Export of Cattle (Committee)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Fisheries and Food – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11 April 1957.

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Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West 12:00, 11 April 1957

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Committee now investigating the transportation of live cattle will report its findings.

Mr. Amory:

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I expect to receive the Report very shortly.

Photo of Mr John Eden Mr John Eden , Bournemouth West

Can my right hon. Friend say why it is necessary for him to await this Report? Could he not take steps to stop needless suffering to these animals by requiring their slaughter before shipment?

Mr. Amory:

The fact that I was in doubt whether that would be the right course to take was one of the reasons why I wished to have the advice of this Committee. I wanted its advice on wider issues also. I wanted it to establish the facts about what is occurring at present. When I have that information, together with the advice of the Committee, I shall be in a position to decide what is the right thing to do.

Photo of Mr Sidney Dye Mr Sidney Dye , South West Norfolk

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will amend the terms on which the Departmental Committee on the Export of Cattle for Slaughter to the Continent was appointed so as to enable it to inquire into the conditions under which sheep and pigs are exported for slaughter and to make recommendations.

Mr. Amory:

No, Sir. I am not aware that any such inquiry is necessary.

Photo of Mr Sidney Dye Mr Sidney Dye , South West Norfolk

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that quite recently an export trade in pigs and sheep has developed with the Continent? Has he not the same concern for these sheep and pigs as he has for the cattle, and would not the most expeditious way of dealing with this new trade be to get the same Committee to make inquiries about it?

Mr. Amory:

To the best of my knowledge, there has been virtually no trade to date in either sheep or pigs from this country to the Continent. Such a trade may, of course, develop in the future, in which case the same action would be required. If the hon. Gentleman has any evidence to the contrary, any evidence of any cruelty arising from such trade, I shall look at it with the greatest interest and attention.

Photo of Mr Frederick Willey Mr Frederick Willey , Sunderland North

In view of the fact that this subject may be discussed by the Council of Europe, will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to see that the Report is published, if possible, this month?

Mr. Amory:

I do not know exactly when I shall be receiving the Report, but I will arrange for it to be printed and published as soon as ever that is possible after I receive it.

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the very wide public anxiety about the export of live cattle to the Continent, and will he do everything he can to speed up the issue of the Report?

Mr. Amory:

Yes, I am aware of that. I will do my best to speed it up.