§ 32. Mr. A. Henderson
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he proposes to take to control the traffic in unweaned calves and the conditions under which such calves are transported in the United Kingdom.
There are no regulations governing the sale of unweaned calves. The Transit of Animals Orders, made under the Diseases of Animals Act, contain very detailed regulations governing the conditions to be observed when livestock, including calves, are transported in this country. These are enforced by local authorities and the police. As at present advised, I am doubtful whether there is any need for further regulations, but if hon. Members have any particular points in mind and will let me know. I will gladly consider them.
§ Mr. Henderson
Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to a recent report in the national Press stating that in one instance 98 young calves were transported nearly 300 miles in one cattle truck in indescribable conditions? Does he not consider some action ought to be taken to prevent cruelty of this kind?
I agree that every possible action should be taken to prevent cruelty. That incident, I believe, was not a recent one but occurred last year.
No. I think that that incident to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred—certainly if it is the one I am thinking of—occurred last year. Enforcement action is a matter for the local authorities.
§ Sir A. Gomme-Duncan
Does my right hon. Friend not agree that one of the features which is most unsatisfactory is the manner of the provision of milk for the calves to drink en route? It seems that calves are expected to drink as adults drink instead of being helped with sucking instruments, which are on the market, and the use of which would improve matters enormously.
§ Mr. Willey
In view of the representations which are being made, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether further regulations are necessary?
I have the matter under consideration all the time. As I am at present advised, I cannot see what additional regulations we could usefully make, but if and when additional regulations may be useful I shall certainly consider making them.
The difficulty in general, as I think the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree, is with the slaughtering facilities. We want to ensure that they really are humane, and they can be better controlled at the slaughterhouses.
§ Mr. Moyle
On a point of order. I think, Mr. Speaker, the Minister was ans—wering with the Question of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) my Question No. 51—To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are his regulations governing the sale of unweaned calves and the conditions under which such calves are transported, and what steps are taken to enforce them.May I, therefore, put a supplementary question before the next Question is called?
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. Gentleman did not say he was going to reply to the hon. Gentleman's Question and the Question of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) together, or, if he did, I did not hear him say so, I was going to call the hon. Gentleman's Question separately.
§ Mr. Moyle
In considering the transport of unweaned calves, would the Minister be good enough to ask his inspectors to have a look at the West Country and West Wales, where, I am advised, there are certain collective hideouts where people trafficking in unweaned calves collect the calves and then transport them to London in conditions which, to say the least, are deplorable? I do ask the Minister to direct his attention and that of his officials to that matter.
I must apologise to the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Moyle) for omitting to ask permission to answer his Question at the same time as I answered the Question of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson). I will certainly look into the matter which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oldbury and Halesowen has raised. I attach very great weight to his opinions in these matters.