HL Deb 24 May 1976 vol 371 cc10-1

2.54 p.m.


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

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the Report of the Committee which has been reviewing the licensing arrangements for the ownership of dogs.

Baroness BIRK

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Sport and Recreation is at present studying the report and considering the question of publication.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Baroness for that reply, may I ask whether she would agree that a revision of the arrangements is now urgent because of the real danger of rabies reaching this country, resulting from the continual smuggling of animals despite the new penalties? Further, would she agree that the abandoning of large numbers of pets each year, particularly in towns prior to the summer holidays, requires this revision?

Baroness BIRK

My Lords, the Working Party reported to my right honourable friend only last month. I am sure that he will, in consultation with other Departments, wish to decide as quickly as possible about publication. On the question, to which I think the noble Earl was referring, of rabies, where dogs have been imported, the responsibility for control lies primarily with my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Most of these questions in general, and many other questions concerning dogs, have been discussed, and recommendations have been made by the Working Party.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Baroness whether she will continue to press her right honourable friend for the publication of this report? My noble friend who raised this subject is quite right; there are millions of dogs affected by this. May I ask her whether, in view of the 26 Acts, I think, which cover dogs, this committee's recommendation should be made public at the earliest opportunity?

Baroness BIRK Yes, my Lords, on both points.


My Lords, would the noble Baroness say why dog licensing appears to come under the aegis of the Minister for Sport and Recreation?

Baroness BIRK

No, my Lords, it does not; it comes under the Home Office. The Working Party was set up by the Minister for Sport and Recreation and has reported to him. but the contents of the report cover a number of Government Departments, including the Home Office on licensing, the Department of Agriculture on importing.