HL Deb 22 June 1973 vol 343 cc1671-93

3.50 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into a Committee on this Bill.

Moved, that the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Janner.)

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD AIREDALE in the Chair]

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

crucial issue, and I am content for the House to use its own judgment and to reach its own decision.

3.42 p.m.

On Question, Whether the Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 43; Not-Contents, 23.

Amherst, E. Davies of Leek, L. Kennet, L.
Amulree, L. Diamond, L. [Teller.] Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.
Auckland, L. Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Loudoun, C.
Balerno, L. Douglas of Barloch, L. McLeavy, L.
Balogh, L. Effingham, E. Nathan, L.
Beswick, L. Emmet of Amberley, B. O'Hagan, L.
Brockway, L. Ferrier, L. Phillips, B.
Brown, L. [Teller.] Fletcher, L. Sainsbury, L.
Burton of Coventry, B. Gaitskell, B. Samuel, V.
Byers, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Serota, B.
Chalfont, L. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.) Shackleton, L.
Champion, L. Snow, L.
Chorley, L. Hale, L. Strabolgi, L.
Clwyd, L. Hurcomb, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Crook, L. Janner, L.
Airedale, L. Grimston of Westbury, L. Milverton, L.
Atholl, D. Halsbury, E. [Teller.] Platt, L.
Beauchamp, E. Ironside, L. Reay, L. [Teller.]
Brabazon of Tara, L. Lauderdale, E. Reigate, L.
Conesford, L. Listowel, E. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.
Craigton, L. Lucas of Chilworth, L. Stow Hill, L.
Cranbrook, E. Massereene and Ferrard, V. Vivian, L.
Dudley, E. Merrivale, L.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 4 [Maintenance of Zoo]:

LORD SOMERS moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 2, line 22, at end insert— ("( ) the provision of cages which allow reasonable freedom of movement, including lying down, stretching and turning round;").

The noble Lord said: I put this Amendment down largely as a probing Amendment, but I should like to make it clear from the start that my chief interest is to see the Bill go through, and if passing this Amendment will impede it in any way I shall certainly not press it. I do not, however, see why it should do so. It is possible that my Amendment is already covered by Clause 4(a), but there is the doubt in my mind that the health and welfare of the animals is sometimes a question of individual opinion. It need not necessarily include mental welfare. It is for that reason that I have put the Amendment down. It is a simple provision that would be perfectly easy to enforce and, I think, is already observed by all respectable zoos. I beg to move.


Those who are sponsoring the Bill fully appreciate the intentions and objects which the noble Lord, Lord Somers, has in mind. We certainly should not do anything that would diminish the intentions of the Amendment, and we are quite satisfied that the clause already provides for the point raised by the noble Lord. In the circumstances, we hope he will accept the position in the same light as we see it and withdraw his Amendment.


I should like briefly to comment on the Amendments which have been put down, from the point of view of the Government, though I do not in the least wish to influence the noble Lord, Lord Janner, and his colleagues, or the House. All I want to do is to put our point of view on the Amendment.

The noble Lord, Lord Somers, said he thought this matter might be covered under Clause 4(a). We think so, too. The positive disadvantage of this provision is that supposing a minimum size of cage or enclosure was laid down for a particular animal, some zoos might consider that the minimum was the equivalent of the maximum. This would clearly be a pity, because it might discourage people from providing greater freedom, which I know is the noble Lord's intention, as it is of all of us. Therefore I would suggest to the noble Lord that this is, as he thought, covered by paragraph (a).

I should like also to make one general point. There are points in the Bill where I believe the drafting needs tightening up. I mentioned Clause 4(e) in my Second Reading speech. There are a number of points in this Bill which, although not fundamental, need to be examined with the help of Parliamentary counsel if we are to have a really good measure on the Statute Book. It has not been possible to do this at the moment, and I do not think that the noble Lord. Lord Janner, will criticise me for this. There has been a certain amount of haste in this matter, to which I do not object, but I make the point that in order to produce a perfect Bill it may be necessary in due course to tighten up the drafting so that eventually a good measure appears on the Statute Book. I make no promise about putting it on the Statute Book; I merely make the drafting point so that I do not need to do it again. But here the drafting of the Bill is adequate, and the noble Lord, Lord Somers, need fear nothing if he decides not to press the Amendment to a Division.


