HC Deb 12 July 1948 vol 453 cc819-20
9. Mr. David Renton

asked the Minister of Food whether he is aware that the scheme, which he proposes to inaugurate in September for the allocation of pigeon food, will provide each of the 70,000 bona fide pigeon fanciers in Great Britain with enough food to keep only two pairs of pigeons, whereas it is necessary for each pigeon fancier to keep seven pairs of pigeons if he is to engage in racing; and whether he will reconsider his proposed scheme and replace it by one which will enable pigeon racing to continue.

Dr. Summerskill

I am sorry, but no significant increase in pigeon food is possible without reducing the allocation of pulses and grain for more important uses, and I do not think, therefore, that any purpose would be served by reconsidering the new distribution scheme.

Mr. Renton

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that that decision means that pigeon racing is to receive a crippling blow, and will she do her best to bear in mind the need for keeping going this sport, which has a national advantage?

Dr. Summerskill

I am well aware of the fact that these pigeon fanciers are very fine men and that it is a harmless and attractive sport, but the hon. Member must realise that we must put human beings before racing pigeons.

Mr. Renton

Is the hon. Lady aware that I do realise that, and that she should not make these constant allegations against Members?

Mr. Sutcliffe

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say what steps are being taken to safeguard food for those who are keeping pigeons for export? Is there not a considerable export of some of our best pigeons?

Dr. Summerskill

As far as I know the exporters are quite happy.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Will the Parliamentary Secretary bear in mind that there is a very important defence side to this question? It may be a pleasant sport in peace time, but these pigeons are of definite importance in war time.

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