HL Deb 14 July 1980 vol 411 cc1599-600WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are aware that in a journal Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 51, 158–168 (1979) published in Berlin and Hamburg, there appeared a paper by T. M. Caro headed "Psychology Dept., University of St. Andrews, Fife" and entitled "Relations between Kitten Behaviour and Adult Predation"; and what steps they propose to take to make known in Germany that the experiments described in the published paper were the subject of a prosecution and the conviction of Professor Robert Prescott (who supervised the experiments) under Section 1 of the Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 at the Sheriff Court Cupar on 20th March 1978.


I am the Minister responsible now for prosecutions in Scotland although I was not at the time of the prosecution of Robert Prescott. I am however familiar with the facts of that case and I have also had the benefit of reading the article by T. M. Caro to which the noble Lord refers. I deplore the article which describes experiments with animals. The sheriff in his judgment statedI am of the opinion that the overwhelming weight of the evidence in this case points to cruelty and unnecessary suffering having been caused to these animals used as prey during these experiments". Although I approve the prosecution which took place in this case and the subsequent conviction, and can assure the noble Lord that if similar circumstances are reported to me again there will be again prosecution, I do not consider that it is appropriate for the Government to make any public statement in Germany on this matter.