HL Deb 16 July 1928 vol 71 cc1033-51

Read 3a(according to Order).

Clause 2:

Delivery of stray (dogs to police.

2. Section four of the principal Act shall be repealed, and the following section shall be substituted therefor:—

"4.—(1) Any person (in this section referred to as 'the finder') who takes possession of a stray dog shall forthwith either—

  1. "(a) return the dog to its owner; or
  2. "(b) take the dog to the police station which is nearest to the place where the dog was found and inform the police officer in charge of that station where the dog was found.

"(2) Where a dog has been so taken to a police station then—

  1. "(a) if the finder desires to keep the dog he shall inform the said police officer of his name and address, and the said police officer shall make out in duplicate a certificate in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State stating the description of the dog, the place where it was found, the date on which it was brought to the police station, the name and address of the finder, and shall give one copy of the certificate to the finder and retain the other, and thereupon the finder may remove the dog, but shall be under an obligation to keep it for not less than one month;
  2. "(b) if the finder does not desire to keep the dog the said police officer shall treat it as if it had been seized by him in pursuance of section three of this Act.

"(3) If the finder fails to comply with any of the provisions of this section he shall be liable on summary conviction to fine not exceeding forty "shillings."

LORD BANBURY OF SOUTHAM moved to leave out Clause 2. The noble Lord said: Under the Act of 1906 Clauses 3 and 4 must be read together. Clause 4 is the clause which under this Bill it is proposed to leave out and to substitute for it another clause, which I propose to leave out, thus leaving the law in exactly the same position as it is now. Clause 4 of the Act of 1906 says that:— Any person who takes possession of a stray dog shall forthwith either return the dog to its owner or give notice in writing to the chief officer of police of the district where the dog was found.

Clause 3, which must be read in conjunction with it, says:— Where a police officer has reason to believe that any dog found in a highway or place of public resort is a stray dog, he may seize the dog and may detain it until the owner has claimed it and paid all expenses incurred by reason of its detention.

And subsection (5) says:— No dog so seized shall be given or sold for the purposes of vivisection. That is the law as it stands now.

In February of this year a Bill was introduced in another place, the chief object of which was to make owners of dogs liable for injury to poultry. To that I have no objection. It then went on to repeal Section 4 of the principal Act, which I have just read, and to substitute this: Any person who takes possession of a stray dog shall forthwith either return the dog to its owner or deliver the dog to a police officer of the police area in which the dog was found, and inform that officer where the dog was found.

Then the clause said that if any person failed to comply with the provisions of the foregoing subsection he should be liable to a fine; and it further said:— A dog which has been delivered to a police officer under this section shall be treated as if it had been seized by that officer in pursuance of Section three of this Act.

That is to say, that if any dog was seized by a police officer it should be treated in pursuance of the Act of 1906, with the result that no stray dog or lost dog which is taken to the police would be used for the purposes of vivisection.

That was the Bill as introduced in the House of Commons, as it passed the Second Reading in the House of Commons, and as it passed the Committee stage in the House of Commons. Then on Friday, June 15, on the Report stage, an Amendment was moved to leave out that clause, and to put in another one, and the other one is in the Bill which is before your Lordships. The effect of this is that the protection which exists at the present moment against the use for vivisection purposes of a stray or lost dog which some person finds is done away with. I do not believe that when this clause was put in on the Report stage in the House of Commons anybody—certainly not the promoters of the Bill—fully realised what they were doing. I myself did not realise it. I did not realise it when I read the Bill here, and I did not realise it until my noble friend Lord Bertie of Thame put down an Amendment. I then thought, having had certain experience of Acts of Parliament, that the best thing I could do was to look up all the Acts relating to it, and I found that the result is, as I say, that the protection which exists at the present moment is done away with. If any of your Lordships loses a dog there is nothing whatever to prevent the person finding it from selling to anybody who wants to buy it for the purposes of vivisection. As the law stands any person finding this dog has to give notice to the police, and the police are not allowed to sell it to anyone who will use it for the purposes of vivisection.

