Oral Answers to Questions — Live Hare Coursing

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd December 1969.

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Photo of Mr William Price Mr William Price , Rugby 12:00 am, 2nd December 1969

asked the Prime Minister how many letters he has received about live hare coursing during the past 12 months.

Photo of Mr William Price Mr William Price , Rugby

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us, on this side of the House at least, who have supported various liberal measures in relation to human beings would dearly like to come to a decision on at least one matter involving animal welfare? Is there any logic in society banning cockfighting and bull-baiting yet allowing stag hunting and live hare coursing?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I have made it a rule not to vote on Private Members Bills, and the Government have not taken up a position on this. From what I know of this so-called sport from my former constituency, I regard it, as I am sure most hon. Members do, as a barbarous anachronism.

Photo of Mr Arnold Shaw Mr Arnold Shaw , Ilford South

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that the vast majority of people in the country, and hon. Members, are in favour of the abolition of this so-called sport? Would not the Government use their own means of overcoming the methods by which people are using the procedures of the House to hold up Bills of this kind?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I should think that practically all civilised people are against hare coursing. We must see what is the outcome of the intention, notified by one of my hon. Friends, to introduce a Bill on this question.

Mr. Heller:

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the last two or three weeks the League against Cruel Sports has received well over 150,000 letters in support of the Bill which my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Arnold Shaw) is to introduce? Is it not time, despite the Government's attitude of neutrality, for them at least to give time to ensure that there can be a vote in the House, so that the full democratic process shall be carried out?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Since my hon Friend has secured a place in the Ballot we had better see how it goes before going into the question raised by my hon. Friend.