HC Deb 17 March 1910 vol 15 cc519-20

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture if he can give the names of the ports in the United Kingdom from which old and worn-out horses are shipped to the Continent; what steps have been taken, particularly at the Northern ports, to enforce the regulations and to prevent Buffering and cruelty during the sea pas- sage; will he state the number of such horses shipped during 1909, and the number of horses in 1909 which, on being disembarked, were unable to walk and had to be slaughtered on the spot or removed in waggons; and if, seeing the suffering caused by this traffic, steps could be taken to put a stop to it altogether?


The ports of shipment are Goole, Grangemouth, Grimsby, Hull, King's Lynn, Leith, London, and New-castle-on-Tyne. The enforcement of the provisions of the Exportation of Horses Order of 1898 rests with the local authorities, and they have appointed inspectors for the purpose. In addition, our own inspectors supervise generally the administration of the Order, and they make voyages to the Continent on vessels carrying horses, with a view to secure the more stringent and uniform enforcement of the law. In August last we appointed a veterinary inspector for the same purpose, who gives his undivided attention to the work. We have at present no statistics which give the information for which my hon. Friend asks, but we are in communication with the Belgian and Dutch Governments on the subject, and we hope to obtain from them periodical Returns of the character indicated. I believe that the inhumanity that has existed in connection with this traffic will be eliminated if we can secure the efficient enforcement of the law which absolutely prohibits the shipment of any horse which cannot be conveyed without cruelty during the intended passage and on landing. I have no power to prohibit the exportation of horses generally.


May I ask whether, in view of the announcement that has been made that the Board of Agriculture is in communication with the Belgian Government, he will not think it advisable to get into communication with other Governments with regard to the same matter?


Certainly. If we can do any good by doing so.