Under the clause which I propose to leave out there are two alternatives. A person who finds a stray dog has to take it to the police station. If he is a person who is fond of animals, and feels that, if it was his own dog, he would like somebody to assist in finding out the owner, he takes the dog to the police station. That class of person in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred does not want to keep the dog. Therefore the police take possession of it, and they cannot sell it for the purposes of vivisection. But supposing a person finds it whose object it is to look for stray or lost dogs in order to make money out of them, by keeping them for a month and then selling them for the purposes of vivisection: what is to prevent him? We will suppose that he is perfectly honest and takes the dog to the police station. The police inspector says: "Do you wish to leave the dog? If so, we will take care of it; if not, under the new law you have the right to keep it for a month, and at the end of the month you can do what you like with it." The man, thinking that he can make a good thing out of it by selling it to places where vivisection is practised, says: "I will keep the dog." But supposing he is not a very scrupulous person, and that he finds a dog with a collar on it, and before taking it to the police station removes that collar, and throws it away. Then the identification of the dog is, to a certain extent, lost and the profit that the man is going to make is pretty sure. Knowing human nature, and bearing in mind a case that occurred not very long ago when two dogs were found in a sack, and another case in which a dog had been taken off the doorstep of its owner, and they were all found at an institution where vivisection was carried on, I venture to say it is pretty certain that under this alteration of the law there will be people who will take advantage of it for the purposes which I have suggested.

I would prefer, if your Lordships leave out Clause 2, that the clause which was in the Bill when it was introduced, when it passed its Second Reading and when it passed through Committee, should be reinserted. But I do not wish to insist upon that if your Lordships will only leave out Clause 2. It may be said: "If that is done it means that the Bill has to go back to another place and possibly will be lost." We are here as a revising chamber. If every time a Bill is brought before us and we feel that something ought to be done in regard to it, we are to be told: "You cannot do it because the Bill may be lost in another place," we may just as well not come here at all. Therefore I do not think that argument is of any use.

I would point out that we are now nearing the end of the Session. In my time in the House of Commons, and I imagine the same thing takes place now, a fortnight or three weeks before the end of the Session—my noble friend Lord Ullswater will bear me out, I think—it was always the habit of the Government to suspend the eleven o'clock rule, with the result that somewhere about two or three o'clock in the morning members were often rather sleepy and were more inclined to go to bed than to do anything else. If the Government suspend the eleven o'clock rule for the remainder of this Session and if they put a star against this Bill—it is a Private Member's Bill and I do not much like starring Private Members' Bills though it has been done in the case of a Bill of my own—all that would happen would be that somewhere about three in the morning a proposal would be made to agree with the Lords in the said Amendment and it would go through without any objection or, perhaps, members would have to stay up another quarter of an hour or twenty minutes, and when it is a fine summer morning that does no one any harm. I hope your Lordships will support me, because this is an insidious attempt to do what has been attempted in an outspoken manner for some time and has failed—that is, to obtain all stray or lost dogs for the purposes of vivisection. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 18, leave out Clause 2.—(Lord Banbury of Southam.)


My Lords, as my noble friend Lord Banbury has told your Lordships, I had an Amendment on the Paper on the Committee stage with the object of protecting these dogs against vivisection. My noble friend Lord Stradbroke did me the courtesy of giving me an interview at which I was confronted by the noble Earl himself, the noble Earl in charge of the Bill and three Government officials. They persuaded me not to proceed with my Amendment, quite legitimately, on the ground that my Amendment was impracticable. I think that the only way of protecting these dogs is the way in which Lord Banbury proposes to protect them, and I hope your Lordships will accept his Amendment.


My Lords, in moving this Amendment, my noble friend Lord Banbury is hoping to make it less easy for dogs to be used for vivisection. I think it would be as well if I explained to your Lordships how the law stands at the moment. Under the Dogs Act, 1906, the finder of a dog is under the obligation either of returning it to the owner or of writing to the police telling them where he found the dog and giving them a description of the dog he has found. There is no obligation on the finder to take the dog to the police and the police have no power to make the finder take the dog to them. If he allows a reasonable time to elapse there is nothing to prevent him using or selling that dog for purposes of vivisection.


I do not want to interrupt my noble friend, but I do not admit that. I have the Act before me and I read the section to your Lordships. It is quite clear that if the police have reason to believe that any dog found in a highway or place of public resort is a stray dog, they may seize the dog and detain it.


I am informed that the Act of 1906 refers to the fact that the police may seize a dog if they find it in the highway but that has no effect on any other person finding the dog. It has been felt that that has left the door very wide open indeed for dishonest persons who wish to steal dogs. They have merely to send an entirely inaccurate report to the police, saying that they have found a dog of a different type to that which they have actually found and in a different place and no one would then be able to trace his dog and get hold of it again. As the noble Lord has pointed out, when this Bill came up in another place there was a provision which followed one of the Defence of the Realm Regulations saying that a person finding a dog should either return it to its owner or take it forthwith to the police. Certain societies interested in dogs objected to this because they said that a person finding a dog might become very fond of it and want to keep it as his own. Therefore, the clause which is now before your Lordships was introduced on behalf of those societies to enable a person taking the dog to the police to be allowed to keep it as his own if he so desires. It is obviously impossible that a person should keep this dog under a different form of ownership to that of any other dog. I am glad that the noble Viscount, Lord Bertie, acquitted the noble Earl and myself of any attempt at third degree methods when he came to the Ministry of Agriculture.

If my noble friend Lord Banbury looks at the section he will find, as I have said, that it is easy under the old law for a person who wants to steal a dog to do so. He has only to give an inaccurate report to the police about the dog and where he found it, and he can keep the dog and the owner will not be able to trace it. Under the proposed clause he has to take the dog to the police station or return the dog to its owner. The owner, therefore, has a very much better chance of getting his dog again. I do not ask your Lordships to resist this Amendment in any spirit of opposition or because it would make it more difficult for the Bill to be passed in another place, but because I feel that the clause in the Bill is in favour of dogs. It confers an enormous benefit upon dogs in this country, and I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will resist the noble Lord's Amendment and confer that benefit upon the dogs.


My Lords, I would venture to submit that we have to consider two varieties of dogs. One is the owned dog. Is there a member of your Lordships' House who would not take any precaution necessary to preserve the owned dog to its owner? Then there is the stray dog—the poor creature that wanders about eking out such a living as it can find, uncared for, a misery to itself and a danger to the community. The extent to which that is a problem may be shown by the fact that each year something like 30,000 stray dogs are destroyed in London alone. Is it not obvious, if there is the same provision for both varieties of dogs, that the owned dog will suffer? If you put an embargo on the use of the stray dog for experimental purposes, do you not correspondingly endanger the owned dog?

This Bill seems to me to provide well for that contingency. Its provisions are such as will help in the identification of the owned dog and will diminish the chances of mishap. Therefore, it deserves the support of your Lordships' House. It is clear that the object of the noble Lord, Lord Banbury, and the same is true of the noble Viscount, Lord Bertie of Thame, is not only the protection of the owned dog, but to make this an opportunity for a flank attack on the use of dogs for experimentation. I will take his challenge, for it is clear enough, that the question of experimentation on animals stands or falls by the use or not of dogs. Whichever way you approach this question of experimentation on dogs, surround it by as much misrepresentation of fact as you will—and there is no subject I know of which is more misrepresented than this—whichever way you approach it, you always arrive, it seems to me, at two aspects of the question. The first one is this: Do material advantages accrue to mankind from experimentation on dogs and experimentation on animals in general? The second question is a different one, and that is: Whatever those advantages may be, is it ethically justifiable that mankind should take advantage of them?

The first of those questions as to whether material advantages do accrue to mankind is surely a question for those people with skilled knowledge. There is no one else who can give the answer. Supposing, for example, you are building a bridge across a river. You may decide the policy as to whether the bridge should be built or not, but whether that bridge is to be built of chrome steel or manganese steel, or what the distribution of the stresses should be you leave to the engineers. I would venture to submit to your Lordships that the problems of the engineer are nothing compared with the problems which arise in connection with the body and mind of man. I am not going to trouble your Lordships at this stage of the evening with evidence as to whether man does gain advantages from experiment or not, but there is this remarkable fact. We are accustomed to find experts differing, and differing materially, but on this question of experimentation on dogs there is such a consensus of opinion amongst the medical men of the civilised world—the civilised world, I would have the noble Lord remember—that it amounts to a practical unanimity.

