HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc231-63
Mr. Darling

I beg to move, in page 11, line 36, after "instrument", to insert: of a design approved by the Minister and".

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

This Amendment may be discussed with the next in the same line in the name of the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), after "instrument", to insert: of a type approved by the Minister and".

Mr. Darling

Here we are on what might appear at first sight to be rather a narrow issue. In effect, the Amendment says that when an animal is to be slaughtered and is first stunned, the instrument used—this is what we wish to say— shall be of a design approved by the Minister … Though that is a narrow point, if—as was clearly brought out during the Committee stage discussions—we can establish the principle here that equipment in slaughterhouses should be of a design approved by the Minister, this will eventually go much wider. But now I wish to confine myself to the point of the Amendment.

We supported with some strong arguments the view advanced during the Committee discussions. Indeed, so strong were they that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary agreed to look at the matter again between the Committee and the Report stage and give us the benefit of his second and, I hope, deeper thoughts. We await that with interest. We believe that important equipment such as these instruments for stunning, and so on, used in slaughterhouses and abattoirs should for a number of reasons be of a design approved by the Minister. Such approval would keep off the market inefficient instruments and also instruments which might not be humane in their operation. We consider that of great importance.

In the Committee the Joint Parliamentary Secretary did not think it important that there were many designs. He argued that abattoirs and slaughterhouses would get the best and not go in for the poorer designs. Hon. Members on this side of the House feel that there can be too many designs. Only a few manufacturers are engaged in this business, and I understand that they are willing to accept fewer designs because it would help them. They would manufacture only one or two designs of each type of equipment and would have the benefit of longer production runs. The inefficient, inadequate and inhumane equipment would be kept off the market. For these reasons we consider this a very sensible proposition.

Manufacturers would be helped in their export activities were this Amendment accepted. Not only could they have more standardised designs but, by being able to advertise that their equipment was approved by the Ministry of Agriculture, their export trade would be greatly helped. Above all, we are concerned with efficiency and humane activities in slaughterhouses and abattoirs. On both these counts we think that it is necessary to have some degree of standardisation of equipment and that the best thing to do is to insist that the most important equipment shall be of a design approved by the Ministry. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary received a barrage of criticism when he tried to oppose the Amendment during the Committee stage discussions. The hon. Gentleman said he would think over the matter again, and we await with interest his remarks on the subject.

Mr. Hayman

I support the Amendment. We should not even allow vested interests in an existing instrument to stand in the way of humane slaughtering. The country and all hon. Members believe that. When the Joint Parliamentary Secretary replied to the arguments advanced during the Committee stage discussions he seemed to rely on the fact that certain instruments and methods had been in use for some time. But I have been shaken by the doubts now expressed about the efficiency of the Electrother operated in bacon factories. We have had to rely on these methods being more or less foolproof, but my faith was shaken by what I heard in the Committee discussions. I hope the Joint Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister will think again.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Godber

We discussed this point, or one closely related to it, at considerable length during the Committee stage, and I said that I should like to think about the matter again in relation to the arguments advanced then. It is common ground that we want to find the most humane methods of slaughter possible. The existence of Clause 7 in the Bill indicates the desire of the Government not only to ensure that that is so, but also to take advantage of newer methods of slaughter as and when they come along. We have been impressed with the possibilities of the new method of carbon dioxide anaesthesia. A change in the legislation is required to enable us to authorise it, and that is what we seek in Clause 7.

It is clear that if, in regard to any other specific matters of slaughtering apparatus, a case is made out, we should obviously want to look at it very sympathetically indeed. It was in that context that I gave the undertaking in Committee about approval by the Minister of these particular designs. The Amendments ask us to say that the design shall be "approved by the Minister". Although I have looked at the matter most carefully, I cannot recommend the House to accept either of the Amendments, and I will try to explain why.

First of all, we already have powers enabling us to make regulations to deal with the point. Section 2 (1, b) of the Slaughter of Animals (Amendment) Act, 1954, gives us power to make regulations to provide exactly what hon. Gentlemen want us to do. There is, therefore, no need to insert it specifically here. The subsection provides that such regulations may prescribe conditions to be observed in connection with the confinement and treatment of animals while awaiting slaughter in such premises, and in connection with the slaughter of animals therein". I should not regard it as necessary to approve existing designs of equipment used in slaughtering. We are aware of all the existing designs. We believe that the ones in use at the present time are satisfactory. We have no knowledge of new designs coming forward, certainly none which would be unsatisfactory. I will deal with the comments of the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) on the electric tongs in a few minutes. However, I give the House an immediate assurance that, if we became aware—hon. Members would be free to inform us about it at any time—of any new apparatus coming on the market which we felt did not meet the requirements of humanity which we all desire, my right hon. Friend would be perfectly ready then to make regulations under Section 2 (1, b) of the 1954 Act in order to prevent the use of inappropriate equipment. I give that unqualified assurance.

The powers are there and we are ready and prepared, if necessary, to use them. We do not consider that at the present time we should make this a normal regulation. I am somewhat fortified in this by the words of the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Royle), who, I am sorry to see, is not here at the moment.

Mr. Darling

He is in Strasbourg.

Mr. Godber

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is not with us, because I valued his expert knowledge on these subjects. In Committee, the hon. Gentleman said: I am always concerned about putting a limitation on the type of instrument to be used for any purpose, lest monopolies are created."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A. 27th February. 1958; c. 812.] There is a valid argument there. I do not pitch it unnecessarily high, but it is an argument of which the House should take account. We do not wish to put into the hands of existing manufacturers monopolistic powers, and I am sure that the House would not wish to do that. We want to encourage new manufacturers and new designs which are good, sound and effective, and will promote—as I hope that this new type of carbon dioxide anaesthetising will promote—more humane methods of slaughtering.

I sympathise entirely with the objects which hon. Gentlemen have in mind. New legislation, however, is not necessary, because provision is in the 1954 Act. I give the undertaking that if, or when, occasion arises to justify taking action under that Act to prohibit the use of any equipment which we do not think sound and humane, we shall immediately take that action. In the meantime, it is better not to take such action because it is not necessary, and it is not right to put any existing manufacturer in a monopolistic position. For these sound and practical reasons, I do not feel that it would be right to accept the Amendments.

