HC Deb 20 January 1965 vol 705 cc179-80
20. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Transport if he will introduce new regulations to control the movement of circus animals by road.

Mr. Swingler

Under the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations, 1963, it is an offence to use a vehicle for a purpose for which it is unsuitable or to carry a load which causes danger. Under the Protection of Animals Act, 1911, it is an offence to carry animals in such a manner as to cause them unnecessary suffering. We see therefore no need for new regulations.

Mr. Rankin

Is my hon. Friend aware that just prior to Christmas five elephants on their way to Glasgow via the M6 were packed into one vehicle? Does he not realise that five elephants in one vehicle is a scandal? It led to serious trouble among the animals and also created danger for other road users. Will he look into the situation more closely, if he can?

Mr. Swingler

I have seen a Press cutting giving details of the case to which my hon. Friend refers. I appreciate my hon. Friend's interest in animal welfare. I can only say that this is a matter for the Home Office and the police. Under the Protection of Animals Act the law is quite clear on the subject. This is a matter for police action.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

In view of the hon. Gentleman's reply in which he said there was a need to remove suffering in this matter, may I ask how many Govern- ment cars are on the road and what has been the increase since October 1964?

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not think that it arises.