HL Deb 06 March 1968 vol 289 cc1343-4

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will forbid the presentation for sale of horned cattle in store and fatstock markets.]


No, my Lords. The Government are not aware of any reasons which would justify a prohibition of this kind. The Markets (Protection of Animals) Order 1964 already requires the separation of horned and other cattle, unless cattle of both classes are secured by the neck or head.


My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. Is he not aware that this separation often does not in practice take place, and the horned animals inflict ferocious cruelty on other animals, particularly when they are penned tight in the market? Is my noble friend aware that in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland horned cattle are banned from markets? Why cannot we do the same?


Yes, my Lords, I can quite understand that there is a good deal of discomfort for non-horned animals if they are attacked by those with horns. I imagine it to be a very unpleasant experience. But we already have regulations which, if operated, will look after this. If my noble friend has come across cases where the animals have not been separated and tied by the head, then it seems to me that there is something lacking in the local marketing authority.


My Lords, would my noble friend agree that segregating the horned cattle and the "pollies" does not stop the horned cattle from harming their comrades who are also horned?


My Lords, does not my noble friend agree that this shows up one of the disadvantages of unilateral disarmament?


My Lords, may I ask my noble friend one more question? Does he not think that, in view of the fact that severe cruelty is inflicted by horned cattle, and even by one horned animal on another horned animal, as my noble friend says, some financial incentive might be awarded to fanners to de-horn their cattle, such as withholding the calf subsidy for cattle which have not been de-horned?


My Lords, I think my right honourable friend would be in some difficulty if he started to operate that suggestion, but if my noble friend has any information on cruelty by one sort of animal on others, and if he will let me have it, I assure him that I will get my right honourable friend to look into it.

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