I come now to what the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne said about electric tongs. I have considered the matter very closely. I have consulted various welfare societies about it and listened very carefully to the arguments put to me. It is only right to inform the House that one welfare society still feels slightly unhappy about the method. I have come to the conclusion that it would be wrong for us to do anything about electric tongs, because, in general, I believe that they are not only effective but are humane if properly used. That is the whole point. As far as I can ascertain, nobody has said, certainly in relation to pigs, that there is any danger. The argument in Committee related to sheep, mainly long-wooled sheep.

I looked into the matter most carefully, and my right hon. Friend caused a letter to be sent to all local authorities about it on 31st March. I should like to quote a passage from that letter: The Minister is advised that the following precautions should always be observed by persons stunning animals by means of electricity:—

  1. (a) Sponge rubber electrodes should be kept moist by frequent immersion in a saline solution.
  2. (b) Electrodes should be applied firmly to the animal's head and so placed as to ensure that the brain lies between them.
  3. (c) Scientific evidence indicates that the voltage should be not less than 75 volts and that the current should be applied for not less than 7 seconds.
  4. 236
  5. (d) Care is needed when stunning sheep, and particularly long-wooled varieties, because wool acts as an insulator and impedes the flow of current through the brain. This can be avoided if the wool is clipped from the sides of the head before the electrodes are applied. Alternatively, the stunning should be carried out with a captive-bolt pistol.
  6. (e) After stunning, animals should be bled with a minimum of delay".
If these particular instruments are used properly, the results are satisfactory. It is only in improper use that there is any danger.

I myself hope that, if the carbon dioxide method proves satisfactory on pigs, we shall have experiments on sheep and we might see developments which would, in time perhaps, obviate the use of the other equipment there. That seems to be something which we should try to encourage, as, indeed, we shall, so far as we can. It would, in the meantime, be wrong to give the impression that the electric tongs are not effective or humane if they are used properly. That is the key to the matter. It is up to local authorities to ensure that the instructions are carried out, but there is provision for penalties for improper use and for any cruelty caused as a result. That is really the way to deal with it. We believe that the various forms of equipment we have are the best available and, for that reason, as well as the others I have mentioned, I cannot commend the Amendments to the House.

Mr. Winterbottom

I appreciate all that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has said, but he could have said it all and still accepted the addition to the Clause we suggest without in any way interfering with Governmental experiments or with the present method of slaughtering animals. Even though the power may be in another Act of Parliament, it would do no harm to have it in this Bill. It would reinforce what is said in the other Act.

I believe that the slaughtering of animals is a matter not only of humane killing—that is to say, rendering insensible before actual killing—but of preserving the quality of the meat afterwards. I am very suspicious of the method of producing insensibility electrically in the case of sheep or pigs, especially when the pigs are going through a tunnel. I have much more faith in the captive-bolt for sheep than I have in the electric method of stunning. As I said in Committee, I have every reason to know that a very severe blow on the head produces insensibility immediately, because I am the only "coshed" Member of Parliament. I was rendered insensible immediately; my throat could have been cut quite easily with a good Sheffield blade, and I should have known nothing about it. That is precisely the method of the captive-bolt, but, even though I approve at the moment of the captive-bolt for killing sheep, that is not to say that, at some time, somewhere, somebody will not discover something which will be more humane than the equipment now in use.

We want the Minister not only to have power to say whether these new mechanical instruments for stunning are acceptable as a result of tests which he himself would institute but also to have power, if necessary, to eliminate ultimately those which at the moment seem to us satisfactory. The Minister would be wise to accept these words for that reason. It will not take away any of his power. They will be supplementary to the provisions of the other Act.

When the Joint Parliamentary Secretary resists an Amendment and everything he says at the Box is in favour of the insertion of the words proposed by it, he makes us suspicious that somewhere behind the line is something not quite as savoury as we should wish. We ask that the Minister should be able to look at any new invention brought out, examine it carefully and say whether he is satisfied, after his examination, that it fulfills the two requirements of slaughtering, namely, the proper stunning of the animal and the proper preservation of the meat. He would be wise to accept this addition to the Clause in order to give him that power supplementary to what is provided in the 1954 Act. Nothing that the hon. Gentleman has said today has shown anything to prevent it, and there is everything in its favour. It is most regrettable that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary should try to hide behind the 1954 Act when the insertion of the words proposed would be merely supplemental to it.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Sidney Dye (Norfolk, South-West)

I was very interested in the reply of the Parliamentary Secretary. I realise that he has taken a great personal interest in this matter and has had consultations with various people who have a particular interest in the humane slaughter of animals and who still see some difficulties under present regulations and even under the Bill if it be passed in its present form.

The hon. Gentleman has pointed out that the effectiveness of the electric tongs in stunning sheep depends on the operator. There may be 400 or 500 operators in the country. Millions of sheep are slaughtered. In the letter the Parliamentary Secretary quoted, the Minister speaks about sheep on which the wool has grown around the head and covers that part of the head where the brain is. He suggests that the wool should be clipped off before the electric tongs are applied. Is not it asking rather a lot that the slaughterer should take clippers and go round the sheep, giving it a haircut before applying the tongs? It is not exactly pulling the wool over its eyes, but rather taking it from its eyes so that it shall not see the knife when produced.

The purpose of the Bill is stated quite clearly; it is instantaneous stunning. Even in the letter which the Parliamentary Secretary quoted he mentions that the tongs, after having been applied, should be held in position for at least seven seconds. They had previously said ten seconds. Now, that is not quite instantaneous. Bearing in mind the conditions in slaughterhouses, the number of sheep passing through and the fact that everything depends on how the operator uses his instruments, I think that under present circumstances it is asking too much. As my hon. Friend the Member for Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom) said, speaking from experience, the use of the captive bolt pistol on sheep is and can he instantaneous. What we are asking for in this Amendment is that the Minister shall, by regulations, certify certain instruments as being up to the standard of causing instantaneous stunning.

The position is now different from what it was when the Ministry of Food controlled all slaughterhouses. Then, the Minister could give permits to representatives of societies concerned with the humane treatment of animals to enter slaughterhouses and observe conditions there. Since decontrol he cannot give such permits. Whereas, under the Ministry, these society inspectors had a right of entry, and exercised it, they do not have it now, and will not in future. Although that circular letter has been sent to local authorities, it does not give any right to any individual to observe the actual effect in use of stunning methods.

That is the weakness as the Bill stands. As has been pointed out, we had hoped that while the Bill was going through the House we should be able to insert something which would remove all doubts about the effects of instantaneous stunning on all animals before being slaughtered. That is what we want. There is a doubt about it, and that doubt is even raised in the letter the Minister has sent out. We had hoped that we had reached the stage when all doubts could be removed about this, and I regret that the Minister has not been able to go quite as far as we think he ought to have gone.

