HC Deb 11 May 1966 vol 728 cc371-2
1. Dame Joan Vickers

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will take steps, by legislation or otherwise, to ensure that animals and birds transported by British aircraft are adequately protected so as to ensure their safe arrival in the United Kingdom.

5. Mr. Burden

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will introduce legislation to prevent unnecessary suffering being caused to birds imported into this country by air.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. Julian Snow)

This is a problem that can most satisfactorily be resolved on an international basis and the International Air Transport Association has set up a study group to examine it. My Department will keep in touch with the Association, but in the meantime, bearing in mind the good practice and record of British operators, I do not propose to introduce legislation.

Dame Joan Vickers

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply and also congratulate him on his first appearance in his new appointment.

Would the hon. Gentleman consider trying to get a standard carrier, as is done for carrier pigeons, to suit the animals or birds concerned in order to be certain that they have enough room during the journey?

Mr. Snow

That sounds good sense to me. I will refer this matter to the Association, but I think the problem really starts at the consignor end; but we will take advice and give our views to the Association.

Mr. Burden

Will the Parliamentary Secretary not agree that although most of these animals which suffer death and deplorable conditions of carriage are conveyed in foreign aircraft and our own operators have a very good record in this respect, it causes considerable unrest among many people in this country when it is disclosed that animals and birds which have been consigned to this country have been suffering en route? Will the hon. Gentleman, therefore, make the strongest possible representations to the Association?

Mr. Snow

Yes, Sir.

Mr. G. Campbell

Will the British Government take an initiative in promoting an international convention in view of the regrettable incidents that occur from time to time?

Mr. Snow

The Association has already got this matter under consideration. When we examine the Association's views we will give it our views as well. We accept that there is a matter to be dealt with here.