HC Deb 23 October 1961 vol 646 cc550-1
30. Sir B. Janner

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he is aware that there is no law which ensures the punishment of persons who have exported animals under such conditions that they can be eaten in transport by maggots and suffer other forms of ill-treatment; and if he will seek international agreement to remedy the position.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Joseph Godber)

The 1911 Protection of Animals Act provides certain safeguards in so far as British nationals and British ships are concerned. In the international field, the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe last month adopted a recommendation advocating the drafting of a Convention on the International Transit of Animals. Her Majesty's Government are now considering their attitude to this recommendation.

Sir B. Janner

While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask him whether, in view of the horrible conditions in which tortoises reached a port in this country some time ago, and in view of the fact that over 1,000 of the 2,000 were either dying or dead, he would expedite the bringing into effect of a convention, and will the Government see to it that they will ratify a convention of that nature?

Mr. Godber

I agree with the hon. Member about the distressing nature of the incident to which he has referred, and, of course, Her Majesty's Government would welcome any way in which we can improve these matters. The difficulty, and it is very difficult in certain cases, is to get a universal standard for enforcing regulations. This is one of the problems we have to consider in relation to this convention.

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