I hope I shall be forgiven for speaking again. The point raised by the noble Viscount is important, but we have given considerable attention to the Bill and had excellent drafting people on the matter. I am not talking of myself, but of the Parliamentary draftsmen. I am worried about something else. There is considerable anxiety about the situation as it exists at present. If it is possible for the draftsmen to get any suggestions put before us by the Report stage, or perhaps in another place, it will be advisable to do it as speedily as possible. There is public agitation about what is happening and we are most anxious that it should be allayed.


What happened was that the noble Lord and his friends were most co-operative in framing the Bill broadly in its present form. The details were filled in by his own expert advisers and I do not wish to suggest that they have done anything but a good job. However, the noble Lord will also know from long experience of both Houses that there is always room for a second technical look at these matters. I deal with the animal side of the Home Office day by day, and at the moment I have on my hands no fewer than four Private Members' Bills, none of them easy, and this is no exception. If the noble Lord thinks that I can get the resources of Parliamentary counsel on this Bill within the next fortnight or so, I must disappoint him. What I can say is that if he likes to continue consultation with us, we will do our best to see that we get the details right, but I cannot promise that it will be done in a hurry in order to get a perfect measure within a short period of time.


The remarks of the noble Viscount are entirely convincing. I think it would be possible, if the Bill is passed, to amend it later to add a few extra points. I would rather do that than impede the progress of the Bill. Therefore, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.0 p.m.

LORD CRAIGTON moved Amendment No. 2:

Page 2 line 30, at end insert: ("(g) that effect is given to such measures concerned with the conservation of rare animal species as shall be conveyed to him through the Council by direction of the Minister after the Minister has consulted with such authorities as he may think fit").

The noble Lord said: I tabled this Amendment immediately after Second Reading because I felt that the powers and duties in connection with conservation should be added to the Council's powers and duties. As an example of what I mean, may I say that if I were running a zoo and did not wish to keep certain animals over the winter but wished to dispose of them, let us say, by sale, I could get away with that, entirely against the interests of conservation, without being struck at by any of the clauses of the Bill. I feel that conservation should be added to the Bill, and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Janner, or the Minister will be given time by my Amendment to find an answer if I do not find one myself.

In winding up on Second Reading the Minister pointed out that the duties of the zoos are dealt with in Clause 4, inspection in Clause 5, and what happens after inspection in Clauses 6 and 7. So I had to fit my new paragraph into Clause 4. It is not very long. The clause will read: It shall be the duty of the owner of a zoological garden to make and maintain proper provision for ensuring at that zoological garden: (g) that effect is given to such measures concerned with the conservation of rare animal species as shall be conveyed to him through the Council by direction of the Minister after the Minister has consulted with such authorities as he may think fit.

Now, I know that there are a number of Ministers concerned, and they would act only through this Amendment or through this Bill where it was helpful in their ministerial responsibilities: for example, in any results that would flow from co-operation between the Council and the Advisory Committee on the Animal (Restriction of Importation) Act 1964, who have said that they would like such co-operation. There might, as a result of that, be special housing or welfare arrangements for certain species. Again, arrangements might be made for breeding at certain zoos as an alternative to imports. Again, although it is a minor matter, the Council might think it wise to have a little plaque—like the Jersey Zoo, which has a little dodo plaque—on the cages of all the animals which are threatened. This is a most important educational exercise, because the children and other people who go to the zoo realise that they are seeing something that is of inestimable value and which must be preserved.

I do not think that it is any more difficult to administer and adjudicate on my humble little clause than it is on any of the other subsections in Clause 4, because who can really adjudicate adequately on the health and welfare of animals, or the provision of adequate veterinary care, or the adequate number of people? These questions are all matters of opinion, especially when it comes to deciding whether a zoological garden is maintained in a proper state of repair. The truth is that the adjudication under Clauses 4 and 5 will add up to a number of failings which, taken together, will show a zoo that is perhaps too badly run to allow it to continue without improvement; and that is the purpose of Lord Janner's Bill.

