HC Deb 26 July 1950 vol 478 cc458-9
63. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Minister of Food how many pigs were collected in Sussex during the past six months and conveyed in lorries to Wiltshire for slaughter; what percentage were injured by fighting or otherwise in transit; and whether any arrangements are made for ensuring that they shall be transported under satisfactory conditions.

Mr. Webb

Nearly 20,000 during the six months ended 30th June, 1950. Detailed records are not kept of the number of these pigs that might have been injured in transit but five were found dead on arrival. I am assured that satisfactory arrangements are made for transporting them; and, of course, the hauliers concerned have to observe the provisions of the Transit of Animals Order, 1927.

Sir T. Moore

As it is obvious from the right hon. Gentleman's reply that there is quite unnecessary and unjustifiable suffering involved in this method of transport, cannot his advisers suggest something better?

Mr. Webb

I am not really responsible for the actual movement of the pigs. I should not have thought that five out of 20,000 is grave evidence of serious suffering, but, in so far as we can mitigate suffering, I shall be only too willing to co-operate as far as I can.

Earl Winterton

As the matter affects the interests of my constituency, will the right hon. Gentleman make quite clear that this is a perfectly legal transit, in the hands of private enterprise, and that it is for the police to prosecute in cases of cruelty?

Mr. Webb

That is so. As I said, they are expected to observe the provisions of the existing Order.

Sir Ralph Glyn

Will the right hon. Gentleman consider giving licences to slaughter-houses in the Home counties so as to avoid the unnecessary transit of pigs?

Mr. Eccles

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the factory in my constituency which deals with these pigs receives 5,000 pigs a week, and that they are treated there with the greatest consideration?