HC Deb 20 January 1949 vol 460 cc324-5
41. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power how many horses and ponies have been removed from the pits because of old age, infirmity, or other reasons, during 1948; how many of these were humanely destroyed; and how many were sent to homes for rest for horses.

Mr. Robens

For the year ended 30th June, 1948, the number of horses and ponies cast or humanely destroyed because of disease, old age or infirmity was 1,600. As regards the second part of the Question the information is not available.

Mr. Freeman

What steps, if any, are taken to prevent these ponies being slaughtered for human consumption after leaving the pits?

Mr. Robens

The Department is only responsible for the collection of information as to those which are killed or cast. I have no information on the point raised by my hon. Friend.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Cannot the hon. Gentleman say how many of these ponies are actually sold to dealers irrespective of what happened to them afterwards? The facts are known in his Department, so he should know.

Mr. Robens

No. These figures are not supplied to the Department under the Act.

Mr. Austin

When will modernisation and mechanisation enable us to dispense completely with the use of pit ponies?

Mr. Robens

I replied to a similar question some time ago. I indicated that the number of pit ponies was steadily decreasing and that, in the course of time, pit ponies would no longer be used.