HC Deb 16 June 1924 vol 174 cc1723-4
Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY

(by Private Notice) asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to performances at Wembley known as Rodeo; if he is aware of the allegations of cruelty to the animals used in the performance on Saturday last, and that that part of the performance which caused public resentment is now to be performed in private; and whether he has instructed the police authorities to be present when the private performance of what is known as steer-roping takes place, with a view to initiating prosecutions of cruelty should any occasions of cruelty come to their notice.

The SECRETARY OF STATE for HOME AFFAIRS (Mr. Arthur Henderson)

In the time available since I received notice of this question I have not been able to obtain full information, but I understand that it is the intention of the exhibition authorities to secure facilities for the attendance of police at any private performance of the kind referred to. In these circumstances it may be taken for granted that police will be present, and will carry out their duties if action is necessary.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state what is meant by a "private performance" of this kind?


I do not know whether I am in order, but may I say that on 3rd April I received a definite assurance from the promoters of the Rodeo that in the show which is given at Wembley no cruelty would be involved to the animals engaged. I maintain that there is cruelty, and I would like to know whether this performance in private should be allowed by the Government at all.


As I have said, I have received only short notice of the question. I do not quite know what the performance is, but the police will be there, and I have already said that if in their opinion there is anything in the nature of cruelty they are prepared to take the necessary action.


Would it not be as well for Members of Parliament to visit the exhibition and see the show for themselves?


Will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he can arrange for an inspection to take place of the animals by duly qualified inspectors after the performances?

Lieut.-Colonel JAMES

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it would not be advisable to send the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) to represent the patient oxen?

Lieut.-Colonel MEYLER

Would the right hon. Gentleman say whether he thinks these steers enjoy having their legs broken and whether he calls that. cruelty?


It is quite true that in the performances that have already taken place one animal had its leg broken. But I am not going to judge the matter by what might have been a mere accident, any more than I would condemn Rugby or Association Football because one of the players happened to break his leg. I have already said that we have arranged for the police to be present, and if, in the opinion of the authorities, cruelty is really being practised, proceedings will be taken. Moreover I believe that the Society that does such splendid work for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has already instituted proceedings.


Are we to understand that the Government view of cruelty to animals is based on the analogy of football?


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many fatal accidents—


We cannot now debate the matter.