for Clause 2. Possibly the hon. Member had not considered that his extention of the definition of the original Act to vertebrates would make it apply to a great number of fish confined in parks and ponds. He very much regretted that Clause 3 had not been presented to the House with the clearness that it might have been. It was an instance of the abominable system of referential drafting. It would have been a great deal simpler and more logical, and would have effected the purpose of the hon. Member far more efficaciously, if he had drawn up a complete clause of his own. If the hon. Member's draft passed as it was, those who were interested in keeping up pigeon-shooting from traps, and who made money from it, could readily carry it on with the 1691 most perfect impunity, notwithstanding the amiable and well-intended legislation of the hon. Member. He would find that Clause 3 of the Act, which he sought to amend, applied to acts in themselves obviously cruel, done in a place used for the purpose. He advised that if the Bill passed the second reading it should be committed pro formâ and re-cast.
§ SIR WALTER B. BARTTELOT
said, he wished to know clearly whether the hon. Member for Glasgow intended to deal with anything besides pigeon-shooting? If he proposed to deal with any other sport he would not obtain any support in that House, or succeed in passing his Bill during the present Session. Public opinion should be brought to bear, and it would do, as he believed, all that was necessary to check the abuse in all these matters; and, believing this, he should vote against the second reading of the Bill. The Bill would, as it appeared to him, interfere with sparrow shooting clubs, and thus deprive the poor man of the only sport he had. This was a matter that surely ought to be taken into consideration by those hon. Members opposite who sat below the Gangway. He thought the House already exhibited too great a tendency to deal with sentimental grievances. If the hon. Member for Glasgow would get up and state that he would withdraw Clause 2, he would have a far better chance of carrying the Bill.
§ MR. WIGGIN
said, that if the hon. Member had confined the Bill to the abolition of pigeon-shooting he should have cordially supported it; but he was informed on high authority that the retention of Clause 2 would possibly make fox-hunting a criminal act—["No, no!"]—and if that was so he should oppose the Bill as strongly as he possibly could.
said, it was unfortunate the hon. Member could not withdraw the clause, especially as the opportunities of opposing a Bill in its future stages were fewer than they had been.
§ SIR WILLIAM HART DYKE
said, he could not record a silent vote, and he was sure they would forgive him for saying a few words. He could not support the second reading of this Bill. He 1692 could not swallow the cant which it contained. He did not defend pigeon-shooting as connected with betting, and had no sympathy with it; but when he was told that it was cruel to kill a certain class of animals and not cruel to kill another, he said that was absolute cant. The amount of torture connected with pigeon-shooting was far less than was involved in a day's cover-shooting, when hundreds of birds might be brought down and many of them left to linger in agony for hours, while the pigeons that were wounded were at once put out of their misery. He felt bound to deprecate efforts such as this, which did this grievous harm-that they dealt a deadly blow at what he thought they should preserve most of all in their national life, and that was their old national sports.
§ MR. ANDERSON
said, that, as hon. Members did not appear to be quite satisfied with his assurance upon the point, he would, following the advice of the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Gibson), move that the Bill be committed pro formâ, in order to be re-cast, to meet the objections which the right hon. and learned Gentleman told him existed, in which case he would omit Clause 2 altogether.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 195; Noes 40: Majority 155.—(Div. List, No. 19.)
§ Main Question put, and agreeed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday next.