HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc922-3
43. Mr. James Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement regarding the extent of imports into the United Kingdom of furs and skins of the jaguar, leopard, cheetah and ocelot; and whether he will now introduce a Bill banning their import, on the lines of the Endangered Species Bill of the United States of America, a copy of which has been sent to him.

Mr. Anthony Grant

The official statistics do not show separately imports of furs and skins of the particular species mentioned. As my right hon. Friend informed the hon. Member for Islington, North (Mr. O'Halloran) on 14th June, he will consider the practicability of controlling imports of furs and skins of certain rare animals as soon as he has the necessary technical information. Powers to restrict or ban imports are available under existing legislation.—[Vol. 819, c. 3–4.]

Mr. Johnson

Is the Minister aware that the extensive and vicious commercial poaching that is going on in East Africa, South America and Asia—poaching that is encouraged by the wealthy ladies of leisure in London, who wear these skins on their backs—is connived at by Her Majesty's Government, who will not pass legislation? Will not he attempt to get us in line with the Americans, who are doing something in this field?

Mr. Grant

The hon. Member is a little unfair to Her Majesty's Government. I banned the import of vicuna, which I think was a wise decision. We are wholly sympathetic to the needs to conserve species which are in danger of dying out. We have had meetings and have considered the representations of the British Fur Trade Association. We are sympathetic to what it does, and at the moment we are awaiting further technical information from it.