§ Sir J. BUTCHER (by Private Notice)
asked the Secretary for Mines whether steps have been taken to remove the pit ponies and horses from the mines, and so save them from starvation or drowning; whether any cases of starving or drowning of those animals have been brought to his notice; and whether the Government will give all needful assistance for saving these animals?
§ The SECRETARY for MINES (Mr. Bridgeman)
Speaking generally, the answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is in the affirmative. My information is that at a group of collieries in South Wales 620 horses were below ground yesterday, but the Divisional Inspector of Mines reports that arrangements have been made to withdraw them to-day. At Benhar, in Scotland, 25 ponies are underground, but I understand that they were fed yesterday. At another colliery in Scotland the inspector understands there are two ponies underground which cannot be got at owing to the action of the men pre-venting steam being raised at the boilers. Since I have been in the House I have had a message saying that, in the Rhondda Valley, there is also some difficulty about getting the ponies out. I have not yet had time to investigate it. My Department is doing all that is possible to see that all horses are withdrawn, and will continue to do so. I understand from the Press that the Executive of the Miners' Federation is doing the same.
§ Sir J. BUTCHER
Has the attention of my right hon. Friend been drawn to a statement in to-day's papers to the effect that at Bargoed yesterday the local officials of the Miner s' Federation stopped the mine officials from working, the result being—
The hon. and learned Member has not submitted that question to me. He ought to submit it to me.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir J. NORTON-GRIFFITHS
Where the Government know that ponies are down in the pits still, and where the colliery owners are prevented from rescuing them, will the Government take steps to get these ponies out of the mines?
Colonel C. LOWTHER
Will the Government give an undertaking that, if there is any question arising as to ponies being in danger at the present moment, every step in their power will be taken to save them?