§ Mr. A. HERBERT
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he can shortly make a statement of his policy with regard to the export of horses; if he can definitely prohibit the export of aged horses to France or Belgium; and if it is possible to come to an agreement with France and Belgium with regard to the proper treatment of horses and the punishment of French and Belgian subjects who maltreat them?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The Ministry's policy with regard to the export trade in horses has already been indicated in answers to questions put on the 15th August last by my hon. Friend the Member for Acton, and on the 25th ultimo by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for York. In substance, that policy is so to administer the provisions of the Exportation of Horses Acts as to ensure that worn-out or decrepit horses,i.e., horses unfit for work, shall under no circumstances be passed for shipment, and that every practicable step shall be taken to secure the comfort of the animals during the passage. For this purpose a very high standard of fitness to travel and to work is insisted upon, and a great improvement has been effected in the fittings of the vessels used for the trade. With regard to the latter part of the question, I understand that the maltreatment of horses is already punishable under French and Belgian law, which I have no doubt the authorities do their best to enforce.