Basically, I think that this Bill should include powers to take conservation measures, and I hope that the Minister will accept the Amendment. If he does not accept it, I feel justified in asking the noble Lord, Lord Janner, or the Minister for a reason why my Amendment is not acceptable, a reason that will be acceptable to the many conservation interests concerned who will read this debate and wonder, as I do, why the Home Department should be taking conservation out of this Bill twice. If I can have a satisfactory reason given by the noble Lord who preceded me in this debate, I will withdraw this Amendment.


I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Janner, and the Committee would allow me to say a word on this subject before the noble Lord speaks? I will give way to the noble Lord if he would like me to, but this is, I think, essentially a matter for Government to attempt to advise the Committee. There is no doubt that my noble friend, Lord Craighton, is right in thinking that many people, including the Government, are interested in the conservation of wild species, whether in this country or abroad. The trouble is that there are two points of substantial importance when we are considering this Amendment to the Bill.

First of all, this Bill has been prepared after a considerable amount of work between the noble Lord, Lord Janner, and his friends and my own Department to cover a specific area, and we hoped that with the drafting titivations that I mentioned it would be successful. But it has only attempted to cover a certain area—the welfare and health of animals in zoos and the safety of the public visiting zoos—and there has been a self-denying ordinance among those who have been promoting the Bill to keep it to that area, to the extent indeed that some of Lord Cranbrook's original and heartily felt ideas have, for the public good, been abandoned in the draft that we now have before us.

The suggestion that my noble friend, Lord Craigton, has put forward is a major extension of the scope of the Bill, and this must he recognised at once. It does not mean that conservation is not a good thing or that any body disapproves or is anything but wholly in favour of it: it is simply that, within the scope of the Bill at the moment, we have no provision for conservation. If we were to try to make provision we should be promoting a different measure from the one that at the moment is being given a Second Reading in this House. I would then go on to the sort of difficulties which attack Government in dealing with such matters. Legislation already exists on the Statute Book to deal with conservation and governmental control over conservation of rarer species of either animal or bird.

I answered a Question the other day about the import of rare birds. This is a Home Office matter, and where the Home Office is responsible an Order is made which refers to birds of prey and owls. There is another provision under the Animals (Restriction of Importation) Act 1964, to which my noble friend Lord Craigton referred. At present this is the responsibility of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science, though in fact it is the Department of Trade and Industry which upon her advice issues the licences when importation is allowed. Under the provisions of the Nature Conservancy Bill, which is at present before Parliament, there is some reason to suppose that this whole conservancy matter could go over to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

If my noble friend thinks that, having discussed a Bill of this sort with the noble Lord, Lord Janner, and his colleagues for something like 18 months now, I could agree to co-ordinate the views of two other major Departments—probably the Department of the Environment as well—within a matter of a few weeks, in order to see, first, whether they would be agreeable to the Council set up under the Bill having charge of this aspect of the matter and, secondly, whether they agree that that particular responsibility, it invested in the Council, would fit reasonably well into their existing statutory liabilities, then I am bound to say that noble Lords expect more than the Home Office can possibly attempt to achieve.

I am sorry about this, but it adds a great complication to the Bill. Within the machinery of Government it involves a number of different Departments, all of which are bound to have a fairly important point of view. I cannot put these together at present. I cannot say whether the Council it is proposed to set up under the Bill is the right vehicle for dealing with this matter. I must advise the Committee that any insistence upon the inclusion of this totally new element into a Bill which has previously been confined to the matters that I mentioned would make it very dubious indeed whether the Government could retain the neutrality which they have so far adopted towards the Bill.

I should be very sorry to abandon this attitude, but I am bound to warn the Committee that I am not ready, and I am not likely to be ready within the foreseeable future—in Parliamentary terms—to go as far as my noble friend Lord Craigton suggested. It is not through lack of sympathy with conservation; it is simply that it does not fit into the pattern that the noble Lord, Lord Janner, and his colleagues have prepared for this Bill, which is intended to be a limited measure and which, with this amendment, would be greatly extended from what it was originally intended to do.

4.11 p.m.


My Lords, I find myself in complete agreement with the spirit and intention lying behind the Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, but not so much in agreement with the blank non possumus of my noble friend who sits on the Front Bench. On the other hand, if the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, were to consider the existing legislation, he would find that most of what he wants is already met He wants conservation to be one of the main points in any zoo policy, on the ground that there is danger that zoos and other animal collections exert pressure on wild populations by encouraging collectors to collect animals to bring to this country for sale.

