Straying Animals

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1973.

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Photo of Mr Neil McBride Mr Neil McBride , Swansea East 12:00 am, 23rd July 1973

asked the Secretary of State for Wales to what extent he has further considered the problems created in South Wales by straying animals.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The report of the interdepartmental working party is being published today and copies are being placed in the Library together with the report of a cost-benefit study by the Department of Economics, University College, Cardiff, which was commissioned by the working party. My right hon. and learned Friends have accepted the working party's recommendation that an official of the Welsh Office should be appointed to initiate and co-ordinate remedial action with the interests concerned.

Photo of Mr Neil McBride Mr Neil McBride , Swansea East

I protest most emphatically against the gross discourtesy extended to Welsh Members in that the report has been put on the board only in the last few minutes.

Photo of Mr Neil McBride Mr Neil McBride , Swansea East

Is the Minister aware that serious accidents have occurred in Swansea in the last fortnight in which four animals were killed, and that we are worried about the problem of animals straying which might result in human fatality? Is he aware that urgent action is required for motor car owners, especially in the hours of darkness? Will he consider introducing a brand mark system in order that owners of all animals may be known? The time for discussion has passed, and I and some of my colleagues say that action is now required.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

The hon. Gentleman raises a lot of questions. First of all, I am not responsible for Press reports. Secondly, when the hon. Gentleman has read the report of the working party—the first report on this subject ever made under any Government—into this most important question, and when he has also read the cost-benefit analysis prepared by University College, Cardiff, he will get a good idea of how the working party has worked and the conclusions to which it has come. The sad business to which the hon. Gentleman has referred is a separate matter, but if he writes to me I will certainly look at it.

Photo of Mr Leo Abse Mr Leo Abse , Pontypool

While we are grateful to the Western Mail for having given advance information about the report. may I ask whether the Minister agrees that it is abundantly clear from the recommendations made that those of us on this side who for years have pressed for such a report have been amply justified?

Further, would not the Minister agree that it is abundantly clear that this report will be as of naught unless and until the Government proceed to a new commons registration measure since in many constituencies so many sheep, goats and other animals have been registered that it appears, certainly in my constituency, that there are more animals than electors? Until such time as we have rationalised schemes under the last Act, the report will be as of naught. When will legislation be produced?

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

I could not pass an opinion as to how many goats there are in the hon. Gentleman's constituency. He and his hon. Friends and many outside organisations who have made representations to the Government on this important question should read the reports. They will find something in them which is extremely helpful to local authorities.

Several Hon. Members:

rose

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As you have cut supplementary questions on this subject, I beg to give notice that at the first opportunity I shall raise on the Adjournment both the subject and the leak.

Photo of Mr David Gibson-Watt Mr David Gibson-Watt , Hereford

Further to that point of order. I agree with some of the points the hon. Member made about commons registration, but—

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. I have no desire to "cut" questions, but we have been seven minutes on two Questions. We must get on.