HL Deb 30 July 1912 vol 12 cc765-7

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Saye and Sele.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 8 agreed to.

Clause 9:

Inspection of Traps.

9. Any person who sets, or causes or procures to be set, any spring trap, or any snare, for the purpose of catching any hare or rabbit, or which is so placed as to be likely to catch any hare or rabbit, shall inspect, or cause some competent person to inspect, the trap or snare at least once every day between sunrise and sunset, and, if any person shall fail to comply with the provisions of this section, he shall be liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding five pounds.


I should like to ask the noble Lord in charge of this Bill what the object is of the particular words in this clause which oblige the individual responsible for the setting of a trap to have it inspected "between sunrise and sunset." I am not an advocate for spring traps. I would like to see them abolished altogether if it were possible, but I know it is not possible. I cordially agree that they ought to be inspected regularly, and where they are used in any place with which I have to deal they are inspected regularly. But why is it to be done "between sunrise and sunset"? So far as Scotland is concerned, I believe that to be an idiotic provision. In Scotland the winter days are very short. The sun does not rise till eight o'clock in the morning, and it sets between three and four o'clock in the afternoon. The regular practice on well-ordered estates where traps are set for rabbits is to inspect them twice in the twenty-four hours—between sunset and sunrise. The humane thing is to inspect traps at night and early in the morning before sunrise. But what you are going to do by this Bill is to oblige the unfortunate animal which is caught in the trap to stay there for a longer period alive than it would otherwise do. Of all the idiotic provisions I have ever seen, I think this is one of the worst.


In the English Act of last year the wording was that the traps should be inspected "at reasonable intervals of time and at least once every day between sunrise and sunset." The words "at reasonable intervals of time" were taken out of this Bill by the Committee for Scottish Bills in another place. So far as I know they gave no reason for striking those words out.


I think the noble Lord ought to be able to give a reason. He is responsible for the Bill here. It was read a second time only yesterday, and I was surprised to see it down for Committee to-day. I came to the House intending to give notice to move in Committee to omit the words "between sunrise and sunset," but I was unable to give notice because the Committee stage was down for to-day. If the noble Lord will now accept an Amendment to leave out these words I will move it. Certainly if the provision remains as it stands you will do serious injury to the ordinary practice. The traps for which my servants are responsible are inspected twice a day, but on both occasions, as I have said, between sunset and sunrise. If this Bill passes as it stands that practice will have to be stopped, because it will not be in accordance with the law. Yet I am doing at the present moment a much more humane thing in the interests of the unfortunate animals which are caught in these traps than would be the case if this Bill passed in its present form. To put the matter in order, I move to omit the words "between sunrise and sunset."

Amendment moved— Clause 9, page 6, line 9, omit ("between sunrise and sunset")—(Lord Balfour of Burleigh.)


I accept the noble Lord's Amendment.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 9, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

The Report of Amendment to be received To-morrow, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 135.)