§ 27. Mr. Stokes
asked the Minister of Food whether the committee appointed to examine the conditions of the slaughter of animals for food will have included in its terms of reference the examination of every type of slaughter for food without exception.
§ 31. Mr. Peter Freeman
asked the Minister of Food the terms of reference and the names of the members of the committee of inquiry into the protection and safeguarding of horses to be set up by Her Majesty's Government.
It is hoped shortly to announce the composition of this committee and its terms of reference, which 1081 will be concerned only with the slaughter of horses but will not be restricted to their slaughter for food.
§ Mr. Stokes
Is that really so? Was it not the intention that the examination should concern the slaughter of animals everywhere, for whatever reason, provided it was for food purposes?
No, Sir. In the representations made and the Questions asked, the emphasis was on horse slaughter and associated cruelty. The reply which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave was related solely to the question of horse slaughter.
§ Mr. Stokes
If I put a Question down, will the Parliamentary Secretary ask his right hon. Friend to consider an examination into the slaughter of all animals in this country for food purposes?
If there is a sufficiently wide-spread desire for such an investigation, no doubt my right hon. Friend will consider it.
§ Mr. Baldwin
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is very close supervision of the killing of all animals other than horses?
§ Mr. Assheton
Does my hon. Friend think that the question of the slaughter of pigs ought to be investigated again?
For the moment, and, I think, with the full sympathy of the House, the Prime Minister has initiated this inquiry into a problem which is disturbing many hon. Members—the slaughter of horses.
§ 41. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Minister of Food if he will now take adequate steps to ensure that horse meat is not sold as beef or veal in hotels and restaurants.
The responsibility for ensuring that the Food and Drugs Act is observed rests not with my right hon. and gallant Friend but with those local authorities who administer the Act.
§ Mr. Johnson
Is my hon. Friend fully satisfied that horse meat is not being sold as veal or beef in restaurants or hotels? Is he not of the opinion that the possibility of selling horse meat as veal encourages the practice of slaughtering horses in circumstances which have given rise to so much disquiet on both sides of this House?
My right hon. and gallant Friend has satisfied himself that the food and drugs authorities are alive to the possibility of this abuse and are watching the position.
§ 43. Mr. E. Johnson
asked the Minister of Food if he will instruct the committee to be set up on the law relating to the slaughter of horses to consider the advisability of amending the law, so as to require returns to be made to him by local authorities of licences issued for slaughterhouses, in order that a central record might be available.
My right hon. and gallant Friend will bring this suggestion to the notice of the committee.
§ Mr. Johnson
Would my hon. Friend not agree that a central record of slaughterhouses is essential in order to be able to track down those people who are killing horses under the most cruel circumstances, and also to check the sale of horse meat as veal, which nobody else is satisfied is not happening, even if my hon. Friend is?
As the committee has been established to survey this field, I think my hon. Friend would agree that it is approprate to bring this suggestion to their notice.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Lipton
Will the Parliamentary Secretary also bring to the notice of the committee a suggestion I have made on one or two occasions, namely, that the price of horse meat retailed for public consumption should be brought under control?