HC Deb 10 December 1912 vol 45 cc246-7

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that cases have recently occurred of worn-out and decrepit horses shipped from Hull arriving dead in Belgian ports; and whether he will take steps, under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1910, to prevent the repetition of the cruelty resulting from such shipments?


The Returns of casualties during the past three months are not yet quite complete, but, so far as the information is available, they show that out of a total number of 4,074 horses shipped during that period from Hull to Belgian ports, eleven died or were slaughtered on the voyage. All the horses were examined by the Board's inspectors prior to shipment, and were certified to be capable of being conveyed to the ports to which they were consigned and disembarked there without cruelty. I have no reason to believe that there has been any failure on the part of the inspectors in the discharge of their duties in this respect, but I shall, of course, be glad to make inquiry into any specific cases which may be brought to my notice. Special inquiries are instituted in every case in which a horse is reported to have died or been slaughtered in the course of the voyage.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a Member of this House, sitting on his own side, maintains he witnessed the arrival of a boat laden with these horses, and saw seven unfortunate animals lying dead on the deck? Has the right hon. Gentleman reason to believe that the inspectors are carrying out their duties efficiently?


I believe the case the right hon. Gentleman refers to is that of the "Truro," and I understand that in that case the unfortunate animals were killed as a result of the heavy weather in crossing the North Sea. I have not had any complaint brought to my notice of neglect on the part of inspectors, but I will have inquiry made.