We have recently had a conference representing every aspect of medicine and surgery and of the sciences on which medicine and surgery rest. A more representative conference there could not be, and that conference says this to the British nation, that without experimentation on animals medicine and surgery cannot carry on. I do not mean that they would not do their best; but intellectually we should come to stagnation. I will put it to your Lordships in another way. Supposing I were asked to find a staff for a hospital of, say, 200 beds in this City, and I had to find surgeons and physicians, of sufficient standing on the one hand and who would embrace the principles that the noble Lord advocates on the other, I could not find that staff. Such a staff does not exist. That will indicate to your Lordships to what extent unanimity exists amongst members of the medical profession on this question.

I now come to another aspect of the matter and that is the ethical aspect of it. To my mind the only honest opponents are those who approach this question from the ethical standpoint. I have in mind the man who says: "Whatever the advantages that accrue to mankind it is ethically unjustifiable that you should make use of them." I respect that man. I respect him provided that he does not himself make use of those remedies in his time of trouble. I maintain that it is a question for the public. We invite the public to answer that question. It is for them to say "Yes" or "No," and if they say "Yes" by all means let us have the legislation which shall make all these things illegal. That at any rate would be a logical and straightforward course. If, on the other hand, the answer is "No; we do not wish to stop these things," then I say for Heaven's sake leave us alone to go on with our work and do not harass us day by day and year by year. I have admitted that the question as to whether it is ethically justifiable to make use of experiments on animals should be decided by the public, and I say that what is true of the dog is true of other animals. We tell you, with a real sense of responsibility, that we cannot do without dogs—that we cannot substitute other animals in every case. Our universal rule is this, that we never use an animal higher in the scale of creation than is absolutely necessary. We use the lowest animal possible, compatible with doing our best and getting successful results.

That question therefore is a question for the public. By all means let them decide the question: "Is it ethically justifiable?" But in order that they may be in a position to answer this question, I think it would be of some profit if I were to try to clear away a few misconceptions. I will take the question of pain. Is it likely that those of us whose upbringing has been in association with pain are going to do anything which would needlessly increase pain when our careers are spent in assuaging it? We are not likely to be less sensitive than the noble Lord opposite on the question of inflicting pain. On the contrary, we know more about it and we know what it means. Therefore upon any question of the indifference of my profession to pain I will not waste your Lordship's time by dwelling. When I come to this question of pain I would point out that the majority of cases of experiment are carried out on anæsthetised animals. As to the 30,000 animals which are anæsthetised every year all we ask is that they shall be made use of not only for the benefit of mankind but for themselves. It must be borne in mind that the majority of experiments on animals are carried out under anæsthesia, and the dogs and other animals are completely ignorant of what is going on.

I will go further. I will admit that there is a minority of cases where animals are given diseases in order to aid in the diagnosis of disease in man. I will further admit that there are what we call survival experiments. I would like to dwell for a moment on the question of survival experiments. I would like to bring before your Lordships exactly what survival experiment means. An example will serve my purpose best. A great part of the treatment of gastrointestinal disease in modern times depends upon experiments on animals. We will suppose a man is going to be short-circuited for duodenal ulcer. You may take his pain and distress and divide it into three parts. There is first the stage of anticipation. There is that stage when he has to make up his mind to face the risks to himself and his family, and when he says to himself: "What is going to happen to me in my profession?" All these anxieties of mind far exceed distress of body. Man has to go through all that, not the animal. The animal has no such power of anticipation. Now I come to the second stage, that is the stage of the actual operation of short-circuiting. There the man and the animal are on a par. They are both under anæsthesia and both feel nothing. I come to the third stage, the stage which in some respects is most distressing, that trying process of building up your health after your illness, the time of shock, of convalescence. Now contrast man and animal there. The man may be weeks and months before he is well. In the case of the animal what happens? You may have an operation on a dog for short-circuiting and the same or next day it will be playing about with its owner. In the case of an operation on a monkey I have myself seen the animal within twenty-four hours sitting on his perch eating a banana. That horrible process of getting well, of recovering is unknown to the animal.

