asked the Secretary of State for War what contracts have been granted to a Mr. Christopher, of Lincoln, or a firm known as De Mulders, Doncaster, or Hermann Schapiro, Limited, Doncaster, to purchase Army horses in Doncaster, or elsewhere, which are aged or unfit for further Army service, what is the price paid for such animals; how were the contracts negotiated; and, in view of the fact that ex-Army horses are now yielding generous profits to horse slaughterers and butchers, he will offer such horses for sale by advertised or open tender, or attempt to secure prices equitably related to the wholesale prices for horseflesh now fixed by the Minister of Food?
The contracts with De Mulders and H. Schapiro were arranged by the General Officer Commanding, Northern Command, for the sale of carcases of horses which have died or been destroyed in military units in that Command. The conditions of the contract is that these carcases may not be resold for human consumption. It would be contrary to established practice to disclose contract prices. The contract with Mr. Christopher was placed by the Ministry of Supply.
Can my right hon. Friend assure us that the horses in question do not actually reach the horse-flesh butchers in the human consumption category; and is it not a well known fact in this particular trade that the new price lists issued by the Minister of Food mean that they are getting horses at £2 which are actually worth £10 in wholesale value immediately they come on to the market?