Mr. Willey

The Parliamentary Secretary is most sympathetic, but sympathy is not enough. This is a matter which we discussed at some length in Standing Committee. At the end of that long discussion I was most anxious to avoid a Division on a matter such as this, as I said with some emphasis, because the Amendment then was supported from both sides of the Committee. I remind the Parliamentary Secretary of what he then said: I conclude the case for new devices, and as far as existing ones are affected I would willingly look at the matter again. If it is practicable and reasonable, and if I think it will be helpful, I will willingly see what can be done, and between now and the Report stage I shall certainly consider it."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, Standing Committee A, 27th February, 1958; c. 809.] With all respect, the Parliamentary Secretary has not satisfied the conditions he imposed on himself. He has said he already has the powers to do what we suggest should be done. That was the position obtaining when he gave this assurance. Quite apart from that, it is because the Government have the powers to do this and have not exercised them that we wish to write this into the Bill; by refusing to exercise those powers the Government have indicated that they do not wish and do not intend to do so. There is obviously a clear difference of opinion here, and I hope that all hon. Members, regardless of their party affiliations, will vote according to the best provisions for securing humanitarian conditions. We are faced with the Government refusing to take this step.

Now I want to say something about the need for this step. As far as new devices go, the Parliamentary Secretary conceded that this would be helpful; but this Clause concerns new devices, and he will remember that we had a discussion about the provision for extension with regard to the device for using carbon dioxide as a means of slaughter. Surely, therefore, the Parliamentary Secretary must be with us in saying that some such provision as this should be made. As far as existing appliances go, I would only say that what he said about the electric tongs leaves us in some doubt about them. I should have thought that there was a very good case here for discussing this with manufacturers. I can express the simple case in a sentence. The manufacturers of slaughterhouse equipment are very reputable manufacturers, and we believe it would aid the provision of humanitarian conditions if those manufacturers were brought into consultation, and if the design of equipment were approved by the Minister.

That is all we are asking for in this Amendment. I put down the second Amendment merely so that the Parliamentary Secretary could indicate which he preferred. The second Amendment uses words which appear in the inter-Departmental Committee's report. Unless we have a more satisfactory reply from the Parliamentary Secretary, we shall have no alternative but to divide the House upon this, which I very much regret.

Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)

I apologise for my absence until a few moments ago; it was certainly not within my control.

I rise for only a moment or two, and I can put what I have to say to the Parliamentary Secretary in a few sentences. He may well have in mind that he does not want to put the cachet of the Ministry on any particular instrument of any type, feeling that that might be unfair to those developing other instruments, or that it would be invidious for the Ministry to say, "We approve this", which might be taken as evidence that instruments not so approved should not be bought and should not be used. I suggest that approval of instruments of this type does not mean that reputable manufacturers—and I am sure they are all reputable manufacturers—will feel in any way inhibited from bringing forward new designs and asking the Ministry to examine and approve them after testing.

I cannot see that there can be any difficulty for either the manufacturers or the Ministry. I can see nothing but good coming to the public as a whole and to the Ministry if the Minister gave way on this matter and accepted the Amendment.

Mr. Godber

I have listened with care to the additional arguments advanced by hon. Members opposite, and I realise the sincerity with which they are put forward. I know that this is a matter in which hon. Members on both sides take a keen interest and feel strongly about. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) quite properly reminded me of what I said in Committee on this subject, when I said that I conceded the case for new devices. I thought that I had dealt with that in my earlier remarks, when I reminded the House of the existence of powers in the 1954 Act. I gave a clear assurance, in relation to any new apparatus brought forward, that if they were in any way unsuitable we would not hesitate to use powers to prevent their use. That is an undertaking I have given, and which is on record. I should have thought that met the commitment I gave in Committee.

I really do not think that it would be right, certainly on the evidence we have at the moment, to suggest that any of the existing types of apparatus in use are, in effect, wrong in any material respect. It has been pointed out that with improper use some pain could well be caused; but this is a question of proper administration and proper use of the apparatus.

Referring to the circular letter we sent to local authorities, hon. Members have suggested that we refer to clipping the wool from the sides of the sheep's head and have pointed out the difficulty that would be entailed if that were carried out. We merely suggested that that was one way. If slaughterhouse operators did not wish to take the necessary care and the length of time required in applying the electrode, there are alternative ways. We also mentioned in the same circular the possibility of using the captive bolt pistol. All these ways are suitable, and all are humane if operated properly. That is really the key to all this.

I am sorry if hon. Members feel, as apparently they do, that we have not met them on this subject. I feel we have done all that we could or should do about it, both in what I said earlier and in the undertaking I gave. Hon. Members should not lose sight of the point which was made by the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Royle), which I quoted, that by giving approval to a particular design we should be giving some monopoly power to certain manufacturers. I should have thought that that was a valid point. It was put forward by an hon. Member who has great experience of these matters, and I would not discard it lightly.

As to the difference between the hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. Winter-bottom) and myself, when he said that I had accepted all the suggestions made and, therefore, should accept the Amendment, the fact is that the one case I have not accepted is directly counter to any acceptance of the Amendment.

Mr. Winterbottom

The point is that at present there is no method of slaughtering which is not covered by instruments made by many manufacturers, and the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Royle) falls down in that respect.

The point made by the Parliamentary Secretary about the use of the present instruments and the frailty of human nature in using them applies equally to the poleaxe, because a poleaxe can produce instantaneous stunning if used properly. The Parliamentary Secretary is completely avoiding the implications of this Amendment. He is going round like the "Artful Dodger," trying to make all sorts of excuses instead of facing the simple fact that the power in the 1954 Act could be put into this Bill, and could supplement, and, indeed, help, that which was in the 1954 Act. That he has avoided completely.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Godber

No; I cannot accept that for one moment. I have put forward a reasoned argument why it would not be appropriate to accept this Amendment, and I have heard nothing from hon. Members opposite to convince me otherwise.

Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)

I fully intended to hold my peace on this Amendment, but to my mind there is one substantial compelling argument in support of it which has not been put. While we are all of one mind about preserving the highest degree of humanity in carrying out these unpleasant operations, we have to keep in mind another thing in connection with the devolopment of new apparatus, and that is the safety of the men using it.