As the noble Viscount has said, we have two Acts which control the importation of creatures into this country. The Animal (Restriction of Importation) Act 1964, which is intended only to apply to rare animals. Under that Act, when a licence is given to import an animal, I think it is the invariable practice of the advisory committee to insist that it goes into a zoo or collection where it will become part of a viable breeding unit. Permission is never given to import a single animal which could not possibly breed in captivity; it is given to viable breeding units only when the committee are satisfied that the man in charge of the zoo or collection is sufficiently skilled to be able to ensure that help is given to the preservation of that species by breeding in captivity. That policy has been remarkably successful. There is a similar provision for birds in the Protection of Birds Act, and in the 1967 Act there is a special provision that licence is to be given for aviculture, which means the breeding of birds in captivity. It is true that, as yet, there is no provision to ensure that animals not looked upon as rare are sent to viable breeding units, and that so far the Protection of Birds Act has not been brought into operation to control the large imports of birds that take place.

The noble Lord also referred to the practice which has been the habit of some of the worst zoos of having summer collections; getting rid of the animals in the winter and not bothering about their welfare as they would have to do under Clause (4)(a) of this Bill. In recent years it has become the yardstick of the efficient running of a zoo that it succeeds in getting the animals in part of the collection to breed. That is what builds up the reputation of a zoo. I have no doubt that the Council, when it is set up, will be bound to take that into consideration in relation to Clause 4. All reputable zoos look upon that as an essential part of their animal welfare to-day. I am certain that the Council will insist, almost inevitably, upon the securing of good breeding units for all animals in zoos. In paragraph (f) the Council will have all the information it needs to ascertain whether that is being done. I believe that most of what the noble Lords require will be done under existing legislation, and I accept what the noble Viscount said, that this is not the proper place to put it, though I believe that we can get it in other ways.


I think we are all in difficulty here because we are all anxious to see the Bill on the Statute Book and we all support very strongly the sentiments of the noble Lord, Lord Craigton. Our difficulty stems from the fact that we are up against an extremely difficult timetable. The noble and learned Viscount has described all the work and discussion that have already gone into this Bill, and has told us that there is no chance of having the help of Parliamentary draftsmen between now and Report. For that reason we should be a little self-disciplined in supporting any Amendments, however much we should like to see those Amendments incorporated in the Bill. I hope, therefore, that the noble Viscount will be able to give us some encouragement to believe that the services of Parliamentary draftsmen will be available before the Bill reaches another place, and that perhaps, through the discussions that we are having in your Lordships' House in Committee, Members of another place may be acquainted with the strength of opinion which has been expressed here and that perhaps the discussions can take place there which otherwise we should all like to see taking place both on Committee and on Report.


I feel some sympathy with the noble Viscount, and I agree with him that it is no good putting a greater burden on the Home Office than it can effectively and vigorously carry. But it seems to me that the noble Viscount may be exaggerating the difficulties here. At the same time, I wonder whether the Amendment goes far enough. As I read it, all the Amendment says is that the owner of a zoo, if he happens to own one of these rare species, is to keep it and behave towards it in a certain way. The Amendment does not impose some new and broader duty on him of having a policy of conserving rare wild animals. Possibly it ought to do this, and possibly the framer of the Amendment might have another look at that question, and wonder whether he is not being too moderate.

If I am at all right in the construction that I am putting on the Amendment as it stands, I cannot see why it should cause either the draftsmen or the Home Office, or the Minister, in due course, any difficulty in saying that if these creatures happen to be under a zoo owner's care they will be treated and dealt with in certain ways. Therefore, is there not a risk that the whole problem may be getting blown up into proportions which it will not really assume in practice if something of this kind goes into the Bill?


