Is my right hon. Friend aware that, although a large number of these birds are imported into this country, the mortality rate among them is very high indeed? Is there not a paradox in this situation; that whereas, under the Protection of Birds Act, 1954, such birds as greenfinches and goldfinches cannot be sold alive unless close ringed or bred in captivity, nothing is being done about imported birds?
My hon. Friend appears to be an expert on this subject. I am aware of the keen interest he takes in it. As he knows, finches have been imported into this country for many years. The number of finches imported is believed to account for more than half the total number of birds imported. I am aware of what has happened in respect of some of the birds but as my hon. Friend knows, the question of the safety of birds carried by air is a matter for my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade.