§ Sir C. CAYZER
asked the Minister of Agriculture the number of worn-out horses which were exported for butchery purposes last year; the average number which are being exported each week this year and whether he has made any personal inquiries recently into the conditions under which this traffic is being carried on?56W
NOTE.—From 1st April, 1923, the term "United Kingdom" does not include the Irish Free State.
§ Mr. BUXTON
I would point out that no worn-out horses are now exported. The Ministry's regulations as to the fitness of horses shipped abroad are stringently enforced, and they secure that all horses exported are in every sense working horses. Concurrently with this, there has been a considerable increase in the export of horse carcases to the Continent, viz., from 16,000 carcases in 1920 57W to 52,000 in 1923, which indicates that the trade in live horses has been mainly converted into a trade in horse flesh. The Ministry, however, has no control over the disposal of horses when disembarked on the Continent and the proportion of horses of British origin which are ultimately slaughtered for food is not known. The weekly average of shipments of all classes of horses to Holland, Belgium, and France was 318 during 1923 and 413 during the first 17 weeks of this year. A close watch over the trade is constantly kept by officers of the Ministry. With regard to the last part, I have recently discussed the matter with representatives of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.