asked the Minister of Fuel and Power to what extent pit ponies are being obliged to work two shifts in 24 hours at the present time.
A special investigation made in the summer of this year showed that the great majority of ponies work only one shift a day. At certain mines in the Northern coalfield a proportion of the ponies, ranging from 5 percent. to 25 percent. and in one exceptional case 40 percent. were found to be working extra shifts, not daily but in turn. Elsewhere there were isolated instances of a few ponies working extra shifts in turn, or occasionally. In some cases the ponies working extra shifts were specially examined by the Ministry's consulting veterinary surgeons, who found them to be well cared for and in fit condition; but nevertheless steps are taken to reduce any working hours which are considered by the Inspector to be unduly long.