We have just parted with a Clause which imposes an added duty on employers in this industry to observe the stringent conditions of the Factories Act, for example. Therefore, when we consider something which involves the use of electricity for stunning and, it may be, noxious gases later, that, by implication, involves the men, and I would have thought that we shall require some degree of certification and approval by the Ministry not only for the sake of preserving the greatest humanity to the animals, but also the greatest safety to the men called upon to use the apparatus.

Mr. Godber

I quite accept that that is important and that that is entirely rele-

vant to the arguments put forward to hon. Members opposite. It is equally relevant to the argument that I am putting forward, too. The undertaking that I have given applies in exactly the same respect. It is certainly right and proper that the men should be properly protected, and I would have thought that the operation of the Factories Acts in relation to these premises will be of material assistance. The use of electricity is nothing new. It has been used in slaughterhouses for many years, and, therefore, a new, material point does not arise.

I have endeavoured to persuade the House that we have already the necessary powers and that we shall use them when necessary. But I cannot advise the House to accept the Amendment, which would make mandatory the approval of every type of equipment of this nature, and which is not appropriate and necessary at this time.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 198, Noes, 241.

Monslow, W. Rankin, John Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Moody, A. S. Redhead, E. C. Thornton, E.
Morris, Peroy (Swansea, W.) Reeves, J. Tomney, F.
Mort, D. L, Reid, William Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Moss, R. Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Usborne, H. C.
Moyle, A. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Viant, S. P.
Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Weitzman, D.
Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Oram, A. E. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) West, D, G.
Orbach, M. Ross, William Wheeldon, W. E.
Oswald, T. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Owen, W. J. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Wl[...]cock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Padley, W. E. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Willey, Frederick
Paget, R. T. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Williams, David (Neath)
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Sorensen, R. W. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Pargiter, G. A. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Parker, J. Sparks, J. A. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Parkin, B. T. Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Paton, John Stonehouse, John Winterbottom, Richard
Pearson, A. Stones, W. (Consett) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Peart, T. F. Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Woof, R. E.
Pentland, N. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Popplewe[...]l, E. Sylvester, G. O. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Prentice, R. E. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Zilliacus, K.
Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Taylor, John (West Lothian) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Probert, A. R. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Mr. Short and Mr. J. T. Price.
Proctor, W. T. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Agnew, Sir Peter Doughty, C. J. A. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Ai[...]ken, W. T. du Cann, E. D. L. Hornby, R. P.
Alport, C. J. M. Duncan, Sir James Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Duthie, W. S. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Anstru[...]her-Gray, Major Sir William Elliott, R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.) Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Arbuthnot, John Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hulbert, Sir Norman
Atkins, H. E. Erroll, F. J. Hurd, A. R.
Baldock, Lt. Cmdr. J. M. Farey-Jones, F. W. Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)
Baldwin, A. E. Finlay, Graeme Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.)
Balniel, Lord Fisher, Nigel Hyde, Montgomery
Barber, Anthony Fletcher-Cooke, C. Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry
Barlow, Sir John Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Iremonger, T. L.
Barter, John Fraser, Sir Ian (M'ombe & Lonsdale) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Freeth, Denzil Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Gammans, Lady Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Garner-Evans, E. H. Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) George, J. C. (PolloK) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Glover, D. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Bidgood, J. C. Glyn, Col. Richard H. Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Godber, J. B. Kershaw, J. A.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Goodhart, Philip Kimball, M.
Bishop, F. P. Gower, H. R. Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Graham, Sir Fergus Langford-Holt, J. A.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Grant, W. (Woodside) Leavey, J. A.
Boyle, Sir Edward Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Leburn, W. G.
Braine, B. R. Green, A. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Gresham Cooke, R. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Grimond, J. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Gurden, Harold Llewellyn, D. T.
Campbell, Sir David Hall, John (Wycombe) Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Carr, Robert Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Longden, Gilbert
Cary, Sir Robert Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Channon, Sir Henry Harris, Reader (Heston) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Chichaster-Clark, R. Harrison, A. B, C. (Maldon) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) McAdden, S. J.
Cooke, Robert Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Macdonald, Sir Peter
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) McKibbin, Alan
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Craddock, Beresford (Spe[...]horne) Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Henderson, John (Cathoart) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Crowder, sir John (Finchley) Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Currie, G. B. H. Hesketh, R. F. McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Dance, J. C. G. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Davidson, Viscountess Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Deedes, W. F. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Ma[...]pherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hirst, Geoffrey Maddan, Martin
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Markham, Major Sir Frank
Marlowe, A. A. H. Pitman, I. J. Summers, Sir Spencer
Marshall, Douglas Pitt, Miss E. M. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Mathew, R. Powell, J. Enoch Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Mawby, R. L. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Temple, John M.
Maydon, H.-Comdr. S. L. C. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Ramsden, J. E. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Rawlinson, Peter Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Moore, Sir Thomas Redmayne, M. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Remnant, Hon. P. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Renton, D. L. M. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Nabarro, G. D. N. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Vane, W. M. F.
Nairn, D. L. S. Robertson, Sir David Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Neave, Alrey Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Vickers, Miss Joan
Nicholls, Harmar Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Wade, D. W.
Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Firnham) Roper, Sir Harold Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'gh) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Nugent, G. R. H. Sharples, R. C. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Oakshott, H. D. Shepherd, William Wall, Patrick
O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Ant[...]im, N.) Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Webbe, Sir H.
Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Spearman, Sir Alexander Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Osborne, C. Speir, R. M. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Page, R. G. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Panned, N. A. (Kirkdale) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Peel, W. J. Stevens, Geoffrey Woollam, John Victor
Peyton, J. W. W. Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Pickthorn, K. W. M. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Pike, Miss Mervyn Storey, S. Mr. Bryan and Mr. Gibson-Watt.
Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Studholme, Sir Henry

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Robens

I beg to move, in page 12, line 26, at the end to insert: (3) The Minister, after consultation with such organisations as appear to him to represent the employers carrying on slaughterhouse trade or business and with the trade unions representing slaughterhouse workers, may provide for a register of slaughtermen or a register of apprentices. This Amendment provides, after consultation by the Minister with the employers and trade unions representing the workers in the industry, for a register of slaughtermen or a register of apprentices. In the main, I am very loath to have registration. I always look with grave suspicion at the missives that come in my post from some organisation or another wanting a particular group to be registered. Usually it means that that particular group wants to be registered to prevent anybody else getting in and to enjoy monopolistic powers in respect of their own particular interests.

