HC Deb 26 February 1953 vol 511 cc2284-5
20. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the increase during 1952 in convictions of young people for wilful cruelty to animals; and what steps he proposes to take to help reduce the figures.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Official figures of the number of children and young persons found guilty of cruelty to animals during 1952 are not yet available.

Mr. Chapman

Is the Secretary of State not aware that unofficial calculations show that the figures may have gone up something like 66⅔ per cent. or 100 per cent.? In those circumstances, would he not, for example, consult the Minister of Education so that in schools there should be a little more attention to teaching children some elements of care for and understanding of animals, so that we should not have to suffer this horrible blight on the nation?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am very willing to have the consultations, and if the hon. Gentleman will refer me to the basis of his figures I should be greatly obliged.

Sir T. Moore

Is the hon. Member who asked this Question aware that he could relieve the Government of all responsibility by making a substantial contribution to the R.S.P.C.A.?

Mr. Speaker

I do not think the Secretary of State can be held responsible for the degree of unawareness of another hon. Member.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say that, whatever the figure is, steps are being taken to reduce it?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I promised to take the course which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northfield (Mr. Chapman) suggested. I shall certainly do it with every good will.