HC Deb 01 July 1948 vol 452 cc2346-7
7. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the considerable scale on which jackdaws are being kept as pets in Ipswich and elsewhere; that they are sold for this purpose at a catsmeat price; and whether, as fledglings are being taken from the nest by schoolboys, he will take steps to ensure that the provisions of the Wild Birds Protection Act are enforced throughout the country.

Mr. Ede

I am informed that some 50 school-children in Ipswich have been concerned in taking and selling among themselves jackdaws for pets. Two boys were prosecuted and severely reprimanded. In view of the action of the R.S.P.C.A. and the police, and of the publicity given in the locality to the proceedings, I see no need for further action on my part.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the magistrates in Ipswich have shown a great deal of common sense and humanity in this matter, in so far as they have imposed fines on these boys who have maltreated these particular birds, and will he offer encouragement to other benches of magistrates to follow their excellent example?

Mr. Ede

I understand that I am prevented from commenting on the actions of magistrates.

Mr. Stokes

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he has any information about the number of jackdaws kept in Bedford?

Mr. Ede

The last prisoner in Bedford of whom I have any information was John Bunyan.

Mr. Gallacher

Will the Home Secretary pass on to Ipswich the lines from the poet: Awa', ye thochtless, murdering gang. That steal the nestlings ere they flee"?

Mr. Ede

One of the difficulties of dealing with the case is that liberated jackdaws will return to the place of their confinement.