Therefore, I did not readily accept the idea of a register of apprentices or slaughtermen, but I finally came to the conclusion that I should withdraw my prejudice against a register of this kind because of the good reasons for it. If I put on one side my prejudice about registration of this kind, it may appeal to hon. Members, but it will appeal particularly to the Minister, who will decide whether registration is the right thing to provide for or not.

The first consideration that came to my mind was that here we are dealing with a particularly difficult sort of trade. One of my right hon. Friends who was listening to our discussion before the last Division, said to me, while going through the Lobby, that he had reached the conclusion that he would become a vegetarian. I can assure those who sat through the whole of the sittings of the Standing Committee and listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Royle), who, unhappily, is engaged on other business today, that those of my hon. Friends who are in the medical profession are all vegetarians.

The truth is that none of us on the Standing Committee, nor, I believe, any of us in this House, wants to see such a disagreeable thing as the inhumane slaughtering of animals; and anyone who has visited slaughterhouses must admit that it is disagreeable. From my own experience, and that of others in the industry on both the management and the trade union side, I believe there is not the slightest doubt that one of the principal causes of inhumane slaughtering is badly trained slaughtermen. I would not dream of entering into the gory details of what happens when an untrained slaughterman is endeavouring to slaughter an animal. I leave that to the imagination of hon. Members.

I believe, therefore, that it is essential that those who slaughter animals for human consumption should be craftsmen in every sense of the word, so that their stunning blow is, in fact, the only blow required to kill the animal, and that the animal should not be subject to any suffering at all. If we must have well trained craftsmen that presupposes that one must have a very good apprenticeship scheme. Both employers and workers in the industry came to the conclusion that it was absolutely essential that young people should be recruited into the industry and should submit themselves to an apprenticeship scheme and thus become trained craftsmen. As a result of becoming trained craftsmen they would perform the task of slaughtering animals in a humane way. That was not the only reason. We may come to others later; but for the moment I want to remain on the question of humane slaughtering.

As a result of this, on 13th March, 1952, the Joint Industrial Council had a proposal for an apprenticeship scheme approved by the Ministries of Labour and Education. The object of that scheme was to make sure that those who were wishing to slaughter animals should be able to slaughter cattle, sheep, pigs and calves in a proper way. It was also essential that if young persons were to be trained to do that they must be under the constant supervision of trained and skilled slaughtermen. It must be remembered that this was a joint scheme of both employers and workpeople, so that there was no question of restricting entry into the ranks of slaughtermen. They decided that it was not a good thing to have more than one apprentice to ten trained slaughtermen.

Coming from both sides of the industry, that in itself was a clear indication of the meticulous supervision of young people that is required. The scheme therefore provided that there should be only one apprentice to ten trained slaughtermen and, also, that the employer should provide opportunity for release from employment so that the young apprentice should attend a technical college and be able to understand the technicalities of his craft—what he was doing and why, and the best way in which it should be done.

I understand that this apprenticeship scheme has been exceptionally successful in that it is turning out very good craftsmen. That is the apprenticeship scheme which we think ought to be registered. We believe that the Ministry should keep a register of all these apprentices. That does not mean any restriction at all as the Minister, having approved an apprenticeship scheme, would only be keeping a register of those apprentices. The purpose of this proposal will be discovered as I go on now to deal with the question of the registration of slaughtermen.

It may not be well known to hon. Members, but they may take it as the truth, that very largely because of the opening of a great number of slaughterhouses in the post-war years—though not immediately after the war; and I will not argue the merits or demerits of that, because we have discussed it in the Standing Committee and our views on the necessity for centralising and having a moderate concentration of slaughterhouses are well known—a very large number of men who knew something about slaughtering but did not know about it wholly and were not very efficient, while doing a job of work during the week, were going into these slaughterhouses at nights and at weekends and, basing themselves on the little knowledge they had picked up somewhere or other—or perhaps using only brute strength—were slaughtering animals.

This was a disgraceful thing. That is another of the very good reasons which overcame my prejudices about registration. I suppose that it would not really be right and proper to make any comparison here with anything that is done on the operating table to human beings, but animals should surely be treated with the same consideration that we give to persons who are operated upon. Looking at the history of modern surgery, one can go back over a number of years to the days when patients had to be strapped down on to the operating table and gagged to drown their screams and shouts as they were operated upon. We have seen to it, through the years, despite the efforts of those who, even in those days, fought against anaesthetics as being unnatural, that today serious operations are carried out without there being any pain at all to the patient at the time of the operation.

We have done all that for human beings and there is not the slightest reason why those responsible for slaughtering animals for human consumption should not do everything possible to ameliorate the suffering of those animals. It is wrong that we should permit a series of events which enable people with little or no skill at slaughtering to be able to work in slaughterhouses of the kind I have described—and the chapter and verse of the evidence can be produced for anyone to see—slaughtering animals in a way which brings out the disapproval of all who are engaged in the industry and have some idea of standards in relation to the humane treatment of animals.

It may well be thought that slaughter-men who are killing animals daily may have little regard for them, but let me say right away that such is not my experience. Far from it. The most humane people in dealing with animals, with the usual exceptions that one finds in any section of society, are slaughterman. They resent people knocking animals about before they are killed. They resent a slaughterman who is a bad craftsman, the man whose tools fail him, or are in bad hands.

For these and a number of other reasons which I would put before the House if there were time, I believe it is right that there should be a register of slaughtermen; and the only way for them to get on to that main register should be through the apprenticeship scheme. Two registrations could be kept, the first under the apprenticeship scheme, on which employers and workers in the industry have agreed. In fact, it came from them, and the Ministry of Labour and Education have both blessed and approved that scheme. Then, when those apprentices have gone through their course and are deemed to be efficient, their names would be put on to the register of slaughtermen. If that were done, as time goes on and as the apprentices become slaughtermen we in this House might feel that we had done our duty as legislators to preserve the humane slaughtering of animals.

Sir James Duncan (South Angus)

Could the right hon. Gentleman help me in this: earlier, he said that the proportion of apprentices to slaughtermen was to be ten to one: How will he keep up the numbers if only one is replacing ten on the register?

Mr. Robens

This is the scheme approved by the Joint Industrial Council, covering entrants into the industry. It says that entrants shall be based on the proportion of one apprentice to ten skilled slaughtermen and that the number of new entrants shall by mutual understanding be based on local conditions. In other words, the Council says that at this stage the proportion must be one to ten, but according to whether there is concentration or expansion of slaughterhouses, the position is made a little more flexible.

I doubt whether it is necessary to say anything more to persuade all those who would have the humane slaughtering of animals as a first consideration in any slaughterhouse that this ought to be done. There are other, commercial, reasons why we should have more efficient slaughterhouses, but I will not develop those reasons since they are obvious to everybody. I hope, Mr. Speaker, that the right hon. Gentleman will meet me on this. He probably has the same prejudice that I had about registration and looks as carefully as most of us do at groups of people with limited vested interests who want their profession, trade or industry registered. It was because of that prejudice that I looked at this matter much more closely. I am convinced that this is the right thing to do. It overrides all my prejudices about registration. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will feel that the arguments which I have advanced overcome the prejudice which he may have towards this Amendment and that he will accept it.

Sir J. Duncan

With the general object of the right hon. Gentleman I have no quarrel; indeed, I am just as keen as he is that slaughtering should be as humane as possible. It is the practicability of the scheme that I doubt. After all, slaughtering is not a very popular occupation to take up. I am entirely with the right hon. Gentleman on the apprenticeship scheme but if, as he says, it is a fact that only one apprentice is to be trained under ten qualified people, I honestly do not see how we are ever to keep up the numbers reasonably, bearing in mind, in any case, the difficulty of getting adequate numbers of slaughter-men to do the work. I would much rather have a different kind of scheme, perhaps operated through the trade unions, where the qualified man who actually does the slaughtering is an ex-apprentice, fully trained.

6.30 p.m.

It must be remembered that it is not everybody in the slaughterhouse who does the slaughtering. Some do the skinning, some deal with the offals. No unhumanity is involved, because the animal is dead by then. In the small slaughterhouses, which are the ones I know, there are probably two men, or only one man, to handle the humane pistol. It is those men who ought to be qualified. I am in favour of an apprenticeship scheme, because it would enable a flow of qualified people to be available.

The right hon. Gentleman wants to register everyone working in a slaughterhouse. That is a different question. I have the same instinctive objection to registration that he has, and I appreciate his views. Nevertheless, I do not think that it is the right way of approaching this problem. I am prepared to admit that this is permissive for the Minister, and could be done only after agreement between the employers and the employees, but I do not think that it ought to be in the Bill. It would be better on a voluntary basis between the employers and trade unions concerned, in such a way that the people who do the stunning and the slaughtering are qualified. I am sure that it could be done on a voluntary basis in the future.

For the moment, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that there is a shortage of slaughtermen. I know that this Bill does not apply to Scotland and I only refer to it by way of illustration. There is a shortage in Scotland and the local authorities there have difficulty in obtaining adequately qualified slaughtermen. While there is this difficulty, I am sure that it would place an additional burden on the local authorities in trying to find adequately qualified people if they have to be on the register before being employed.

Therefore, while I have every sympathy with the objects of the right hon. Gentleman, I hardly think that this Amendment is the right way to achieve them. I ask the Minister to think about some voluntary method by which people who actually do the slaughtering shall be qualified, to ensure that no unqualified person shall do the stunning. At the same time, many unqualified people who are slaughtermen in name, and, perhaps, classified as such in the Ministry of Labour and the trade union records, could cut up the meat and treat the offals.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not press the Amendment, although I agree with the objects behind it, as I have said, because from the practical point of view this is the wrong way of approaching the problem.

Dr. Stross

If we pick out one section, the most important section, of men working in a slaughterhouse with reference to what we are now discussing, we must agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan), that we would have to say, "These are the people we must consider for registration and apprenticeship because slaughter lies in their hands and they are responsible." And if we are to be humane to animals, and make sure that they are slaughtered as humanely as possible, if we cannot do it for all, we must do it for these first. Our primary consideration should not be those who treat the skins, and do so in such a way that we lose about £1 million a year today from spoiled skins, because it is only money that is lost.

Less than half an hour ago the Joint Parliamentary Secretary told us he was not convinced that the Ministry should intervene by approving any type of instrument, for he was satisfied that if the instruments in use are properly used, there is no inhumanity in slaughter. We were not able to convince the hon. Gentleman that it would be desirable to make instruments foolproof so that if mistakes were made or ignorance was manifested we would still prevent cruelty.

Now we are taking another aspect and putting it to the hon. Gentleman in another way. We are saying that if we cannot have approved instruments which are foolproof as far as possible—and some appear to be so, as we know from our discussions in Committee—let us at least have a guarantee that those who handle those instruments will be as well trained as possible, and this means the apprenticeship scheme and registration. I do not want to say more, but it seems to me that this is a case that cannot be argued against. If we mean what we say about humaneness in the care of animals, this is the least we should do.

Mr. Winterbottom

I speak through you, Sir, to the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) on the contribution he has made to the debate. I want to thank him, because I believe that he was sincere. I think the hon. Gentleman was trying to explore the possibilities as far as he could, though, if he will forgive me for saying so, with probably a very limited knowledge of the trade.

May I say to the hon. Gentleman that the registration of apprentices and the licensing of slaughtermen has been done unofficially under the Joint Industrial Council for a long time. Indeed, I could explain in much more detail the apprenticeship scheme, because I was in at its inception. Despite the fact that there is at present registration of apprentices and that there is to a certain extent licensing of slaughtermen under this arrangement, that does not prevent the illicit slaughtering of cattle today. As a result of the policy pursued in 1954, there are many examples of illicit slaughtering of cattle by unpractised, unqualified and untrained people in many slaughterhouses as a result of the increase in the number of slaughterhouses following the 1954 Act.

I ought to say that, because it is the crux of the situation with which we are dealing and it is a point which neither the Minister nor the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has yet understood. When the 1954 Act was brought into being and free enterprise was allowed in this country to increase the number of slaughterhouses from 600 to 4,200, the question arose which is arising in Scotland now, where would we get the qualified slaughtermen to meet the needs of 4,200 slaughterhouses? It was inevitable that cattle would be slaughtered by people who were not qualified and who had no training.

Sir J. Duncan

There is still a shortage of slaughtermen in Scotland.

Mr. Winterbottom

I will deal with the Scottish position in a moment. I am now dealing with the English situation. It is as obvious as night follows day that the number of men who have been operating in 600 slaughterhouses are not sufficient to meet the needs of 4,200 slaughtherhouses. That is one reason why we are saying that there has not only been illicit but inhumane slaughtering in many of the places opened after 1954.

I will tell the House something else. When we talked about apprenticeship and the licensing of slaughtermen in 1954 we asked where they would come from. We were told about the butchers who, in the old days, had their own slaughterhouses, who did the killing behind their retail shops and then walked round to the front and sold the meat. My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Royle) was one of that type. Does the House think that my hon. Friend, who was slaughtering cattle as a boy, could do so today? Indeed not. Does the House think that I, who slaughtered cattle as a boy, could do so today? Indeed not. There has been an interval of twenty years since the days when the retail butcher killed his own cattle, and during that period all the slaughtermen have gone into the 600 abattoirs in this country.

Therefore, with the larger number of slaughterhouses permitted by the Government, we must, so to speak, keep qualified slaughtermen under lock and key in terms of the registration of apprentices and of the licensing of slaughtermen. This subsection is only permissive, which was as far as we could go. We are not optimistic enough to believe that we can persuade the Government immediately to legalise the licensing of slaughtering, but we license public hangmen so why should we not kill cattle as humanely as human beings are killed? I come from the town from which one of the public hangmen came. He lived at a "pub" called "Help the Poor Struggler", but we do not want that in slaughtering. I do not think that we can persuade the Government to go to the logical conclusion demanded by modern slaughtering methods in terms of the registration of apprentices and licensing slaughtermen—

Mr. George Craddock (Bradford, South)

Why not?

Mr. Winterbottom

If my hon. Friend had attended 26 sittings of the Committee on this Bill, as I have done, trying to persuade Members who have not the foggiest idea of slaughtering, or of the details of the trade, he would not ask the question, because he would know the answer.

We are nearing the end of the Bill. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary has been very considerate and gentle. Indeed, I do not understand how such a gentleman could pilot such a Bill through the House of Commons. This is the last chance that I shall have of saying to the Minister and his hon. Friends that unless they are prepared to accept some type of control by the Ministry as to who are to be apprentices and who are to be licensed to do the slaughtering, then I am afraid that with the increase in slaughterhouses which will be inevitable under the Bill, illicit slaughtering and inhumane killing of cattle will be intensified in the near future.

I say categorically that unless the Government accept the principle of the registration of apprentices and the licensing of slaughtermen, they will take to the ring hundreds of cattle to be inhumanely slaughtered, which is something they would not do to the worst criminal in the land.

6.45 p.m.

Mr. John Hare

We have had two different approaches to the Amendment, that of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), and that of the hon. Member for Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom). I am sure the hon. Member for Brightside does not want to give a false impression by suggesting that there is a large degree of incompetence among slaughtermen, because I am sure that if he gave that impression he would regret it.

Mr. Winterbottom

I am not trying to give the impression that there is a large degree of incompetence in slaughtering in post-war slaughterhouses. I am trying to say that there is a great deal of illicit slaughtering by people who have never been slaughtermen in many of the slaughterhouses which were opened under the 1954 Act.

Mr. Hare

It is very important that the hon. Gentleman should be very careful with the words he uses. If he has evidence of that sort, he should produce it. It is all very well to make allegations of that sort. Both sides of the House are determined to prevent inhumane slaughtering, and if there is evidence of the sort which the hon. Member has in mind it is his public duty to produce it.

Without suggesting that the hon. Gentleman necessarily disagreed with the right hon. Gentleman, I got the impression that the hon. Gentleman liked the idea of registration for registration's sake, whereas the right hon. Gentleman, if anything, had had a prejudice against registration and only after a great deal of thinking had been prepared to put his name to the Amendment, since, on principle, registration was not a practice which commended itself to him.

The right hon. Gentleman put his case more than reasonably. I am not very happy about what would happen if I accepted the Amendment, because I believe that I should be unnecessarily interfering in the industry. I take the view of my hon. Friend the Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan). The industry has already produced an apprenticeship scheme which is extremely good and which is operated under the auspices of the J.I.C. It might be as well for the industry to feel that that was the first instalment towards ultimately reaching voluntary registration of all slaughtermen. I hesitate to impose on the industry something which will not necessarily make slaughtering more humane. We will not necessarily make slaughtering more humane merely by making lists of people. If there is a doubt about the competency of some people, the industry might be prepared to say that additional training should be made available, but the mere compilation of registers will not produce any extra skill.

The industry might well be advised to come forward with its own registration scheme and my Ministry will certainly be ready to consider whether there is any administrative help which can be given in the preparation of a register by the industry itself, but I do not believe that this is fundamentally a job for the Government and I think that the right hon. Gentleman agrees with me. It is for that reason that I cannot accept the Amendment, although I very much appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman had in mind.

I do not want to lecture the hon. Member for Brightside, because he has great experience of the industry, but I was a little worried by some of the things he said. Do not let us for one second assume that local authorities are not doing their job. It is the local authorities who have to issue licences for slaughtermen and it is their job to be satisfied that men who apply for these jobs are the right and proper persons for them. If a local authority is not satisfied with the way a man is doing his job, it is the local authority's responsibility to take away his licence. Sweeping criticisms of the sort which the hon. Member made are severe criticisms of the way that local authorities are doing their job.

For reasons which I have made clear, that local authorities are doing a reasonable job, that there is scope for a voluntary registration scheme within the industry, which I should be delighted in any way to assist, and, finally, for the fundamental reason that if an industry can organise itself, it is very much better than having the Government do it, I must resist the Amendment.

Mr. Willey

We are obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, with much of which we agree, although he has not gone quite far enough. This is a matter on which we make progress by stages. The Slaughter of Animals Act, 1954, which was introduced by my hon. Friend

Division No. 100.] AYES [6.53 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Dye, S. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Kenyon, C.
Awbery, S. S. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Bacon, Miss Alice Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Lawson, G. M.
Balfour, A. Fernyhough, E. Ledger, R. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Fletcher, Eric Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Foot, D. M. Lee, Miss Jennie (Canno[...]k)
Benson, Sir George Forman, J. C. Lindgren, G. S.
Blackburn, F. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Logan, D. G.
Boardman, H. G[...]bson, C. W. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. G. McAlister, Mrs. Mary
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.) Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. MacColl, J. E.
Boyd, T. C. Grey, C. F. MacDermot, Niall
Braddook, Mrs. Elizabeth Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) McGhee, H. G.
Brockway, A. F. Griffiths, William (Exchange) McGovern, J.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) McInnes, J.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hamilton, W. W. McKay, John (Wa[...]lsend)
Burke, W. A. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) McLeavy, Frank
Burton, Miss F. E. Hastings, S. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Is[...]es)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hay man, F. H. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Callaghan, L. J. Healey, Denis Mahon, Simon
Carmichael, J. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Champion, A. J. Holman, P. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Chapman, W. D. Holmes, Horace Mason, Roy
Chetwynd, G. R. Hough ton, Douglas Mellish, R. J.
Clunie, J. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Messer, Sir F.
Coldrick, W. Hoy, J. H. Mitchison, G. R.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Monslow, W.
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Hunter, A. E. Moody, A. S.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hynd, H. (Accrington) Morris, Peroy (Swansea, W.)
Cove, W. G. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Mort, D. L.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Janner, B. Moss, R.
Crossman, R. H. S. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Moyle, A.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Jeger, George (Goole) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St. Pn[...]s. S.) Oram, A. E.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Johnson, James (Rugby) Orbach, M.
Delargy, H. J. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Oswald, T.
Diamond, John Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Owen, W. J.

the Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Moyle), carried us so far forward and gave the Government power to license slaughtermen and to prescribe qualifications. We now have general agreement within the industry that further qualifications should be prescribed—and I agree that it is better to have the agreement within the industry.

However, I should have thought that my right hon. Friend had made his case, that in those circumstances registration would have helped, and that it was quite unrealistic to expect such a step from the industry. I agree at once that the apprenticeship scheme has been very successful, but we cannot expect from the industry the steps which the right hon. Gentleman expects. The Government should take the initiative and see that the Minister has power to provide for such a register. On these grounds, we must press our Amendment.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes 184, Noes 227.

Padley, W. E. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Viant, S. P.
Paget, R. T. Rogers, George (Kensington, N.) We[...]tzman, D.
Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Ross, William Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. West, D. G.
Pargiter, G. A. Short, E. W. Wheeldon, W. E.
Parker, J. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Parkin, B. T. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Paton, John Sparks, J. A. Willey, Frederick
Pearson, A. Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Williams, David (Neath)
Peart, T. F. Storehouse, John Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Pentland, N. Stones, W. (Consett) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Popplewell, E. Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Prentice, R. E. Sylvester, G. O. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Price, J. T. (Westhough[...]on) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Winterbottom, Richard
Probert, A. R. Taylor, John (West Lothian) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Proctor, W. T. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Woof, R. E.
Rankin, John Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Redhead, E. C. Thornton, E. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Reeves, J. Tomney, F. Zilliacus, K.
Reid, William Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Usborne, H. C. Mr. Deer and Mr. Simmons.
Agnew, sir Peter Erroll, F. J. Kerby, Capt. H. B.
Ai[...]ken, W. T. Farey-Jones, F. W. Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Finlay, Graeme Kershaw, J. A.
Alport, C. J. M. Fisher, Nigel Kimball, M.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Langford-Holt, J. A.
Anstru[...]her-Gray, Major Sir William Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Leavey, J. A.
Arbuthnot, John Freeth, Denzil Leburn, W. G.
Atkins, H. E. Galbraith. Hon. T. G. D. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Gammans, Lady Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Baldwin, A. E. Garne[...] Evans, E. H. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Ba[...]niel, Lord George, J. C. (Pollok) Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)
Barber, Anthony Glover, D. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Barlow, Sir John Glyn, Col. Richard H. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Barter, John Godber, J. B. Llewellyn, D. T.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Goodhart, Philip Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Gower, H. R. Longden, Gilbert
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Graham, Sir Fergus Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Grant, W. (Woodside) Luoas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bidgood, J. C. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Green, A. McAdden, S. J.
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Gresham Cooke, R. Macdonald, Sir Peter
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Grimond, J. McKibbin, Alan
Bishop, F. P. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Body, R. F. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Bonham Carter, Mark Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Gurden, Harold McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hall, John (Wycombe) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Braine, B. R. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maddan, Martin
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Harris, Reader (Heston) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Markham, Major Sir Frank
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Marlowe, A. A. H.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Marshall, Douglas
Campbell, Sir David Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Mathew, R.
Carr, Robert Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Mawby, R. L.
Cary, Sir Robert Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.
Channon, Sir Henry Hesketh, R. F. Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Moore, Sir Thomas
Cooke, Robert Hirst, Geoffrey Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Holland-Martin, C. J. Nabarro, G. D. N.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hornby, R. P. Nairn, D. L. S.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Neave, Airey
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Nicholls, Harmar
Currie, G. B. H. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)
Dance, J. C. G. Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Davidson, Viscountess Hulbert, Sir Norman Nugent, G. R. H.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hurd, A. R. Oakshott, H. D.
Deedes, W. F. Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.) O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. A[...]trim, N.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E-b'gh, W.) Osborne, C.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Page, R. G.
Doughty, C. J. A. Iremonger, T. L. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
du Cann, E. D. L. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Partridge, E.
Duncan, Sir James Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Peel, W. J.
Duthie, W. S. Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Peyton, J. W. W.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pi[...]kthorn, K. W. M.
Elliott, R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne. N.) Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Pike, Miss Mervyn
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Pitman, I. J. Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Vickers, Miss Joan
Pitt, Miss E. M. Spearman, Sir Alexander Wade, D. W.
Powell, J. Enoch Spe[...]r, R. M, Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.) Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Ramsden, J. E. Stevens, Geoffrey Wall, Patrick
Rawlinson, Peter Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.) Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Redmayne, M. Storey, S. Webbe, Sir H.
Remnant, Hon. P. Studholme, Sir Henry Whitelaw, V. S. I.
Renton, D. L. M. Summers, sir Spencer Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Robertson, Sir David Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Robinton, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Teeling, W. Woollam, John Victor
Rodgers, John (Seven[...]aks) Temple, John M. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Roper, Sir Harold Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Mr. Bryan and Mr. Gibson-Watt.
Sharples, R. C. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Vane, W. M. F.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. John Hare

I beg to move, in page 12, to leave out lines 27 and 28, and to insert: (3) Before making any regulations under section two of the Act of 1954 the Minister shall consult with such organisations as appear to him to represent the interests concerned; and, without prejudice to any other power with respect thereto, any such regulations. I think that this is the time when I can do something constructive to please the Opposition. As the House will remember, when we debated the Bill last week I said that I would move an Amendment of this sort at a later stage to remove what is really an anomaly. Under the 1955 Act, Ministers are required specifically to consult those concerned before they make regulations concerning hygiene in slaughterhouses, but, while that is laid down in the 1955 Act, there is no similar requirement in the 1954 Act in relation to regulations to prevent cruelty. I am,