HC Deb 20 April 1921 vol 140 cc1903-4W

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the official report upon the subject, he can see his way to recommending the abolition of the traffic in worn-out horses between this country and the Continent?


The Diseases of Animals Act, 1910, as amended by the Exportation of Horses Act, 1914, prohibits the shipment of any horse, ass, or mule unless it has been inspected by a veterinary inspector appointed by the Ministry and has been certified in writing by him to be capable of being conveyed and disembarked without cruelty, and to be capable of being worked without suffering. It is not possible, therefore, to ship worn out horses which are fit only to be slaughtered if the existing statutory requirements of the Acts referred to are complied with. The Ministry recognises that, as stated in the Report referred to, cases have occurred in which horses have been shipped which did not comply with the standard laid down, and energetic steps are being taken to prevent any repetition of these unfortunate occurrences. The Ministry has had under consideration the possibility of legislation to prohibit the traffic entirely. The difficulty lies, however, in making any proposal which would not interfere with the legitimate trade in fit horses. The Ministry is endeavouring to negotiate with the Governments concerned to ensure the slaughter of horses intended for food before shipment, and does not propose to bring forward any legislation until the result of these negotiations has been seen.