I hope that the noble Lord will not press this Amendment. My noble friend's Bill has had to shed unasked-for additions ever since it was first introduced. We had circuses and every kind of other thing brought in by people who have a natural interest in these matters, and the narrow object of this Bill, which is to prevent animals from being exhibited for money without due care, is liable to fall. Of course I support every word that Lord Craigton and the last speaker said. If the Minister responsible explains to us that this is too difficult for him to help us over, we may feel sorry for him and think that it is a feeble affair; but that is the situation. I do not say that, actually: I understand the situation very well. However, if noble Lords do feel that, I still think that we must put up with it. Let us get something absolutely specific, quite hard, and easily understood, which we have spent years discussing and which is still not entirely agreed to by some of the people that it will concern; and please do not let us widen it. I believe that the noble Lord would do well, in the interests of the Bill as a whole, to step down this time, and I will support him on a Private Member's Conservation Bill any time that he likes to bring it in.


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Lords who have spoken. I think that one could almost agree with every word that has been expressed, particularly in relation to our anxiety to see that what the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, wants shall be brought into effect in practice. I do not wish to detain the House any longer, except to say that I have had a fair amount of experience on Private Members' Bills, and I have not yet known of any Private Member's Bill that has gone through if there has been any Government opposition. It may not be a very strong argument to use, but at the same time I think that one has to look at the practical side of these matters.

As the noble Viscount has said, we have had very long talks about this—incidentally, I think the noble Viscount underestimates his ability to look at Bills. I have had the privilege of sitting for some years under his very able guidance in respect to the examination of Bills in the Consolidation Committee and I have never found him at a loss at putting things right, even though the draftsmen presented their own particular views. Therefore, I shall make a personal appeal to him to look at the position as put by my noble friend Lord Greenwood and try to agree this.

If the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, sees fit to withdraw the Amendment, I am sure it will be in the interests of getting the Bill through as speedily as possible. That being the case, perhaps the noble Viscount will regard that as a step towards getting the Bill through this Session. In the circumstances, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Craigton, will withdraw his Amendment.

4.23 p.m.


I was very disappointed by the reply of the noble Viscount. He said that the Bill was for health and welfare of the animals in a zoo. I wish he had realised what I am sure everybody else realises, that it is the welfare of the rare animals in a zoo on which the life of the zoo depends. We cannot ignore this. I am fortified in the belief that although the noble Viscount does not apparently put any value at all on conservation being added to the Bill, the Zoo Council will, I am sure, make every effort to use it to help conservation. It is they who, one day, will be sorry that powers for conservation are not included in the Bill. Having said that, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 4 agreed to.

Clauses 5 to 7 agreed to.

Clause 8 [Supplementary provision as to the register and fees]:

4.24 p.m.

LORD CRAIGTON moved Amendment No. 3: Page 4, line 13, after ("number") insert ("and amount").

The noble Lord said: In spite of the fact that the Council have powers to vary the amount charged I felt it might be more convenient for the Council to consider the amount that was drawn by the zoo as well as the number of people visiting it. As I said on Second Reading parties of schoolchildren can add greatly to numbers without adding much to money. But I stand entirely on the recommendation of the Front Bench as to whether I should press the Amendment.


I hope the noble Viscount will concede the point. I think that it has been very admirably put in a few words by the noble Lord, Lord Craigton. So far as I am concerned, I should be happy to accept this Amendment.


I have no strong views on the principle, but with the greatest respect to my noble friend Lord Craigton, I shall now draw upon the eulogies that the noble Lord, Lord Janner, said about me a little while ago. If noble Lords want to take account of the point which my noble friend has made, I wonder whether my noble friend would look at paragraph 8(l)(c). I think that the noble Lord means that the sum is to be calculated on the number of paid admissions and the sum received from such admissions. The number of admissions and the amount of admissions, which is what the Amendment says at the moment, is the same thing. What the noble Lord means is the number of admissions and the amount of money that is obtained from the admissions, particularly as some of them may relate to large numbers of schoolchildren.


The number of paid admissions and the amount of paid admissions seem to me to be two different things.


It means the sum received from such admissions. I think that that is really what my noble friend means. If that is what the noble Lord would like to put down, I am sure that it is a very good point, but at the moment I do not think that the noble Lord is quite achieving what he wants to achieve.


May I suggest that if the noble Lord would withdraw the Amendment I am sure that my noble friend would incorporate the correct wording on Report?


I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

4.28 p.m.

LORD DONALDSON OF KINGSBRIDGE moved Amendment No. 3A: Page 4, line 14, at end insert: ("provided that in the case of paid admissions of under 100,000 to a zoological garden during the previous year, the sum shall not exceed cult per cent. of the gross takings of that zoological garden.')

The noble Lord said: The noble Lord, Lord Strathcona, asked me to speak to this Amendment because he cannot be here to-day. The noble Lord is a director of one of the zoos in the association of which I am not the chairman; that is, the Association of Zoos. I am the chairman of the Federation of Zoos. The fact that we both think that this is a reasonable Amendment may commend it to your Lordships.

The Amendment is very simple. There is a feeling among some of the smaller zoos that they are in danger of being charged too much for the services. We saw no reason whatever not to put a ceiling on that, and therefore we have put down this Amendment which provides that any zoo with paid admissions of less than 100,000 shall have its contribution calculated as a relation of not more than 1 per cent. of the gross takings. I think that this is perfectly satisfactory. But if the wording is not satisfactory, the meaning is quite clear, and I would happily withdraw the Amendment in order that it may be re-worded. In the meantime, I beg to move.


May I say a word on this Amendment before the noble Lord, Lord Janner, comments? It is not because I wish either to support or oppose the Amendment: I am taking my usual neutral attitude. The question is that if one provides by Statute, as this Amendment would do, that there is to be a shift of the burden of fees from the smaller zoos to the larger ones, one takes away any element of discretion in the Council that is being set up to make a scale to fit the case, and one will have one category which is, by Statute, dealt with in a certain way, and all the other zoos will be dealt with in another way. Therefore. one will inevitably shift the financial burden.

I do not want again to go into the question of the finances of the Council as a whole, because these were dealt with on Second Reading, although we do have slight reservations about these. One will shift the financial burden from the small zoos and load it, so that the Council can carry out its work properly, on to the larger ones.

As the Bill stands at present, there is the enormous merit that, in Clause 8(4) it says: The Council may, if they think fit, remit in part any annual sum prescribed under subsection (I)(c) above. This is endlessly flexible, and instead of laying down statutory citeria, particularly if a subsequent Amendment about the make-up of the Council is accepted, it may he a more satisfactory way of dealing with it, and one that would appeal both to the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, and to my noble friend Lord Strathcona and, indeed, to those whose interests are to some degree represented by what they say. I put that forward because I think it is worth considering.


Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Donaldson, may be willing to withdraw the Amendment because I feel it should be discussed with some of the associations currently concerned with zoos. Provision is made in Clause 8(4) for dealing with particular types of cases in particular ways and it might well be that some words added to that clause would be more satisfactory than doing it in this way. But certainly it should first be discussed with the various associations representing zoos.


If my noble friend is prepared to look at this again between now and Report stage, I shall be happy to withdraw the Amendment.


I appreciate the point that has been raised, and of course one takes into consideration the view put forward by the noble Viscount, but there is something to be said for the intention of this Amendment. However, I am quite prepared to look at it again and, in the circumstances, perhaps my noble friend will be good enough to withdraw his Amendent.


I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 8 agreed to.

Clause 9 agreed to.

Clause 10 [Accounts]:

LORD JANNER moved Amendment No. 4: Page 5, line 11, leave out ("and Corporate").

The noble Lord said: There is a very simple explanation for this Amendment. The words "and Corporate" no longer exist in so far as the particular body to which they refer is concerned, and in the circumstances I beg to move.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10, as amended, agreed to.

4.33 p.m.

THE EARL OF CRANBROOK moved Amendment No. 5: After Clause 10 insert the following new clause:

Annual Report

".—(1) The Council shall as soon as possible one year after the commencement of this Act make to the Secretary of State a report on the exercise and performance of their functions down to that date, and shall make a similar report to him as to each period of twelve months thereafter as soon as possible after its end.

(2) The Secretary of State shall lay a copy of any report under this section before each House of Parliament."

The noble Earl said: Under the Schedule, 9 out of the 11 members of the Council are nominated by the Minister and two by outside bodies. Quite apart from the fact that Parliament should be kept informed on this rather important piece of legislation about animal welfare, it will be important that the nominating Minister and the nominating bodies should know about the Council's activities over the previous year. It is common form for such a report to be made. This would be useful to the Minister, to Parliament and to the general public, and I hope your Lordships will agree to this Amendment.


