§ Mr. Hardy
I beg to move Amendment No. 2 in page 1, page 22, after 'person'. insert 'without reasonable excuse'.
This is a slightly more important amendment, since it seeks to add the words "without reasonable excuse" to Clause 2. No one wishes to drive innocent parties before the courts. Nor does one wish to see penalties imposed as a result of accidental action. However, penalties should be imposed under this clause as a result of mischievous action and although that would be possible, even without the three additional proposed words, I hope that the House will agree that this is a sensible suggestion.
An equally reasonable amendment will be proposed in respect of Clause 6 which is linked to the amendment now under consideration. I think the Bill will be better for the addition of these words
§ Amendment agreed to.847
§ Mr. Hardy
I beg to move Amendment No. 3, in page 1, line 23, leave out 'protected wild creature' and insert:'creature of a species specified in Schedule 1 to this Act, whether or not found living wild'.The House will perceive the necessity for this amendment, which is designed to deal with what would otherwise be a loophole. Without the amendment any creature taken into possession could be described as no longer wild, which might provide an irresponsible person with an excuse. This is a wise tightening-up arrangement. It clarifies the position where clarity is required. It prevents a possible abuse and threat to a number of species named in the schedules and to those which may be inserted once the Bill is enacted.
§ Mr. Carol Mather (Esher)
Will this amendment cover breeding in captivity and the possible sale of creatures bred in captivity? What will be the position of those creatures already in captivity and which are being bred for commercial purposes?
§ Mr. Hardy
I do not think that the amendment presents any difficulty as regards those activities. Clause 8 gives the Nature Conservancy Council considerable power to license activity of a wholesome nature. I would have thought that the power to license, which is possessed by the Nature Conservancy Council, would adequately cover that point. The difficulty is that many of the species involved are not readily reared or bred in captivity. It seems that those people who deal in these species rely heavily upon the purchase of creatures which are found in the wild. The provisions in Clause 2 are essential to prevent that threat to certain species. At the same time I think that a reasonable excuse would provide an adequate defence for responsible people engaged in wholesome activity of the kind about which the hon. Gentleman is concerned.
§ Amendment agreed to.