55. Mr. H. D. Hughes
asked the Minister of Agriculture how many deer were destroyed by the Quantock staghounds during each month from February, 1947, to February, 1948, inclusive; what allocation of scarce food supplies is allowed to the hunt; and if he is satisfied with the recommendation of the Agricultural Executive Committee that 30 gallons of petrol per month be allocated for this purpose.
§ Mr. T. Williams
As a full answer to the first part of the Question contains a number of figures, I will circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The total number of deer destroyed by the Quantock stag-hounds in the period February, 1947, to February, 1948, inclusive, was 48. As to the second part of the Question, cereal coupons for 3½ cwt. per month are allowed to the hunt throughout the year, and horsefeed coupon's for 6 cwt. per month in the period August to March. With regard to the final part of the Question, I 2576 am satisfied with the recommendation of the agricultural executive committee which was given in the interests of food production.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that this pack of hounds is controlled from a chauffeur-driven Austin car, and is it not quite fantastic that this amount of food and petrol should be used in this most uneconomical way? Is he further aware that there is great dissatisfaction among people who are not allowed petrol when they see the regulations being got round in this way?
§ Mr. Williams
My hon. Friend has already been given a statement indicating why the petrol allowance was made. Perhaps it would be as well if I repeated it to the House. The allowance was given because of:The general supervision of the Quantock staghounds whilst hunting and snaring the deer to keep the herd reduced, acting on behalf of the Somerset War Agriculture Executive Committee. Sending out the venison to hospitals, public institutions, farmers and farmworkers.Those are the terms of the application, and that is why the petrol was granted.
§ Mr. Anthony Greenwood
Could my right hon. Friend tell the House how much damage was done to agriculture by the hounds during the period in question?
§ Mr. Williams
No, I can only tell my hon. Friend that the application for petrol is supported by a county agriculture executive committee consisting of farmers, farmworkers, and landowners who ought to know whether or not the agricultural areas are in danger.
§ Following is the first part of the answer:
§ Statement showing the number of deer destroyed by the Quantock staghounds during each month from February, 1947, to February, 1948, inclusive.
|February (snowed up)||…||Nil|
|May to August, no hunting.|