HC Deb 29 July 1909 vol 8 cc1348-50

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the cruelty involved in the trade in old and worn-out horses from this country to the Continent; and whether the police will prevent the embarkation of horses which are suffering pain and not in a fit state to stand the voyage?


Yes, Sir. The Board of Agriculture have by order prohibited the exportation of horses which for any reason cannot be shipped abroad without cruelty, and have made provisions for the proper treatment on board of those that are fit for exportation. This order is enforced by the officers of the Board of Agriculture and of the London County Council. The police, so far as their jurisdiction extends, and the officers of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals co-operate with these authorities, and are often successful in dealing with cases of cruelty before the horses reach the wharves. I am making inquiry as to whether any further steps can be taken to prevent contravention of the order.


Will the right hon. Gentleman kindly direct attention to the horrors which are enacted every day at Leith and Hull in connection with the trade to Antwerp in these poor animals?


I shall be glad to receive any information my hon. Friend can give me on the subject.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that representation has been made to the Board of Agriculture on more than one occasion requesting their assistance in obtaining powers for captains of vessels to slaughter horses on board ships, and that the Board have always refused either to take any steps or to grant facilities?


That question should be addressed to the Board of Agriculture. I am only concerned with police action. We do our best to prevent cruelty.


Can the right hon. Gentleman see his way to obtaining admission to the docks for inspectors of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, who are now refused admission by the dock companies, in order that they may see the horses before shipment?


I have no knowledge of that, but I will inquire.


Is it not the fact that these old horses, after going to Antwerp, generally return to this country in the shape of German sausage?