HC Deb 16 November 1949 vol 469 cc1995-6
4. Mr. Medland

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty if he is aware that Commando units from the Marine camps around Plymouth, operating on the Dartmoor ranges, have in the past three months shot and killed over 12 cattle and that many cattle and sheep are missing; and what action he is taking to prevent this loss of food.

Mr. W. Edwards

No, Sir. As far as I am aware, the Royal Marines on Dartmoor have been responsible for the death of only one beast during the last three months. I am satisfied that the present precautions are reasonable in view of all the circumstances.

Mr. Medland

Surely my hon. Friend is aware of the fact that the senior officer commanding these troops was informed by telephone of these casualties over a month ago; and will he please say what compensation is to be paid and when?

Mr. Edwards

That will be considered when the claim is made.

Mr. Studholme

As the operation in question took place in my constituency, may I ask the hon. Gentleman if he is satisfied with the adequacy of the arrangements for rounding up the cattle and sheep prior to operations, which I was informed some two years ago would always be carried into effect; also, what time on the average elapses before Service Departments are informed of the death of these animals purported to have been shot?

Mr. Edwards

I cannot answer with regard to the number of beasts which have been shot, but I can tell the hon. Member that the Admiralty at least do get in touch with local interests at any time that an operation is to take place, and it is more an accident than anything else when any killing does happen.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Is this not a very clear case where the hon. Gentleman should tell it to the marines?

Major Guy Lloyd

Can the hon. Gentleman say how many "bulls" were scored during this campaign?

Mr. Medland

Is the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Studholme) aware that the officers commanding these troops are in my constituency and not in his?