HC Deb 07 May 1896 vol 40 cc729-30
MR. WOOTTON ISAACSON (Tower Hamlets, Stepney)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether his attention has been drawn to a case which recently came before Mr. Mead, of the Thames Police Court, brought by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, when two horses were stopped which were being led to the Docks for exportation to Rotterdam, both of which were suffering from disease; whether he is aware that diseased horses are daily shipped to Rotterdam for the purpose of being slaughtered and prepared for human food, when they are re-shipped to this country in the form of sausages and tinned meats, and that this practice has been carried on to a considerable extent for some time; and, whether he will take means to put a stop to a business so dangerous to health?

MR. LEES KNOWLES (Salford, W.)

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that Question, may I ask whether his attention has been called to the Sale of Horseflesh, etc., Regulation Act 1889, sometimes called the Knackerine Act, and whether he is aware that several cases have already been tried and fines imposed under that Act?


No, Sir, my attention has not been called to the matters referred to in the Question of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, but I will make inquiry on the subject. I have seen reports in the newspapers of the case referred to, and have communicated with the learned magistrate by whom it was heard. The two horses were being conveyed to Rotterdam, presumably, as they were past work, for the purpose of being slaughtered for food. There was no evidence, however, that the horse in respect of which the conviction took place was suffering from any disease rendering it unfit for food; it was lame in one leg in consequence of a contracted tendon and a diseased foot. There is no doubt, I believe, that horses in a similar condition are frequently shipped to Rotterdam; but I have no evidence that a trade in diseased horses is carried on, or that the food prepared from their carcases reaches this country; nor have I any power to prevent the business in question.