HL Deb 17 June 1974 vol 352 cc762-90

4.19 p.m.


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

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

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL or LISTOWEL in the Chair.]

Clause 1 [Functions of Farriers Company]:

LORD NEWALL moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 9, at end insert ("and shall promote, encourage and advance the art and science of farriery and education in connection with the said art and science").

The noble Lord said: This Amendment is a fairly simple one and I do not think that it should cause much controversy. On Second Reading, I made it fairly clear that the Worshipful Company of Farriers is the only body of which I know which is doing anything about increasing the number of farriers, by having a charitable foundation the purpose of which, simply and solely, is to give extra money to apprentices in the world of farriery.

The object of this Amendment is merely to enlarge upon their duties and responsibilities, and to make it even clearer than previously that they will do everything in their power to promote the cause of farriery and help to add to the extra number of people that are so earnestly desired by the whole world of horses. I beg to move.


May I, as a Past Master of one of the livery companies, the Worshipful Company of Broderers, express my personal good wishes and those of my own livery company to my noble friend on this venture. Throughout their history the livery companies have tried to support the craft which they represent. This is an epoc-making Amendment, and I think all livery companies would wish to be associated in the tribute to the Worshipful Company of Farriers and to wish them every success in this important venture.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 1, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 2 to 14 agreed to.

Clause 15 [Removal of names from register]:

4.22 p.m.

VISCOUNT THURSO moved Amendment No. 2: Page 7, line 29, leave out from ("Court") to end of line 30.

The noble Viscount said: May I first say that those of us in the Committee who have put our names to this Amendment would yield to no one in our desire to see the welfare of the horse paramount in any decisions which may be taken in this Committee. We question whether in fact this Bill, as laid before your Lordships. is suitable for the conditions which apply in Scotland. We question whether a case has been made out to show that there are more known cases of cruelty taking place in Scotland as a result of people not qualified as farriers shoeing horses, or purporting to be farriers in order to shoe horses, than there are known cases of discomfort caused to horses by not getting any farriery done at all. This is the real problem in Scotland, which, being a large part of the total land area of Great Britain, has under 200 farriers spread throughout the whole area.

There are in Scotland ponies and horses still working on farms and certainly on milk rounds; working for pony trekking, for recreational purposes as children's ponies, and so on. These horses and ponies require to be shod. In many cases the ponies are in fact being shod and having their feet cared for by people who would not qualify under this Bill were it to become law. It is said in the Bill that such people might be accepted to begin with, but it does not in any way provide for the recruitment of farriers, other than by the rather vague method of hoping that farriers will become recruited or that young men will wish to apprentice themselves to the trade of farriery simply because farriery becomes a closed shop.

Those of us who have put down our names to this Amendment sincerely believe that a great deal must be done in Scotland to promote the training of farriers before it can be regarded as a sensible move to bring about the kind of restriction envisaged in this Bill. We have therefore tabled a number of Amendments, of which this is the first. Your Lordships will see that this Amendment No. 2, which we are now discussing, is followed by Amendments 7 and 19 and, in the Schedules, Amendments 10, 13 and 14. These Amendments all deal with the same point. We believe that there are not enough farriers already in Scotland and that to restrict farriery quite so drastically as is proposed in this Bill, to people who could get the full qualification under the Bill as it would be if it became law, would not encourage young men to apprentice themselves to the trade of farriery, and we feel that certainly at this stage Scotland should be left entirely out of the provisions of the Bill. We notice that an Amendment will be moved later, suggesting that certain areas of the country might be left out of the provisions of the Bill for five years. We do not feel that this really answers the question, because it is not simply a question of time: it is a question of performance. It is a question of whether in fact a sufficient number of farriers can be trained and are being recruited to the ranks of the trade at a rate sufficient to deal with the problem of the shortage of farriers. We do not feel that merely to leave out certain areas for a period of five years is any guarantee that at the end of five years there will be enough farriers to deal with the situation.

Therefore we propose to go ahead with our Amendment and to ask the Committee to agree to it. We should have preferred to have grouped all the Amendments together, but I do not know whether it is possible to do so. If it is possible, we feel that it would greatly facilitate the work of the Committee this afternoon if we could in fact group Amendment No. 2 to Clause 15, Amendment No. 7 and Amendment No. 9 and the various Amendments to the Schedules; namely, Amendments 10, 13 and 14. They are in effect one Amendment in purpose.


I think I am right in saying that it is perfectly proper for these Amendments to be considered together, but of course they will have to be taken separately as they appear on the Marshalled List.


I thank the noble Lord for his advice. I have indeed spoken to all the Amendments because they are in effect one Amendment, which is to leave out Scotland, just as Northern Ireland is left out of this Bill. Obviously in dealing with Amendment No. 2 we shall deal with it as though it were Amendment No. 9, which is of course the meat of the whole group of Amendments. I beg to move.


I do not wish to oppose this Amendment, but I think it is right to point out that there is a slight error in it. It should read "… leave out from the first word ('Court') …", as there are two.


I thank the noble Lord, Lord Allerton, for drawing my attention to this point. This is at the line 29, after the words "the High Court" to the end of the sentence.


As has been shown by the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, this Amendment is designed to ensure that the Bill will not apply to Scotland. During the Second Reading of the Bill, the difficulties which would arise in Scotland were demonstrated clearly by the noble Viscount and others. Your Lordships will be aware that the distances and problems of remoteness are difficult in Scotland, and that the horse population is nothing like as large as it is in England. Indeed, even if there were many farriers, in many areas, which there are not, I doubt that they would be able to get a living in the remote parts of Scotland, owing to the distances involved and the comparatively small number of animals requiring to be shod. This does not mean that the few horses and ponies that exist are unnecessary. They are very necessary; indeed their work could not be done in any other way.