As is usual, the views of the noble Earl are acceptable, and are put in such a form that they could not be otherwise than acceptable. In the circumstances, I have nothing to add. I think it is a reasonable Amendment and I hope it will be accepted by the Committee.


I have a word to add. Although I agree with the noble Lord. Lord Janner, that there cannot possibly be anything but good in publishing a report, it does not affect the principle that the Council will be an independent body. If it lays its report before Parliament, I very much hope that noble Lords and members in another place will remember that this is an independent body. It is not a body for which my Department is responsible. Of course, we shall take an interest in its report; we should endeavour to do so and I think it would be of great value. But the Council will still remain an independent body and not a creation of Government. I think it is important to make that point while saying that, so far as I am concerned, it seems to be an admirable Amendment. I have some drafting points but I shall not deal with those now.


My Lords, it may well be an independent body, but the Minister makes the appointments; the appointments are only for three years. I hope and trust that if the Minister feels that the Council is not acting in accordance with the sort of policy of which Parliament and the general public are likely to approve, he will make some changes in its constitution. I do not look upon that as being unconstitutional. It was part of the intention of the framers of the Schedule that the Minister should have that power.


I think that that is quite right. If the Council is doing things that Parliament says are perfectly dreadful, I am sure it would the duty of my right honourable friend to reconsider the membership of the Council; but while the Council consists of whoever it does consist of, it is the Council and its dealings are not the direct responsibility of my right honourable friend. I must make that perfectly clear.


Is that not also true of a body such as the Arts Council, whose Report is debated regularly in your Lordships' House?


With respect, the Amendment has been accepted by my noble friend, so there is no conflict here.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 [Interpretation]:

THE DUKE OF ATHOLL moved Amendment No. 6:

Page 5, line 40, at end insert: ("deerpark" means any enclosure where deer are kept with or without other domestic animals;").

The noble Duke said: It might be to the convenience of the Committee if we considered the two Amendments standing in my name, namely, Amendments Nos. 6 and 7, together. It is fairly common for houses and gardens open to the public to have a deerpark attached or alongside, and at this moment I feel that it is only right that I should declare an interest—although a very small interest—in this Amendment. My house, which is open to the public, has a paddock with two deer in it at the moment, but I hope to build up so that I have representatives of each of the three kinds of deer resident in Perthshire.

Under Clause 3(3), if one charges for admission to one's house for car parking, and if one has anything that can be described as a "zoological garden" alongside it, or near it, one comes under the auspices of this Bill. I have no objection to that at all. I think there is every reason for wording Clause 3(3) in that way. Otherwise, some people who run zoos and who are frightened by the prospect of coming under the control of this Bill might try to get round its provisions by charging only for car parking, or something like that. So I have no intention of trying to amend Clause 3(3).

In the definition clause, Clause 12, the definition of a zoological garden is given as: any place, other than a circus, where are kept for the purpose of exhibition exotic animals or indigenous wild animals which are not living wild in their natural surroundings.

It might be argued that deer in deer-parks are living in their natural surroundings. That is a point which is open to some doubt, however, because roe deer, certainly, normally live in woods, and red deer normally live out on the hills. It could be argued that they are living in their natural surroundings, but however hard one tried, I do not think that one could say that they were living wild in their natural surroundings. Therefore I feel that deerparks alongside houses or gardens open to the public would come under the control of this Bill, and the owners of the houses or gardens concerned would accordingly have to register with the proposed Council.

There is a let-out in Clause 3(1)(b), which says: The Council may exempt from the pro-visions of this section any zoological garden if they are satisfied that circumstances exist to justify such exemption.

Presumably the "zoological gardens"—to use the words in the Bill—would have to be inspected by an officer of the Council before they could be exempted, in order to see that they qualified for exemption. I should have thought that this would create a lot of unnecessary work and expense for the Council, and that it is much easier to exempt deer-parks, which are fairly straightforward concerns. They are well-known and well-appreciated in the English language, and I think it is very rare for them to be mismanaged.

