asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the sufferings which cattle undergo in their transit from Canada and other countries for slaughter at British ports; whether, in view of these cruelties, he will direct his inspectors to investigate and report upon the present condition of the traffic; and, in the event of these reports confirming the allegations of cruelty, will he take measures, in cooperation with the Canadian Government and Governments of other countries concerned, to end these cruelties?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN:
Every possible precaution is taken to safeguard cattle sent across the Atlantic to this country. Provisions are contained in the Foreign Animals Order of 1910 issued by the Ministry for the protection of animals on the voyage, and I understand that the vessels also have to pass Regulations laid down by the Governments of the exporting countries. Reports are made by the Ministry's inspectors as to the conditions of the animals on arrival in this country. There is no evidence of cruelty, but from the nature of the case a certain amount of suffering is unavoidable when prolonged heavy weather is experienced. The number of casualties since the resumption of the traffic early last year has been small, but there was one serious case in September last when 57 cattle out of 285 on board were lost in the North Atlantic in a very heavy and prolonged gale.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, before the Canadian cattle embargo was imposed shiploads of cattle used to be put ashore in Scotland without any evidence whatever of their having suffered any hardship; and is he further aware that in several cases not only did the number of cattle which left Montreal arrive at a port of destination in Scotland, but even more appeared on the voyage?