In the past, Parliament has always been understandably cautious in considering legislation to control various professional and business activities. Measures which might have the effect of taking away the livelihood of a person, or even a part of his livelihood, in general have been enacted only when they could be shown to be in the public interest. I do not believe that the inclusion of Scotland in this Bill is in the public interest. If this Bill goes through in its present form, there are many districts where horses and ponies could not be used at all if their owners are to keep within the limits of the law. There are parts of Scotland where ponies and horses can be used unshod, but even in those areas, the feet of the animals would require paring and rasping from time to time, which apparently can be done only by a registered person. My thoughts on the Bill have been much influenced by the Second Reading speeches of the noble Lords, Lord Wells-Pestell and Lord Wigg. Indeed, it might be appropriate, in view of the subject of this Bill, if I were to quote from Jorrocks: We seem to be adding to the theory with as little practice as possible.

4.33 p.m.


Speaking from this Bench, may I say that this is a completely non-political Bill. What has been said by my noble friend, Lord Allerton, and by the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, is perfectly correct, and I am sure no one would wish to argue against what they have said. When one considers the areas North of the Clyde on the West side of Scotland, and North of the Tay on the East side of Scotland, what the noble Lord. Lord Allerton, said is absolutely right. The horse population is small, so farriers are almost nonexistent. I hope my noble friend Lord Newall will see his way to accepting this Amendment because otherwise it would result, as my noble friend has said, in the horse population having to be completely reduced or else the law being broken, which I think would be a great pity and would be stupid.


Since the Bill was introduced, I have canvassed round Scotland to try to ascertain what the feeling is there, and I found that few people had seen the Bill. With the exception of one or two people, none knew about it. There are only a few people in Scotland who see the Horse and Hound, and in that publication they had seen one or two of the letters. If training is to be encouraged, one of the bodies which ought to be brought in is the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society who run the only Show in Scotland, and run a competition for farriers. They have not heard about the Bill. Your Lordships may well laugh, but this is a fact. I spoke to the Director, and he got on to the Secretary, and they did not know about it. I was told the Bill was widely supported by the veterinary surgeons. I rang up two of the largest veterinary practices in the Highlands—neither had heard about the Bill. They had received no communication on it. I should point out that one veterinary surgeon said that he heard something about it on the car wireless, but they had received no communication from any veterinary organisation or anyone else, so it is hardly right to say that the veterinary organisations supported it.

I tried the Regional Commissioner of the Pony Club, who was hotly opposed. I tried several members of the British Horse Society Committee in Scotland, and a great many of those people were opposed. Only the chairman was somewhat in favour of it. When I questioned one or two people, they said, "Oh, we had a meeting only a month ago; this was never brought up at the meeting". So to say that the British Horse Society in Scotland supported it, cannot carry any weight. One problem we have is that many ponies are not used during the winter months. In the spring, pony trekking, Pony Club work, and so on starts, and this goes on throughout the summer. This means there is a rush to get the animals shod by Easter time.

During the winter months, there is practically nothing for a farrier to do. To qualify to be a registered farrier, a man has to be working regularly in farriery for an average of 18 months out of 24. Of course, many farriers in the North are working only part-time. Apart from their training which we are all in favour of, some farriers would be out of work. It would not greatly encourage training, so far as I can see, because if we are to have training in Scotland, we do not want the English body which would be set up and which, I think, is in Schedule 1. the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. There is a separate body in Scotland, the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas was to be on it. They are separate bodies in Scotland.

If this Bill is to apply to Scotland, we would have to alter the whole Bill and put in a separate Training Council for Scotland. The Bill would have to be altered. It would be easier to leave out Scotland at this stage. In a year or two, if it works well in England and Wales, we could have Scotland with a separate Bill and a separate Training Council.

4.39 p.m.


As one who is an interested party as I breed ponies in an offshore Island of Scotland, I should like to support warmly the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, as I did on Second Reading. It is a fact that offshore islands are further away from centres where many able farriers might normally live. As I see it, if this Amendment is not accepted it will mean that fewer persons are allowed legally to shoe horses, and it would affect the inshore islands in Scotland. In order to make a livelihood—the point made by my noble friend Lord Allerton—it is vital that they do other things in connection with ironwork; as well as shoe horses or ponies, because there is a limited supply of them, they have to weld things, they have to work as foremen plumbers, and to deal with motor cars, at all stages of their lives. Therefore, I warmly support my noble friend Lord Thurso in this Amendment.


I have listened carefully to the noble Lords who have spoken. I am not sure what is in their minds. The Amendments taken together would have the effect of applying the Bill to England and Wales only and not, of course, to Scotland. The issue of whether or not there should be a separate Scottish Council and whether or not there should be a separate Scottish Bill was raised, as your Lordships will remember, during the Second Reading. I do not know whether I am right in saying that those who favour the Amendments have in mind a separate Scottish Bill, or whether it is their intention not to have a Bill, resulting in an Act, at all.


Perhaps I may intervene on this point. It is clearly our intention at the moment to leave Scotland out of the Bill, because we do not think Scotland would be well served by the Bill. We are not pressing for a Scottish Bill. We are reserving judgment on whether Scotland could be well served by including it within the Bill, if it is passed and shows itself to be successful in England. We feel that those who are interested in the horse and who think that to be relieved of having the Bill would be a disadvantage would do well to get together in the meantime and see what they can do about encouraging training within Scotland. I do not suppose that we would require a Bill in order to bring together bodies like the Royal Highland Agricultural Society, the Scottish Small Industries Trust, the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; these bodies could all be brought together without having the Bill, and we could then see what we could arrange by way of training. At this stage it is in our minds to leave Scotland completely out of the Bill, so that we can see what success we can have in arousing interest in the training of farriers, and what success the Bill will have when applied to England and Wales.


