66. Mr. ROBINSON
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider the desirability of introducing Regulations providing that the export of aged and decrepit horses to Belgium shall be stopped, and that horses exported for consumption as human food shall be slaughtered in this country?
A Departmental Committee has been considering the export of horses from this country to the Continent for some time past, and I cannot anticipate their Report. I must again correct the persistent misconception that decrepit horses are at present exported to the Continent, as, under the existing Regulations, all horses exported from this country must pass a rigid veterinary examination and satisfy the Ministry's veterinary inspectors that they are in every way fit to travel and to work.
§ Colonel DAY
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in some cases where the horses do not pass the examination at the docks, they are returned to the owners, and then they are shipped, if possible, at another port?
No, I do not really think that that happens. If a horse is rejected at the docks, it is either slaughtered there or returned to its owner, and I am advised now that the system of inspection for export is so uniform that there is practically no chance of a horse rejected at one port being able to secure egress at another.
Perhaps the hon. Member will await the issue of the Report, which, I think, will be in the hands of hon. Members very shortly.