The fact is it is a slavery of terms. If you read in the papers that one of your Lordships had been vivisected and that his appendix had been removed you would be distressed and horrified, but if you read that he had been operated upon you would think nothing of it. There is no difference between the one and the other. What has happened to the animal has happened to the man, but what happens to the man is infinitely greater, tenfold or a hundredfold greater, than what happens to the animal. I think it is necessary to understand what the implication would be if a measure for suppressing experimentation on animals were passed. It would affect the whole range of medicine: the diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract, typhoid, lockjaw—I could go on with a list which would occupy too much of your Lordships' time on an afternoon like this. Much of what we know about gall stones dogs have told us. Take jaundice, including the malignant jaundice of dogs. Whereas at one time a dog stricken with malignant jaundice nearly always died, since the discovery of Trypan Blue the majority of dogs stricken with this disease are saved. In the investigation of disease that animal has to be used which the particular problem requires. For instance, for the investigation of infantile paralysis the monkey is the only animal which it is of use to employ. Then take tetanus. In the War we had more experience than we wanted of that terrible disease. I would not wish anybody should witness what that disease means.

Now, to be as brief as I can, I think it is important for people to know the consequences of removing from medicine all these results based on experimentation on animals. They have only to be understood by the public and I have no doubt what the public would say. The propagandists against vivisection are not themselves subject to their own gospel. If a propagandist against vivisection is stricken with any of these diseases he gives an implicit, if not an explicit, consent to vivisection. If those who are against all experimentation on animals are in their own persons or in their own families afflicted with disease, do your Lordships suppose for one moment that they do not adopt the remedies which are based on experimentation? I can assure you that with few exceptions they do adopt them; and is it to be wondered at? Imagine love and life in the balance, the crisis of anxious illness. At such a time the theories of the comfortable armchair give place to more commonsense and reasonable ideas.

Nor would I be hard on their inconsistencies. After all, one does not expect human beings to be consistent. Life would be a drab and dreary business if we always were consistent. If the uses of new drugs cannot be worked out on animals, the alternative is to work them out on human beings. Perhaps the noble Lord will form a band of people of conscientious convictions who will allow us to work out new drugs on them? When it comes to working out new drugs like pituitrin, adrenalin, and digitalin, the question is whether it is better to work them out on animals before we transfer their use to human beings. I would not say anything against consistency if in the hour of trouble the philosophy of anti-vivisection broke down. I would think humanly of that, but what I think surpasses the limits of tolerance is that these people can get these remedies when they like and yet they are constantly disturbing the minds of unknowing and innocent people in our hospitals in order to prevent these remedies reaching them.

What happens? All hospitals in this country are up against the difficulty of getting funds at the present time. They make an appeal in their distress, and then along come these fanatical people. They put advertisements in the daily Press, they inveigh against the hospital, they send letters to the subscribers and they do their best to spoil the appeal for funds. They appeal to the ignorant and the unknowing by misrepresentations which may be called gross and by that means diminish the flow of charitable funds. Yet let one of these propagandists himself be ill and all he has to do is to go to a private doctor and not suffer at all. You may take it that that is the usual rule.

It may be asked whether an example can be given. We had the terrors of lockjaw in the War, when people died in convulsions which could only be described as agonising. Investigations were set on foot and a serum was administered to wounded soldiers on the field of battle. The effect was that the mortality from tetanus in the War came down to quite small proportions. Since the War it has teen the rule for all well-ordered hospitals to have constantly in stock anti-tetanic serum, because street accidents are brought in from time to time which require anti-tetanic serum to be promptly injected. That is contrary to the principles of the anti-vivisectionist. And what happens? There is a hospital in this very City where they would not use anti-tetanic serum. A street accident was brought there and they refused to give anti-tetanic serum, and the patient died of lockjaw. And they call that hospital a charity. I call it a place for propagandism and nothing more, and I hope that King Edward's Fund will take note of this episode and will not give that hospital a certificate that it is a charity, ready to treat the maimed and the wounded by the best methods known to science at the present time.

At the same time as these poor people, the workers who have no choice where they shall be taken, are taken to this hospital, would the Governors of the Hospital, or their children, if they had an injury in a street accident, go without anti-tetanic serum? Not at all, they would go home and call their private doctor and it would be given. What it amounts to is that these people are practising their theories on the dog, only this time it is on the human dog, and the world suffers thereby. I put it to your Lordships that the health of this nation is a momentous matter, to be treated seriously and not made the playing ground of vain imaginings, of misguided thought and of perverted sentiment, and I ask your Lordships to reject the Amendment of the noble Lord opposite.


