Young Horses (Slaughter)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th July 1948.

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Photo of Sir Harold Sutcliffe Sir Harold Sutcliffe , Royton 12:00 am, 12th July 1948

asked the Minister of Agriculture if, in view of the indiscriminate slaughter of young horses, which is leading to a shortage for farm work, he will consider prohibiting the slaughter, except in cases of accident or sickness, of all working horses imported into England and Wales for a period of six months from date of arrival.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

No, Sir. I am not aware of any appreciable shortage of horses for farm work, nor would the scheme suggested be easy to enforce or be likely to produce significant results.

Photo of Sir Harold Sutcliffe Sir Harold Sutcliffe , Royton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that competition by slaughterers at auction sales for every available horse, many of which are in first-class condition, has raised the price to such an extent that small farmers in my constituency are unable to buy them for hay making, a purpose for which they are vitally necessary, and will he not do something to regulate this traffic?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I can assure the hon. Member that we are in close touch with the National Farmers Union and if they find that there is a tendency to reduce the number of horses below the requirements of agriculture, I am sure they will be the first to make representations.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore , Ayr District of Burghs

May we assume from those two answers that the Government have no intention of giving any support to the filthy traffic in worn out horses?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

The hon. and gallant Gentleman can make no such assumption.

Photo of Mr Ronald Chamberlain Mr Ronald Chamberlain , Lambeth Norwood

May we assume from this that horses are actually imported into this country for slaughter?

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

I believe that a few horses have been imported for slaughter, but where the carcase meat goes, whether for human consumption or for animals, I am unable to say. What I am sure about is that if the suggestion which has been made were applied and horses were not sent here, but were sent somewhere else they would be slaughtered anyhow.

Photo of Mr Ronald Chamberlain Mr Ronald Chamberlain , Lambeth Norwood

This is a horrible suggestion, and will the right hon. Gentleman look into it a little further and let the House know some details of this traffic?