HC Deb 23 February 1905 vol 141 cc1073-5
MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the cases tried in Bedford Police Court on February 9th last, in which fines were imposed for the stealing of cats, and in which evidence was given that large consignments of cats had been sent by one of the defend ants to a house in a London suburb alleged to be visited by medical gentlemen; and whether he will order the publication of the address of the house in question and an investigation into the practices carried on in it.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) Yes, Sir; and I have made inquiry into the matter. The name of the house in question (Brockwell Hall, Herne Hill) is given in the newspaper reports of the proceedings. The premises are registered as a place where experiments can be performed under the Act 39 and 40 Vic.. cap. 77, and are under inspection. The experiments there are carried on in strict conformity with the law. The director of these laboratories informs me that the cats were purchased in the ordinary way from a dealer in cats and dogs, and that neither he (the director) nor anyone else connected with the institution had the slightest suspicion that this dealer was other than a perfectly honest man. The director further informs me that on' reading the reports in the Press he communicated with the head constable of the Bedford police, and sent to him the cats which had been received from Bedford in order that they might be inspected by any persons who had lost cats. If animals are obtained in an improper manner the offenders are amenable to the ordinary law, and in the present case a conviction has been obtained.

SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the evidence given in the case at the Bedford Police Court on Thursday. the 9th inst., when three men were convicted of cat-stealing, to the effect that the animals stolen by these men were consigned to the Licensed Vivisectors' Laboratory at Herne Hill; and whether, in these circumstances, he will institute inquiries as to the sources from which animals are generally obtained by vivisectors for the purpose of experiments.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) The facts of this matter are given in my Answer to the previous Question. As I there stated, persons who improperly obtain possession of animals can be dealt with by the ordinary law. It would be beyond the functions of the Secretary of State, under the Act 39 and 40 Vic., cap 77, to institute such general inquiries as are suggested by the hon. Baronet; but I am always ready, as in the present instance, to investigate any particular case in which alleged abuses are brought to my notice.