My Lords, I am certainly not going to follow the noble Lord into the rather discursive and, if I may say so with the utmost respect, somewhat irrelevant arguments that he has introduced into this discussion. We have listened to an exceedingly well-informed essay from doubtless a most competent person on the whole subject of vivisection. That is not, I venture to submit to your Lordships, the question before the House at the present time, or anything like it. The sole and only question that is before your Lordships to-day is whether it is right and proper, in a Bill that was introduced in another place for the protection of poultry, to try to insert a clause which deprives the stray dog of the protection that he now enjoys from vivisection. The noble Lord who has just spoken evidently thinks that, there is something in this Amendment which would interfere with his vivisecting stray dogs. If he is right in so thinking, why had not the noble Lord the courage of his convictions and, if he wanted to make relevant a discussion upon vivisection, why did he not put down an Amendment to the Bill and say that stray dogs taken to the police might be used indiscriminately for vivisection? Had he done so this discussion would at any rate have been in order, and I think that your Lordships would have been able to deal with such an Amendment in a Bill of this character.

It is rather interesting to see what a very remarkable difference of opinion there is between the noble Earl who is in charge of the Bill and the noble Lord who has just spoken. The noble Earl desires to oppose my noble friend's Amendment because he thinks that it would take away part of the, protection from vivisection which the stray dog now enjoys. That is the reason, and the only reason as I understood him, why the noble Earl in charge of the Bill opposes this Amendment. The noble Lord who has just spoken was very candid in the early part of his speech and he opposed the Amendment on the ground—I do not think that I am misrepresenting his language, because I put it down at the time—that he regarded this Amendment as a restriction on stray dogs being used for experimental purposes.




If the noble Lord will correct me and tell me what he did say I shall be very much obliged.


What I said was that this Bill affected the owned dog by tending to put an embargo upon the stray dog. The matter of vivisection was introduced by the noble Lord, not by me.


But there is protection at present for the stray dog under the Act of 1906. Stray dogs seized by the police cannot be used or sold for the purpose of vivisection.


If the noble Lord will excuse me for a moment, under this Bill, if it passes, stray dogs seized by the police cannot be used for vivisection.


Yes, but the noble Lord seems to think that the stray dog is a fit subject for vivisection, because he went on to say—again I took his words down but he will correct me if I am wrong—that he regarded this as a flank attack upon the use of stray dogs in vivisection. I think that I have correctly represented his statement. I ask your Lordships not to allow the noble Lord on an occasion like this to use this debate for the purpose of justifying the vivisection of stray dogs and introducing a totally irrelevant question into the discussion. The noble Earl behind me is anxious to keep up the protection from vivisection which the stray dog now enjoys. I am anxious to keep it up also, and the only question between the noble Earl and myself is whether that protection is best kept up by omitting the clause which Lord Banbury proposes to omit or by keeping it in. For my part, having looked into the matter very carefully, I consider that the protection given to stray dogs at present by the law will be best maintained by the Amendment of my noble friend, and therefore I shall certainly vote with him; but now that the noble Lord opposite has disclosed the reason why he opposes Lord Banbury's Amendment, I hope that noble Lords who wish to preserve the relevancies of debate—I will not use a stronger word— will vote in a contrary direction to that which the noble Lord advocates.


My Lords, though this is not a Government Bill, yet when the Bill was introduced I told your Lordships that the Government looked upon it as being a very useful measure which would do away with anomalies and that they thought it desirable that it should be added to the law of this country. A long and interesting speech has been made on the question of vivisection, but it is only incidental to this Bill and I do not therefore propose to refer to it. I should like to say that I agree with the remarks of the noble Earl in charge of the Bill. The clause that is under discussion and that Lord Banbury desires to eliminate was inserted at the request of, and after very long and careful consideration with, various associations connected with the protection and care of dogs, and I think we shall agree that the clause as it now stands does give a stray dog a better chance. That was the object of the clause, and I think it is clear that a man who takes the trouble when he finds a dog to take it to a police station, where a description is taken, would do so only if he really wished to keep the dog and give it a good home. That was the view taken by those who urged the introduction of this clause.