I am much obliged to the noble Viscount. If it is the intention of noble Lords from Scotland ultimately to have a Bill I would have thought that this is the time to consider it. I would accept that there are some subjects, and I do not want to go into them all, such as local government, education, housing and so on, where it is desirable to legislate for Scotland alone. I accept, if I may be permitted to say so, that there are sometimes traditional reasons why Scotland should have its own Acts of Parliament peculiar to Scotland. One reason, of course, is the different legal background, which is markedly different, as we all agree, from England and Wales. But it is not immediately obvious, at least not to me, what factors would justify separate Scottish legislation in the case of the Farriers Registration Council.

The general principle of having a Registration Council was, I think, endorsed at Second Reading. The matters raised by the Bill now before your Lordships' House should, I think, be applied to Scotland. On the face of it, the best course would seem to be to have a single Council for the whole of Great Britain, and I would accept the necessity—not just the desirability, but the necessity—of having representation on it from Scotland. The noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, mentioned during the Second Reading debate that there were fewer farriers in Scotland than in England, and a greater problem of training. I remain doubtful, however, whether a Scottish Council, if it is the intention ultimately to have a Scottish Council, could be regarded as a viable organisation in any sense of the term. As I understand the position, there are about 120 farriers in Scotland, and even with an increase in the figure there would be problems in keeping a Council going which depended on an income from fees. That it could make a greater contribution to training than a larger Council, I would have thought, with great respect, seems most unlikely.

I would say to your Lordships that the arguments of principle seem to be perfectly clear. If the case for a Farriers Registration Council is accepted, should not the Council cover Great Britain as a whole? Are Scottish conditions so distinctive in this field that a Scottish Council would be justified, and, if so, I think noble Lords from Scotland, provided it is their intention to have registration along the lines suggested in the Bill, have to ask themselves whether this could possibly be self-supporting. Taking all these factors into account, I must advise your Lordships to oppose these Amendments if they are pressed to a Division. I think it would be in the long run much more desirable to have a Council for the United Kingdom. As I say, I am in some difficulty because I am not clear what is in the mind of the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, whether he is putting off the possibility of ultimately having a Council, or whether it is firmly fixed in his mind that a Council is not necessary at any time in Scotland.


May I come back on that? The noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, has said that he would advise your Lordships that it is essential to have one Registration Council for the United Kingdom. How in that case does he envisage as desirable the situation in Northern Ireland? Why is Ireland being left out of this? Surely if it is possible for it to be satisfactory to leave Ireland out it is equally possible for it to be satisfactory to leave Scotland out.

I should like to try to explain to the noble Lord what is in my mind, because clearly he is not looking at the same problems that I am looking at. It seems to me that there is no reason at all why any farrier in Scotland, if the Bill is not applicable to Scotland, should not register, as indeed some do now, with the Worshipful Company of Farriers or any other organisation with which they wish to register. If they registered with the Worshipful Company of Farriers then they would have to comply with all the regulations which the Worshipful Company lays down from time to time. I see nothing to stop this happening if the Bill does not apply to Scotland. But, if the Bill does apply to Scotland, a number of farriers will be stopped from practising, and I do not think we can afford this to happen. I do not think a case has been made out to show that horses are being damaged in Scotland. We have had a case made out, by the other noble Lords whose names are on this Amendment, to show that horses would suffer severely from not being shod at all if the Bill were to go through as it stands.

Therefore at this moment we think it would be desirable for Scotland to be omitted. I do not see anything in adopting that course to prejudice the situation should matters change. Should we be able to achieve a good rate of increase in the number of farriers available in Scotland we might consider it desirable to apply all its provisions. We are not seeking to set up a Scottish Council for the registration of farriers. Our Scottish farriers can be registered in the City of London, if it were so wished, and if they complied with the regulations. We feel there are people in Scotland who are now successfully, humanely and skilfully shoeing horses but who would be debarred from so doing by the Bill if it became an Act of Parliament; but worse still, that the sort of people who 'have learned to shoe to this standard, those who have been trained to a standard sufficient to shoe the hill ponies during the season, will no longer be available because they will be debarred from learning to do it unless they appretice themselves to a registered farrier. Frankly, in many places that would not be possible. This is the point which the other noble Lords whose names are appended to the Amendment, have been trying to make.

At this stage we feel we do not necessarily want to ask for a separate Council to be set up in Scotland. In the meantime let those who care and can qualify use any Council that is set up under the aegis of the Worshipful Company, but leave Scotland out and leave it to try, as it has successfully done in the case of the drystone dikers, to encourage training in this ancient art.

4.53 p.m.


May I put another point of view which probably has not been heard? On the Second Reading I spoke as warmly as I could in favour of the Bill. I believe it is desirable and that we should do all we can to get it on the Statute Book. From the arguments of the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, and other Scottish Peers from whom we heard on earlier occasions, it is obvious that there will be opposition from the Scottish element to their being incorporated in the provisions of the Bill. I do not regard this as being the spirit of Scottish Nationalism rearing its ugly head. I see it from the point of view that there are only about 100 farriers in Scotland. I want to see the Bill passed. I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Newall, who is the sponsor of the Bill, would perhaps be contributing more to its rapid passing if he were to say:"We will exempt Scotland from its provisions." Not only have we to consider the Scottish opposition that comes to this House, but also the Scottish opposition that will come to another place. I feel therefore that the whole Bill might be wrecked if we insist on incorporating Scotland in its provisions.

