§ 30. Sir JOHN BUTCHER
asked the Secretary for War whether the Army authorities are now selling surplus Army horses and mules to Egyptians and Greeks and others in the East; whether he can state what classes of persons are purchas- 753 ing these animals and for what purposes, and the number of the animals sold or about to be sold and the prices obtained; whether care is taken to ensure that none of the animals so sold are worn out or unfitted for work; whether any guarantees are obtained to ensure that these animals will be treated humanely; and whether any inspection of the animals in the hands of the purchasers is possible?
§ Mr. FORSTER
Sales of Army horses and mules as they become surplus to requirements are still being made in Eastern theatres of war, though sales in these theatres are practically finished for the present, and the numbers to be sold in future will depend upon the rate of reduction of establishments. I understand that sales are principally to agriculturists, who in their own interests must keep the animals in fit condition. The numbers of animals sold and average prices obtained are:
Horses, 11,101; average price varying from £42 18s to £17 5s 9d
Mules, 29,708; average price varying from £46 3s 2d to £33 8s 6d
Donkeys, 11,046; average price varying from £9 6s to £8 10s
Camels, 22,196; average price £22 Is. 8d Every possible care is taken to ensure that only animals fit for work are sold, and general officers commanding have exercised their discretion freely as regards destroying animals which they have thought it undesirable to sell. With regard to the latter part of the question, I would refer my hon. and learned Friend to the reply given to a question put by the hon. and gallant Member for Eye on the 25th February, a copy of which I am sending him. The abstracts from Reports by the local military authorities circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT of that date show the arrangements which have been made in Egypt and Mesopotamia to' secure the humane treatment of animals sold, and to provide for their inspection.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
In case it is found that these animals are not humanely treated, is there any means of killing the animals or getting them back?
§ Mr. FORSTER
If in the case of cruelty we were able to bring it home to the owner, steps would be taken.