It has been mentioned that, under Section 3 of the Act of 1906, if a dog is seized by the police it cannot be sold or given away for the purpose of vivisection, and at the same time under that Act anybody who finds a dog can keep it and after a reasonable time he can do what he likes with it. Therefore I think that under this clause which is under discussion, where a finder is bound to keep a dog for a month if he elects to keep it, the dog has a better chance not only of the original owner recovering it but also of its finding a good home. The societies that came and discussed the question of this clause, and agreed upon it, are the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Canine Defence League—and with regard to that association I would say that they were discussing certain parts of this Bill so recently as Friday last, and raised no objection to the clause—the Battersea Home for Lost Dogs, and the Glasgow Dogs Home. Up to the present no objection has been lodged at the Government Department against this clause, and therefore it is rather a matter of surprise to us that this Amendment should have been put down for to-day, to eliminate the clause. It is the Government's view that the Bill will be better as it stands, and that it would be inadvisable to eliminate the clause.


My Lords, I would like to point out to Lord Stradbroke that, like some of the gentlemen whom he has mentioned, he has been misled as to the actual state of the law at the present moment. At the present moment under Clause 4 of the principal Act any person who takes possession of a stray dog shall forthwith either return the dog to its owner or inform the police, but Clause 3 says that where a police officer has reason to believe that any dog found in a highway or place of public resort is a stray dog, he has got to do certain things. I found a dog—I am speaking of what actually occurred to me—and under the law as it exists I sent my servant to the police. They said: "You have to bring the dog to us; you cannot keep it." The dog was sent to them. The same thing happened only a few years ago with another dog. My wife found a dog and she was anxious to keep it, and I myself went to the police station. The police informed me that they took possession of all dogs when notice was brought to them. I said: "Well, I am a respectable person"—I do not know whether noble Lords will agree with that—"you know my address, won't you allow me to save you the trouble of keeping the dog for seven days, and I will keep it?" The sergeant said that I had better see the inspector, and the inspector, being a sensible person, told me I could keep the dog, and I did so. I found the owner and returned it to him.

That is the law as it stands. What better evidence have we that this clause is going to make an alteration against the stray dog than the authority of the noble Lord opposite? Lord Danesfort asked why the noble Lord opposite did not put down an Amendment. But he did. On the Committee stage he put down an Amendment to repeal subsection (5) of Clause 3 of the Act of 1906, but did not move it. He is not moving it now because he has got all he wants if this Bill passes as it is. I did not raise the subject of vivisection. As a matter of fact, although I am against dogs being vivisected I am not an anti-vivisectionist. I did not raise the question. Having been defeated, I have not attempted to bring a Bill on again in this House. If the noble Lord wants to buy a dog in a legitimate way the law allows him to do so, but it is another thing to say that if I lose my dog it is to be a chance for some person who finds it to keep it a month and then to sell it to the noble Lord.


I should say that at the time when the noble Lord found the dog that he speaks of the Defence of the Realm Act was in operation.


Oh, no! It was two years ago.


Then it was a case of the police acting ultra vires. Either a finder wants a dog to be vivisected or he does not. If he does not want it to be vivisected, he can keep it himself or carry it to the police, and then the police will deal with it under Section 3 of the principal Act, which says that a dog is not to be sold for vivisection. On the other hand, if a person who finds a dog wants it for vivisection, he is obliged to keep it for at least a month, whereas under the old law he need only write to the police, without giving any description, and can keep the dog and use it for vivisection. There is no doubt in my mind that the new clause is better for the dog, and I hope that your Lordships will reject the Amendment.


The R.S.P.C.A., of which I am Chairman, has sent no petition in favour of this Bill.


I am informed otherwise.


I am Chairman of the Society.


My Lords, we are wall aware from the public Press that the noble Lord is Chairman of the Society, but we are not quite sure whether they are always quite agreed. I do not rise to take any part on behalf of the Government—we have no responsibility for this Bill—but as Leader of the House I would like to point out what will be the effect of carrying this Amendment. The noble Lord proposes to strike out the clause altogether. This clause has been inserted in the Bill with no special reference to vivisection, but with a view of maintaining as far as possible the rights of the owner of a lost dog, so that he may have a better chance of recovering the dog than he would have under the ordinary law. If my noble friend had proposed to replace this clause with some other clause which would have equally achieved his end, and perhaps secured the particular view he holds on vivisection, that would have been a very different case, but what he does is to eviscerate the Bill of one of its essential clauses without putting anything in its place.


It is first necessary to omit the clause.


On the Third Reading you can do nothing except

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Bill passed.