HC Deb 04 April 1921 vol 140 cc4-5

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether there has been any increase in the exportation of worn-out horses within the last six months over the preceding period; what steps the Government are taking to prevent the exportation of such animals suffering pain by movement; and whether this traffic is on the increase and brutal treatment is being meted out to horses exported for the purposes of human food?

Mr. PARKER (Lord of the Treasury)

I have been asked to reply. I am informed by the Ministry of Agriculture that, taking the six months from 12th September, 1920, to 12th March, 1921, the total number of horses passed for shipment in Great Britain was 39,869, as compared with 24,259 during the preceding six months. The Exportation of Horses Act provides for the examination of all horses shipped to the Continent by a veterinary surgeon appointed by the Ministry, who is required to see that they are fit to travel and work. The Ministry has recently made special inquiries into the trade, and it has been ascertained that in some individual cases insufficient care has been taken to enforce the standard laid down by the Act. The services of the officers concerned have been dispensed with, and the Ministry has taken steps to improve the administration of the Act. Attempts are also being made to arrange for the export of carcases instead of live animals.


Has the report of the inspector who was recently appointed to look into this matter yet been received, and will it be published?


I will make inquiries in regard to that; I do not know.


Can the hon. Gentleman promise in any case that he will do his best to stop altogether this traffic in worn-out horses?


I will call attention to that suggestion.

11. Mr. PAPER

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware of the great suffering inflicted upon old and decrepit horses exported from this country to the Continent; and whether steps can be taken to put an end to this traffic by arranging that the animals shall be humanely slaughtered in this country?


I have been asked to reply. I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which has been given this afternoon to the hon. and gallant Member for Central Wandsworth.


Is it not a fact that the Minister to whom I addressed the question recently visited the Continent to inquire into the matter, and might the House be given the benefit of the report he made on the subject?


I have not the report, but I will make inquiries in regard to it.