HC Deb 15 February 1954 vol 523 c1646
48. Mr. Remnant

asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications he received in 1952 and 1953 for the importation of Californian sea lions; for how many; and what value he places on them per sea lion; and on what that valuation is based.

Mr. Amory

Three applications for licences to import a total of eight Californian sea lions were received in 1953. We have norecord of the number of applications in 1952 but the Department cannot recall more than two or three other applications over the past five years. In addition, for educational reasons licences have been issued to certain zoos permitting the import withoutpayment of unlimited numbers of live zoological specimens. Licences for animals such as sea lions are normally issued in terms of quantity and the Board of Trade would normally accept for licensing purposes any statement of the c.i.f. value given by the applicant.

Mr. Remnant

Can my right hon. Friend say how he distinguishes between four Californian sea lions which he allowed into this country as a gift to Glasgow Zoo, where an admission charge is made, and six sea lions, also a gift, this time to Billy Smart's Circus, in which case he recently refused an import licence? How does he reconcile the two?

Mr. Amory

The main reason that we allow gifts to zoos is that they are regarded as educational institutions. A circus, rightly or wrongly, is regarded not as an educational institution but as a commercial undertaking. I hope my hon. Friend does not feel that I am unsound on sea lions. I should like to make it clear that dollar sea lions are, I am afraid, an amenity which we must deny ourselves for the moment on balance on payment grounds.