HL Deb 15 November 1944 vol 133 cc1219-21

4.30 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the question standing in my name on the Paper.

that when the war comes to an end there will probably be no danger of further inflation in the Middle East, but on the contrary there will be deflation. Consequently the whole of this argument falls to the ground.

The reasons for and against have been very fully stated. It is true that all the speakers with the exception of the Government spokesman have been on one side, though no doubt the noble Duke has done his best to present as convincing a case as the matter allows. It is now for your Lordships to decide. I am afraid I must trouble you to go to a Division, because the principle is far too great to allow the case to go by default. I trust that those in favour of the condemnation of the scheme will not hesitate to use their authority as members of the British Parliament.

On Question, Whether the said Resolution shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 20; Not-Contents, 36.

Cavan, E. Hereford, L. Bp. Meston, L.
Jersey, E. Sheffield, L. Bp. Nathan, L.
Truro, L. Bp. [Teller.] Rea, L.
Mersey, V. [Teller.] Rochester, L.
Samuel, V. Ammon, L. Southwood, L.
Wimborne, V. Denman, L. Strabolgi, L.
Lang of Lambeth, L. Terrington, L.
Birmingham, L. Bp. Latham, L.
Norfolk, D. (E. Marshal.) Ailwyn, L. Lawrence, L.
Devonshire, D. Annesley, L. (V. Valentia.) Marchwood, L.
Balinhard, L. (E. Southesk.) Mendip, L. (V. Clifden.) [Teller.]
Abingdon, E. Bingley, L.
Carlisle, E. Birdwood, L. Ormonde, L. (M. Ormonde.)
Lucan, E. Bruntisfield, L. Oxenfoord, L. (E. Stair.)
Poulett, E. Cecil, L. (V. Cranborne.) Sherwood, L.
Croft, L. Simonds, L.
Allendale, V. Ebbisham, L. Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)
Cowdray, V. Elton, L.
Elibank, V. Hampton, L. Stewart of Garlies, L. (E. Galloway.)
Goschen, V. Hare, L. (E. Listowel.) [Teller.]
Long, V. Wardington, L.
Margesson, V. Hindlip, L. Wolverton, L.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, whether the prohibition of the setting of traps for rabbits elsewhere than in rabbit holes having been unanimously recommended by a Select Committee of this House in 1937, and enacted without dissent in Section 5 (I) of the Prevention of Damage by Rabbits Act, 1939, and in view of the strong public feeling against the cruelty of the gin trap, they will take steps to rescind Order in Council No. 5o, dated 15th January 1941, whereby the section in question was set aside.]


My Lords, my right honourable friend has considered very carefully whether present circumstances would justify him in withdrawing the war-time regulation (Defence Regulation 63 (5,b)) which relaxes the statutory prohibition, imposed by the Prevention of Damage by Rabbits Act, 1939, of the setting of steel traps 4or rabbits elsewhere than in rabbit holes. He has decided that having regard to the continued seriousness of the food position he would not be justified in taking this step, but he has instructed the county war agricultural executive committees (who alone can authorize open trapping) to ensure that authority for the open setting of traps is given only in very special circumstances—for example, felled woodland areas with uncleared brushwood where no other means of rabbit destruction would be effective. Committees have been asked to aim at reducing open trapping to a minimum, to take care to see that the conditions attached to the authority to use this method are strictly observed, and in particular that the operators concerned are thoroughly skilled in the proper method of setting the traps.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Duke for his answer, and for the intention, expressed by his right honourable friend, to issue these instructions, may I ask one further question? Are the noble Duke and the right honourable gentleman aware that the replies to a questionnaire, circulated by the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, go to show (in this matter of the effectiveness of instructions) that out of 36 committees who replied 29 were permitting open trapping, and 17 of these 29 were permitting it both to official and unofficial trappers?


I will certainly take notice of any document which my noble friend cares to forward.