I should like to ask one other question of the noble Lord, Lord Janner. If one obtains an exemption under Clause 3(1)(b) of this Bill, is this in perpetuity, or does one have to reapply for exemption every year? This is a point of some importance, because presumably one could have a perfectly adequate garden as regards size, but if one put more animals or different species in it, it might become overcrowded and therefore become undesirable under Clause 4 of the Bill. I should have thought that the danger of exempting too many such places is that, once they are exempted, they may take advantage of such exemption and let their standards deteriorate.

This would seem to me to be a great pity. I hope, therefore, that deerparks may automatically be excluded from the Bill by an Amendment such as the one that I have put down, and that other places, if they obtain exemption for the purposes of the Bill, will at any rate be inspected from time to time to see that they are keeping up satisfactory standards. I beg to move Amendment No. 6.


I should like to support this Amendment briefly. It is perfectly true, as my noble friend has said, that it would appear to be quite unreasonable that a deerpark, where one has indigenous deer and where one may also have cattle and sheep grazing, and even perhaps horses, should be classed as a zoological garden. So many houses in this country have deerparks with indigenous deer in them.



My noble friend on the Front Bench says, "Oh, Oh!", but I think I am quite right in saying that. A considerable number do. I agree that if one has a deerpark with exotic deer in it, that is a different matter, but where there are indigenous deer I hope that such deer-parks would be exempt. Having said that, I should just like to say again that I warmly support my noble friend.


I think that the noble Duke intends that his Amendment should deal with indigenous deer and not with exotic ones, because the Amendment as now drafted, if it included all deer, would virtually bring in a zoo which had nothing but deer in it, and this would be far outside what the noble Duke intends to cover. If the noble Duke were prepared to add the word "indigenous", it would probably cover the case which he wishes to cover and which, as he points out, it was intended to cover by Clause 3(1)(b). That makes it quite clear, and I think it would be a useful addition if the word "indigenous" were added to the Amendment, although I regret that his deerpark is not being inspected because after what he heard about keeping animals in viable breeding units I feel quite sure that the noble Duke will go home and make his two deer up to four as quickly as he possibly can.


I do not intend to delay the Committee any longer. What I should have liked to say has been said admirably by the noble Duke, and I hope that the Government will see their way to accepting his proposals. In the circumstances, I assume that the noble Duke has it in mind to withdraw the Amendment, so that the matter may be considered on Report. That would probably be the better way of dealing with it. I do not know the rules of this House well enough to know whether one can put an Amendment down forthwith.


One can. But before we started this debate it was to be fallow deer, now it is indigenous deer. Where are the indigenous deer? Are they in the United Kingdom? I imagine that is what my noble friend suggested. The trouble about saying "indigenous" is that I do not think the interpretation of "indigenous" in that sense means indigenous in the United Kingdom. Perhaps one could consider the phraseology of this matter. The principle of it is certainly something that I should in no way wish to object to.


Once again the intention is perfectly clear and absolutely desirable. The words may not be quite right. If my noble friend will undertake to discuss this matter with the noble Duke between now and then, I am sure we shall arrive at words which are acceptable.


I shall be very pleased to do that.


I am very grateful for the way in which the spirit of my Amendment has been received. Perhaps, to get over the difficulty of "indigenous or "fallow", we might insert the words deer which are found in the wild in the United Kingdom", which would make it perfectly clear that it is only deer which can be found ranging about this country and, therefore, would not include such exotic species as white-tailed deer and the deer of South America. After what has been said, I am only too pleased to withdraw the Amendment and to have another shot at it on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 12 agreed to.

Clause 13 agreed to.

Schedule [Constitution of the Council and Supplementary Provisions]:

4.48 p.m.

LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE moved Amendment No. 8: Page 7, line 11, at end insert ("having regard to the size and type of zoological garden with which those members are connected").

The noble Lord said: This is in the same spirit as the last Amendment and will, I think, be more acceptable. We suggest that when the Minister is nominating four members from bodies representing zoological gardens to sit on the council, we should add: having regard to the size and type of zoological garden with which those members are connected.

This gives the Minister the opportunity, and indeed a fairly strong hint that it might be wise, to have some of them at least representating small zoos. I beg to move.


My Lords, since my right honourable friend would in any event do exactly that, he has no objection whatever to being told to do so by Statute.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Schedule, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments.