HC Deb 03 February 1977 vol 925 cc719-20
2. Mr. Newton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received about the laws on animal welfare.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Dr. Shirley Summer-skill)

My right hon. Friend regularly receives representations about all aspects of cruelty to animals and animal welfare.

Mr. Newton

Does the Minister agree that there is a high and probably rising degree of public concern about this matter, which the standard Home Office replies fall far short of allaying? What progress is being made on the proposals that were brought forward on this matter last year by the group led by Lord Houghton?

Dr. Summerskill

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the proposals put forward by Lord Houghton are being carefully considered. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has already had one meeting with Lord Houghton. I have had a meeting with him, and we are to have a third meeting with his group in the near future. We are considering revision of the annual returns in order to make more information available to the public. We are also considering the exact constitution of the advisory committee.

Mr. Lipton

When considering animal welfare, will the hon. Lady bear in mind that some of us would like to see a hare coursing Bill on the statute book at some time this Session?

Dr. Summerskill

As I was involved in trying to get such a Bill through last Session, but was unsuccessful, I naturally agree with my hon. Friend.