I should like to see an all-nation Bill, including Scotland; but if it is to be a question of getting the Bill through for England and Wales and wrecking it by including Scotland, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Newall—I do not mean to be presumptuous in giving him advice—will be well advised to say: "All right, let us stick to England and Wales and make almost certain of getting the Bill through this Session".


I do not want to enter into the merits of this matter, but the noble Lord, Lord Somers, was correct in saying that the Amendment is not in order. I sincerely hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, will not press it to a Division.

The Amendment reads: Page 7, line 29, leave out from ("Court") to end of line 30. In page 7, line 29 the word "Court", appears twice. This Amendment could apply to either and it ought not to be left to anybody other than the House itself to decide which it should be. The House does not know and will not know, if the Committee divides on this Amendment, to which the noble Lord is actually referring and whether the context of his remarks might have made it clear. May I advise the noble Lord to submit a Manuscript Amendment, if he proposes to go to a Division, setting out that he is intending to apply his Amendment to the first word "Court" and not to the second?


I thank the noble Lord, Lord Champion, very much for his advice. May I ask the Committee if it is in order for me to submit a Manuscript Amendment now?


As I was, unfortunately, not here on Second Reading I should like to interject at this point. I live in an area where a great deal of riding occurs. We have three packs of hounds and riding and walking are practised almost to exactly the same extent; that is to say, practically everybody who can walk can ride. An enormous amount of riding goes on in Roxburghshire, as the noble Lord, Lord Burton, knows very well, and in other areas. I know people who are anxious that we should have this registration, that our farriers should qualify and should be as good as any other farriers. I think that they are just as good. If the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, is correct in saying that they can register with the Farriers Council without the Bill, then perhaps what I am saying does not count. But I think that we want to encourage a higher and better standard; we want to encourage more farriers. Because of the number of pony clubs existing not only in our area but in the Highlands or elsewhere—pony trekking being a favourite sport for many people to engage in—it is important that Scotland should not be left out. Whether or not by having a separate Bill we can get round it, I do not know. But I do not like the thought that the whole standard of this ancient and most important skill will be improved and then somebody will say that Scotland is not up to it. I believe they arc up to it. I do not know whether what the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, says is true, that people who are now shoeing horses will not be allowed to do so as a result of the passing of the Bill. I know that my blacksmith would and does shoe horses exceedingly well. He cannot persuade his son to carry on the business after him. This is a great sorrow to me. He is very good, and there are many others in Roxburghshire who are extremely good and who would readily register under these conditions.

While I could not take part in the Second Reading debate, I did have one or two people writing and talking to me about the subject. On the whole most people who are keen on riding, hunting or pony trekking are anxious to see more farriers trained to a higher standard of horse shoeing than we attain now. If this process will be helped by the Bill, we should accept it and go ahead on those lines.

5.0 p.m.


While, obviously, there is a certain amount of dissension in the Committee, I should hate those noble Lords who have nothing to do with horses to think that there is any real conflict. There is possibly some disagreement as to how the Bill should be worded and whether certain aspects and areas of the country should be omitted. I come here to speak for people who are not able to be here; not for various noble Lords, who I am sure have the best intentions and whose views I do not doubt. I should like to speak for many people who are not able to be here and have not a voice in your Lordships' House.

I seriously believe that a great deal of Scotland is not so very different from many of the wilder parts of England. That is the first and most important point which ought to be made. Secondly, there are many more problems with regard to farriers in urban areas than in the very wild areas. I have various pieces of information from 14 pony trekking associations in Scotland, going from Perth to Skye, who have all said that they never have a farrier travelling more than 40 miles, and that is the absolute extreme. So I cannot believe that in every case the distances involved are as great as the noble Lord, Lord Burton, implied. There are certainly no livelihoods to be taken away by this Bill. There are very many parts of this Bill which allow part-time as well as full-time people to continue being farriers, and there is no reason why they should not do so if they are reasonably active and are good at their job.

Paring was mentioned by, I think, the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso. Paring is not part of this Bill, unless it has to do with dealing with a hoof in preparation for a shoe. I do not think that the argument of the noble Lord, Lord Burton, about ignorance being an essential part really carried weight. He said that it should not happen in Scotland on account of ignorance, but I have put down Amendment No. 8 which I think fills the bill much better. I shall not go into too much detail, except to say that it allows the Secretary of State to leave out any part of the country—whether it be Scotland or anywhere else—if he thinks fit after receiving the advice of various horse organisations. I submit to your Lordships that that is a far better way of dealing with this point, particularly if there is so much ignorance about this Bill in Scotland. I should like to mention very briefly the organisations which have taken the trouble to notify me that they are in full support of this Bill so far as Scotland is concerned. These are the people I mentioned as being those for whom I am speaking since they are not themselves able to be here to speak to your Lordships. There is, first of all, the Scottish Committee of the British Horse Society, who have unequivocally given me their support.


May I interrupt the noble Lord on this point? The Scottish Branch of the British Horse Society met about a month ago, and this matter was not on their agenda. They have never discussed it, and several members of that Committee strongly disapprove of the Bill.


In contradiction of the noble Lord, Lord Burton, I should like to draw his attention to the fact that the Scottish Committee have a development management committee who have been given power to make decisions on matters of this sort. That development management committee have given their total support to this Bill, whether or not there are members of the other committee who do not support it. Obviously, they do not! have 100 per cent. support, but the committee as a whole have said that they agree and want the Bill. Secondly, the Scottish National Pony Society have endorsed it. As to the pony trekking associations which I have mentioned, I will not give your Lordships all their names but I have information from 14 of them to the effect that they are in favour of it. They are the ones registered with the Scottish Sports Council. Then there is the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which has already been mentioned to-day. That Society have also given their support to this Bill. The British Field Sports Society in Scotland has also indicated to me that they are in favour of this measure.


May I interrupt the noble Lord once more? I am a member of the committee of the British Field Sports Society in Scotland, and we have not been consulted.


I am very sorry that the noble Lord has not been consulted, but they as a society have told me that they endorse this Bill. The British Equestrian Federation, and all the Scottish people connected with it, have also endorsed this Bill. All the Scottish farriers, as a group, have endorsed this Bill. The Scottish Division of the Veterinary Association, who are very much in touch with the aims and aspirations of this Bill and who know very much more about horses than a great many people here, have taken the trouble to tell me only to-day that they fully support this Bill. The Scottish Small Industries Council also support this Bill; and every single horse organisation which is British, and which therefore covers Scotland, has supported this Bill. There is not one organisation which has said that it does not support this Bill.


May I interrupt the noble Lord once more? I consulted the Highland Pony Society and the Shetland Pony Society, and neither of them have been consulted.


I do not think I mentioned those two societies; I mentioned all the British societies. If you have a particular local one, it will obviously have local views. All I can say is that there is no real division of feeling here. 1 feel I am representing the people who cannot speak in your Lordships' Committee and who cannot be here, but if there is any doubt in your Lordships' minds as to who has more on his side we should perhaps wait and use Amendment No. 8. Then, if the Secretary of State wishes, he can change the Bill so that any part of the country can be left out on the recommendation of those who really know.


I am at a slight loss in knowing to which Secretary of State the noble Lord, Lord Newall, is referring. Does he mean the Secretary of State for Agriculture in England, the Secretary of State for Scotland in Scotland, or both?


if the noble Viscount will forgive me, "the Secretary of State" is a terminology used by lawyers these days. There is only one Secretary of State, so far as the lawyers know, and the term applies to whichever one is most applicable.


I am not really tremendously encouraged by the reply of the noble Lord, Lord Newall, to the points which we have made on this

Amendment. In the first place, I asked him to tell us what cruelty he knew was taking place in Scotland due to these part-time farriers, but he has not been able to tell us of any cases. I would claim that we who have put down our names to this Amendment are just as much entitled as anybody else to say that we are speaking for people who cannot come to your Lordships' Committee and speak for themselves. To say anything else would suggest that we were speaking here in your Lordships' Committee solely for selfish motives, and I assure your Lordships that that is just not true of any of the noble Lords whose names are down to this Amendment. We sincerely believe that in this matter we are thinking of the interests of the horse. We are also thinking of the interests of people who derive their living, their recreation or their enjoyment from using or associating with the horse or the pony; and in that we include breed societies like the Highland Pony Society and the Shetland Pony Society. These are not little local clubs; they are societies concerned with breeds of horse.

We still feel very strongly on this matter, and we must press this Amendment to a Division. I have therefore tabled a manuscript Amendment to leave out from the first "Court" in line 29 on page 7, and I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Champion, for giving me the appropriate advice. On behalf of those who have our names down to this Amendment, I ask your Lordships to support this Amendment, as amended by the manuscript Amendment.

5.8 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 2), as amended by a Manuscript Amendment, shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 56.

Allerton, L. Lloyd of Kilgerran, L. Rankeillour, L.
Ardwick, L. Mancroft, L. Stonehaven, V.
Barnby, L. Margadale, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Barrington, V. Meston, L.
Burton, L. [Teller.] Mowbray and Stourton, L. Thurso, V. [Teller.]
Byers, L. Moyne, L. Vernon, L.
Denham, L. Nunburnholme, L. Vivian, L.
Dundee, E. Orr-Ewing, L. Wade, L.
Grimston of Westbury, L.
Archibald, L. Berkeley, B. Boothby, L.
Arwyn, L. Birk, B. Brockway, L.
Auckland, L. Blyton, L. Champion, L.
Chorley, L. Greenwood of Rossendale, L. Northchurch, B.
Cowley, E. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Peddie, L.
Cromartie, E. Phillips, B.
Daventry, V. Halsbury, E. St. Just, L.
de Clifford, L. Helsby, L. Sharples, B.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Hill of Luton, L. Shepherd, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Douglass of Cleveland, L. Hylton-Foster, B. Slater, L.
Ebbisham, L. Ironside, L. Snow, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. [Teller.] Jacques, L. Somers, L.
Elton, L. Leatherland, L. Stow Hill, L.
Ely, Bp. Long, V. Strabolgi, L.
Emmet of Amberley, B. Maelor, L. Summerskill, B.
Gaitskell, B. Malmesbury, E. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Garnsworthy, L. Melchett, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Gifford, L. Merrivale, L. White, B.
Greenway, L. Newall, L. [Teller.] Wise, L.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 [Offences by unregistered persons]:

5.17 p.m.

LORD MARGADALE moved Amendment No. 3: Page 8, leave out from beginning of line 17 to ("to") in line 18.

The noble Lord said: If it would be convenient to the Committee as a whole—and I understood from the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, originally that it might be convenient—I should like to speak to the next two Amendments together. If that is the wish of the Committee may I go forward with Amendments Nos. 3 and 4? If there are no objections I take it that I may.

The point of this part of Clause 16 is that by making it a criminal offence for an unregistered person to carry out farriery, the provision will make it more difficult for the owner of a horse to get it shod because the number of persons holding themselves out as being willing to shoe horses is likely to be much reduced if the clause is enacted in its present form. In so far as the Bill encourages the proper training of farriers and enhances the status of farriery, it is wholly admirable, as practically every speaker indeed has said. Moreover Clause 16 is unobjectionable in so far as it would prevent persons from passing themselves off as being qualified when they are in fact not so qualified. In the past, Parliament understandably has been cautious in considering legislation to control various professional and business activities. Measures which might have the effect of taking away a person's livelihood have in general been enacted only when it can be shown to be in the public interest.

From the summary of the law relating to certain activities, to which I will come in a moment, it will be seen that so far as Clause 16 is concerned it seeks to impose in respect of horses a standard which in many ways is higher than that set by Parliament in respect to people dealing with human beings. In regard to architects, for instance, Section 1 of the Architects Registration Act 1938 prohibits any person from practising or carrying on business under any name, style or title containing the word "Architect" unless he is registered under the Architects Registration Act 1931, with certain exceptions such as registration required for the possession of proper qualifications. However, there is no prohibition against practising as such.

The same idea takes place in the registration of Hairdressers Act 1964—a voluntary system of registration for hairdressers. There are no penal provisions. In fact, although it does not take her long now, my wife cuts my hair perfectly legally and is not breaking the law, but in the proposed clause in this Bill somebody other than a registered person doing it would be breaking the law. For medical practitioners the Act contains no prohibition against practice by unregistered persons although they must describe themselves according to the qualifications to practice which they have.

A number of other ancillary provisions exist. Section 6 of the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act 1960, as amended, regulates the use of titles such as State Registered Chiropodist, State Registered Dietician, State Registered Medical Laboratory Technician, State Registered Occupational Therapist, State Registered Physiotherapist, State Registered Radiographer, State Registered Remedial Gymnast and State Registered Orthopedist, but the Act does not prohibit the practice by unregistered persons. I believe—if I may say so with respect to my noble friend Lord Newall who is having more "chat" about this Bill than he reckoned he was going to get—it would make for some form of compromise, and a happy compromise, if he could see his way to leaving out Amendments 3 and 4 which would take out the penal clause, at the same time encouraging, particularly by this debate, young farriers to come along and make unnecessary other Amendments which may be pressed on him at a later stage for omitting this, that and the other in outlying areas where it is of very vital concern that they be preserved. I beg to move.


I should like to support this Amendment, I have practised as a hairdresser; I used to cut my father's hair when he was ill in bed. Unfortunately, as your Lordships will notice, none of my family have deigned to practice the art on me—it might be a very good thing if they did. Joking apart, I think it is unnecessarily penal to seek to enforce the provisions of this Bill by making it absolutely impossible for anybody who is not fully qualified in every aspect of farriery to practise farriery at all. It has already been recognised at earlier stages of the debate and in parts of the Bill that there are indeed people who could not qualify in every sense as full farriers who will be accepted in the first crop. I think these are the people we are concerned about here—the part-time people on the Islands off the shores of Scotland and the remoter districts of Wales, Scotland, England, anywhere—who may be perfectly well able to be trained to do some day-to-day farriery of a very good standard and thereby relieve the situation in the remoter districts. Therefore, while quite seeing the point for retaining the prohibition on people putting themselves forward as being farriers when they are not I should like to support this Amendment. Nevertheless, I do not feel that we should stop people from practising farriery if they are capable of doing so effectively.


I wonder whether your Lordships will allow me just a little time to put the position as the Government see it. We want to be as fair and as balanced as possible. Clause 16(1) makes it unlawful for a person not registered under the Bill either to carry out farriery as defined in Clause 18 or— to use or adopt the style, title or description farrier' or 'shoeing smith' or any other style, title or description similar thereto or which may be calculated to deceive or mislead or cause any person to believe that such person is so registered. The proviso to subsection (1) however enables farriery to be carried on by the following classes of persons: (i), apprentice farriers; (ii), persons on farriers training courses; (iii), veterinary surgeons; (iv), persons training to be veterinary surgeons; (v), persons giving first-aid to a horse in case of emergency, or (vi), owners of horses; that is to say, in certain circumstances exemption is available to the prohibition on carrying out farriery, but no exemption is afforded to the prohibition of laying claims to the title of farrier.

These Amendments before the Committee, which are linked, would remove the prohibition upon an unregistered person carrying out farriery. Removal of the total prohibition also removes the need to make certain exemptions. Accordingly, the second Amendment deletes the proviso to subsection (1). If the Bill were enacted with these Amendments the effect would seem to be that in order to claim to be a farrier—which amounts in practice to carrying on the trade of farriery—a person would have to be registered under the statutory scheme. But then a person could shoe a horse without being registered. If, however, he claimed to be a farrier he would commit an offence. The objection to these Amendments is that they will allow anyone, however incompetent, to shoe a horse provided he does not claim to be a farrier. The labourer or factory hand will not therefore be excluded.

It could be represented that this will destroy the whole purpose of the Bill of seeking to prevent cruelty to horses by incompetent shoeing. This may, however, be an extreme view. The sponsors are concerned, first, to stop the totally unskilled, those with no competence whatever, from shoeing horses; and, secondly, to secure better standards in those who carry on the trade of farrier. They have argued that the emergency of the casual farrier has been caused by the shortage of fully trained and qualified farriers. If that shortage is to be remedied there will be no need for horse owners to turn to the casual farrier.

As I see it, the central argument of the sponsors and of those who support the Bill is that it will relieve the shortage of competent and qualified farriers by encouraging recruitment through the statutory regulation scheme, which will give the trade status. There is some merit in that, and it will ensure an adequate standard of competence in those who practise the trade. Accordingly, as the Government see the situation, on the sponsors' arguments the situation that they seek to remedy would seem to be met by the imposition of a compulsory registration scheme for those who wish to call themselves farriers, who are, in practice, those who wish to carry on the trade.

It may be argued that as this does nothing to prevent any incompetent from trying his hand, it will not give the farriers' trade the status that it requires. If the statutory scheme is given good publicity—as it will be in whatever form it is introduced—will the owner be likely to risk his horse in the hands of an unregistered man, when a registered man is available? If, nevertheless, an owner permits his horse to be shod by an unregistered man, knowing him to be unregistered, and the unregistered man causes suffering he is liable to prosecution under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, as is the owner who may also be deprived of his horse. If the unregistered man falsely represents that he is registered he will be committing an offence, as he will be under the Bill as it is drafted. In effect, all that the Bill does is to create two offences additional to those under the 1911 Act rather than one, which the unqualified man can commit if he wants to make money out of the shoeing of horses.

The Bill as drafted could have one undesirable consequence. If for any reason the statutory registration scheme does not produce an increase in the number of farriers and the number goes down, or if in a certain region or district a shortage of registered farriers exists or develops—for example, through the ill-health of the local farrier, or because he decides to move for family reasons— horses will either have to go unshod or, in order to prevent their suffering in this way, more owners will have to risk shoeing horses themselves or using persons without qualifications. If there were a shortage of farriers, these Amendments would enable horses to get some attention without the law having to be broken, and the existing law—namely, the Protection of Animals Act 1911—would provide a safeguard against unnecessary or wanton suffering as it can and should do now.

There is something to be said in favour of these Amendments, and the Government can probably draw attention to the various considerations advanced. It is argued that a compulsory registration scheme for those who want to do regular business as farriers will increase the number of competent farriers by enhancing the status of the trade, by improving standards of farriery generally, and by minimising the risk of an unqualified man having to be invited to shoe a horse. The issue of these Amendments turns upon balancing the risk that allowing an unregistered person to shoe a horse will leave open the possibility of cruelty being caused to horses, which is beyond the control of the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which will devalue the status of the registered scheme, with the danger that closing the door to all unregistered persons could in certain circumstances cause suffering to horses because there were no farriers at all available to shoe them.

The points for and against could be said to be reasonably balanced, and this is a matter which must be left to your Lordships to decide. I do not wish to give the Committee advice on this matter, because the arguments on both sides are very finely drawn. There are certainly a number of points in favour of the Amendments, and a number of points against them, and it is a matter which must be left to your Lordships' good sense.


Much as I respect the infinite wisdom and experience with horses of the noble Lord, Lord Margadale, I find myself in disagreement with him once again. I very much endorse the words of the noble Lord, Lord Wells-Pestell, but I feel that this Amendment would completely defeat the objects of the Bill.

The main problem, as we all know, is that there are not enough farriers, and there are very few ways in which we can get more farriers very quickly. Therefore, we have to take the long term point of view; and the long term point of view is simply that there are several dozen farriers waiting to be trained, apprentices waiting in the wings, as it were, who cannot find masters to take them on. There is no other way of training them properly at the moment without giving them to a master for a period of training, for four years. The problem with the masters is merely that they are very often unprepared to take on an apprentice because after a very brief period of training the apprentice can go off and start his own business, or he can get fed up and do something quite different—it does not really matter what. The point is that he can take away the industry and the practice which the master farrier has built up over a number of years. If we allow some people to go around still practising farriery without even claiming to be, because of the shortage we are going to be left with exactly the same situation we have now, where I believe people come out from factories and do a quick shoeing job and nip back ready for their next shift. Very often their motives are not very bad, they are just ignorant. They are not trying to be cruel or do any damage but the damage that is often done does not appear until several days later. Anybody who has had a horse will know that you can lame a horse, but the lameness will not necessarily appear until a little later. If we allow people to go round practising as farriers, whether they call themselves farriers or not, we will be exactly in the same state as we are at the moment, and this is the state, as I have mentioned before, that all horse organisations, all the present farriers and veterinary surgeons around the country are trying to remedy. For that reason, in spite of the fact that I see there are some aspects particularly for the Highlands and Islands and out-of-the-way places, I do not think that it would benefit the Bill to include this Amendment.

There is one other aspect we must consider. If we have this registration of all farriers, many local councils will cast a much more favourable eye on this trade. They will not necessarily be asked for money, nor will they provide it. But they may provide a building or a place where farriery can take place, and even where a master can train an apprentice or two. Therefore, if the noble Lord, Lord Margadale, will withdraw his Amendment, there may be a solution. It is not a major point at issue, like the last one, and if he is prepared to withdraw the Amendment we can talk about it with the people who know a great deal about the matter, and find a solution with which we should all be happy.


In view of what the noble Lord, Lord Newall, has said, I am happy to withdraw my Amendment. But I hope that full consultations with the Farriers Company and other interests concerned all round will take place. I believe that a compatible solution which is helpful to the industry and to young farriers will then emerge. I therefore beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

LORD NEWALL moved Amendment No. 5: Page 8, line 38, at end insert ("or").

The noble Lord said: This Amendment is fairly simple. Those of you who have followed the proceedings during Second Reading of the Bill will know that it allowed owners to shoe their own horses. There are differing points of view on this provision. The reason it was inserted was a legal one, and several lawyers said that because this cannot be overseen or looked at properly and the law cannot be enforced, we have to say that owners must be able to shoe their own horses. On the other hand, time has passed and various other people have said that it is not necessary. Since many people were against owners shoeing their own horses, I felt it would be better for this matter to be left out of the Bill altogether, as it is not necessary. Therefore I ask for your Lordships' support in removing this anomaly. which was there for a legal reason. I beg to move.

LORD NEWALL moved Amendment No. 6: Page 8, line 40, leave out from ("horse") to end of line 41.

The noble Lord said: I think this is exactly what I was talking about before, and therefore I beg to move.

VISCOUNT THURSO moved Amendment No. 7: Page 9, line 10, leave out ("or the Summary Jurisdiction (Scotland) Act 1954").

The noble Viscount said: In moving Amendment No. 2, I made it clear that it was the first of a series of Amendments which were all designed to do the same thing. I have consulted with the noble Lords, Lord Allerton and Lord Burton, though not with the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde; and we have agreed that in the circumstances we should ask leave to withdraw all these Amendments and hope perhaps to come back to the fray at a later stage if we are not satisfied with what emerges in discussion between the noble Lords, Lord Newall and Lord Margadale. I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 17 agreed to.

LORD NEWALL moved Amendment No. 8:

After Clause 17 insert the following new clause:

Exclusion of specified areas

".—(1) The Secretary of State may by order made with respect to any specified part of Great Britain provide that for such period not exceeding five years as may be prescribed by the order section 16 of this Act shall not apply to the part of Great Britain so specified.

(2) Any order made under this section shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

(3) Before making any order under this section with respect to any specified part of Great Britain the Secretary of State shall consult the Company, the Council, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the National Master Farriers', Blacksmiths' and Agricultural Enginees' Association, the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas and the British Equestrian Federation, and may consult such other bodies as appear to him to be representative of the interests of farriers or owners of horses within that part of Great Britain.

(4) Notice of the making of any order under this section shall be published by the Secretary of State, if the order relates in whole or in part to England or Wales, in the London Gazette and, if the order relates in whole or in part to Scotland, in the Edinburgh Gazette."

The noble Lords said: After Clause 17, I think it is fairly obvious to those of your Lordships who have been listening to the discussion that there is some feeling in the Committee that there are parts of the country which are slightly different and therefore should be treated slightly differently, albeit the way in which that should be done has been the subject of some argument. Therefore I felt it necessary that in the event of there being an area which would suffer hardship if the Bill become law, there should be some provision inserted (which there was not previously) to enable the Secretary of State to delete any part of the country which he thought necessary, on the advice of those organisations most closely concerned. Therefore this new clause allows the Secretary of State to delete or omit any part of Great Britain for a period not exceeding five years. Obviously the period may be shorter, but if it were for more than five years it would have to be redone. The object is that if an area is hurt and has not its own training scheme, some method should be put into practice to enable them to have more farriers in the long run. This would allow some flexibility in parts of the country which are slightly different from the majority. I beg to move.


I am not terribly happy about this Amendment. It was only recently that I read this Amendment in full and it seemed to me to contain one or two difficulties. The first is that the time element is purely arbitrary. There is no provision for deciding what shall be a satisfactory set of provisions—and this is what the whole discussion is about. It is not a question of saying that one wants to be left out for five years, ten years or forever, but that one wants to be left out until such time as satisfactory conditions can be gained. Therefore I wonder whether the noble Lord, Lord Newall, might not wish to think again about this particular Amendment and to include it in the discussions he proposes to have regarding the Amendment which was withdrawn by the noble Lord, Lord Margadale.

In this way we might see how to achieve some general agreement on how to deal with the remoter areas, because I am not sure that, as drafted, I would find this clause satisfactory. I am sure that, for example, the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran, is not too happy about it, as it would apply to the remoter parts of Wales. Therefore, I would invite the noble Lord, Lord Newall, to throw this matter back into the melting pot along with the subjects of Amendments Nos. 3 and 4, which were withdrawn.


I should like, if I may, to support the noble Viscount, Lord Thurso. I hope that this matter can be reconsidered.


May I say that, once again, we have a body that it is suggested should be consulted—the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas—which is not a body which applies to Scotland. Once again we are having legislation foisted on Scotland which does not apply to them, so I would support the suggestion that this matter should be further discussed before the Report stage.


I have taken to heart what has been said. Perhaps I may add quickly that it does say, The Secretary of State may by order… Obviously it depends on what the order says. An order may be made to say a great many things, and therefore the time limit is not necessarily arbitrary. I refer to the point matte by the noble Lord, Lord Burton. Obviously if this is to apply to Scotland, the Secretary of State would he very unwise if he did not consult any Scottish equivalents of the bodies which have been mentioned. I think that goes without saying. In view of the mood of the Committee at the moment, I should he glad to undertake to look at this matter again, and I therefore beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

Schedule 1 agreed to.

Schedule 2 [Constitution of the Investigating Committee]:

5.48 p.m.

LORD NEWALL moved Amendment No. 11: Page 13, line 21, at end insert— ("( ) Of the said five other members so elected at least one shall be a practising farrier or shall previously have been actively engaged in carrying out farriery for a period of not less than five years").

The noble Lord said: If I may, I should like to speak to Amendments 11 and 12 together. Even though I understand that we cannot actually deal with them both together, the object of both Amendments is to ensure that in the Disciplinary Committee and the Investigating Committee, which are there to control the problems that may arise once this Bill becomes an Act, at least one person on those Committees is actually a practising farrier, or one who has been actively engaged in carrying out farriery for a period of not less than five years. Obviously some of the questions involved in these Committees will have a direct relationship to the art of farriery, others to points of law and other matters. It is essential to ensure there is at least one farrier on the Committee. Therefore for that reason I felt it necessary to make these two Amendments.


I have been in disagreement with the noble Lord, Lord Newall, on several occasions this afternoon, but I now have much pleasure in supporting him.

Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 3 [The Disciplinary Committee]:


I beg to move Amendment No. 12.

Amendment moved— Page 13, line 40, at end insert (", of whom at least one shall be a practising farrier or shall previously have been actively engaged in carrying out farriery for a period of not less than five years").—(Lord Newell.)

Schedule 3, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with the Amendments.