HC Deb 22 June 1961 vol 642 cc1671-2
31. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of recent cases of the killing and maiming of horses by gangs of youths, he will introduce legislation to increase the penalties for such offences.

Mr. Vosper

The maximum penalty for an offence against the Protection of Animals Act, 1911, is a fine of £50 or imprisonment for three months or both. My right hon. Friend has no reason to think that this is not adequate.

Mr. Henderson

Is the Minister aware that according to Press reports ten horses have been killed or so badly injured—mostly by gangs of youths—that they had to be destroyed, during the past six months? Is not this a deplorable state of affairs, and cannot some action be taken about it?

Mr. Vosper

I have seen these Press reports but it seems that the authorities have not been able to prosecute so far, and my right hon. Friend cannot comment on that state of affairs.

Mr. E. Johnson

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that many people think that the penalties involved are grossly inadequate, and that these are the sort of cases where corporal punishment might be given with advantage?

Mr. Vosper

I note what my hon. Friend says.