§ 75. Mr. GEORGE GREENWOOD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the case of Samuel Robert Self, a pony corporal at the Glapwell Colliery, who was recently convicted at the Chesterfield County Police Court of gross cruelty to a pit pony, thereby causing its death, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment, with hard labour; whether he is aware that during the hearing of the case evidence was given that during the period from June, 1911, to 28th November last twenty-one ponies had died in Glapwell Pit, that two had died there since the latter date, and that it was believed that the deaths of these animals had been caused by ill-treatment; whether he will cause an inquiry to be held as to the treatment of ponies in this mine; and whether he will appoint a special inspector for the district in which such mine is situated as soon as possible?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
I have made inquiry, and I find that when the colliery company prosecuted one of their men on 28th November for cruelty to a pony, their solicitor stated that since June, 1911, the company had lost twenty-one ponies, and that it was suspected that a considerable number of these had lost their lives through ill-treatment. No evidence to this effect was, however, given, and I am informed that the statement was made under a misapprehension. Besides-the pony in connection with which the proceedings were taken, thirteen ponies had during the period in question been destroyed or died, eight in consequence of mine accidents, and five from other causes. There is no evidence in any of these cases that death was due to ill-treatment. The accommodation and supervision of the animals at the colliery were found by the inspector to be good and the ponies at work were in good condition. Arrangements will be made for the ponies to be inspected shortly by the consulting veterinary surgeon who has been appointed for the division.
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
Will the right hon. Gentleman inquire how long these ponies work, and what number of shifts they work in the week?
§ Mr. W. E. HARVEY
And if necessary take evidence from the workmen of the colliery for proof that they are worked beyond all reason and endurance?
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
Will the right hon. Gentleman appoint a special inspector or inspectors, and how soon?
§ Mr. McKENNA
Special inspectors for this and other districts will, I understand, be appointed immediately. I am only waiting until the result of the test examination has taken place.