HC Deb 20 March 1940 vol 358 cc1982-3
55. Mr. Hannah

asked the Minister of Food whether his attention has been called to the cruelty caused by the present method of marking pigs by puncturing their ears; and will he take steps to use some more humane plan?

56. Mr. Leach

asked the Minister of Food whether he will take steps to put an end to the practice of piercing the ears of pigs for identification or other purposes, as now in vogue at Ludlow and other cattle markets?

58. Mr. Lipson

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware of the cruelty practised on pigs by the Order under the grading scheme which permits the boring of the animal's ears by an instrument resembling a pair of large nutcrackers containing 15 to 20 steel pins; who was responsible for authorising this cruel procedure; and will he take immediate steps to prohibit it?

66. Mr. Touche

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that the method used to grade pigs in certain markets involves the piercing of both ears of the pig by an instrument containing a number of steel pins; and whether, in view of the cruelty of this practice, he will give instructions that this method is not to be used?

77. Mr. Riley

asked the Minister of Food whether, in view of the strong objection to the present method of punching holes in the ears of live pigs in connection with the Government's grading scheme, he will instruct his experts to consider some alternative method of marking, or some modification of the present method?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I would refer hon. Members to the answer given to the hon. Member for South Kensington (Sir W. Davison) on 14th March, to which I have nothing to add.

Mr. Edmund Harvey

Will my hon. Friend expedite the use of some less cruel method?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think the outcry has been considerably exaggerated.

Mr. Lipson

Is my hon. Friend aware that the previous answer to which he has referred caused widespread indignation, and that these Questions have been put down in order to persuade the Minister to change his attitude? Will not my hon. Friend consider some more humane method?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think the indignation is really based on insufficient knowledge of the situation and a failure to realise that as long as pigs are bought on a carcase weight basis, some marking which will stay all through the processing is essential.

Sir William Davison

Does my hon. Friend realise the scandalous conditions at these markets, where the animals rush about bleeding?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Not even my hon. Friend could stop pigs squealing.

Mr. De la Bère

Why not have the pigs bought on a live-weight basis?