HC Deb 12 March 1925 vol 181 cc1521-3
108. Sir H. BRITTAIN

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, seeing that some 8,000 horses per annum are being shipped from this country for butchery abroad, he will consider the suggestion of discontinuing this traffic pending the decision of the Departmental Committee?

during the autumn and winter, and consequently each winter's programme covers a part of two financial years. I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT a full tabular statement covering the whole sequence of my Department's operations in England and Wales and this will, I hope, afford the hon. Member the information he desires. For particulars relating to Scotland, I would refer him to my right hon. Friend the Secretary for Scotland.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any arrangement by which the advances by the State in connection with these schemes are repaid by the owners of the land?


Yes. I am not prepared at the moment to state what are the arrangements, but there are such arrangements.

Following is the statement promised:


All horses exported from this country must pass a strict veterinary examination as to fitness to work and to travel without suffering, and I fear therefore that I cannot sec my way to adopt my hon. Friend's suggestion.


As this question has been before the House for a considerable time, and the traffic is very repugnant to the great majority of our countrymen, cannot the right hon. Gentleman put some limit upon it?


I am well aware of what all the lovers of horses feel as regards this traffic, and it was entirely with the object of putting the House and the country in possession of the exact facts, that I have just appointed a Departmental Committee to inquire into the question. To take the action suggested by the hon. Member would be to prejudge their inquiries.


Will witnesses be called before the Committee, and will the sittings be held in public?


I am afraid that I cannot answer that question without notice. I am almost sure that the Committee will call witnesses, but that is for them to decide.