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Horses (Export)

Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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57.

asked the Minister of Agriculture what precautions are taken to insure that all horses exported on licence to Belgium and the Continent are not prevented by age or infirmity from being capable of work.

The exportation to the Continent of Europe of horses that are not capable of being worked without suffering is prohibited by the Diseases of Animals Acts. Except for certain special classes of horses, such as racehorses and breeding horses, every horse exported to Europe is examined by one of our veterinary inspectors and certified by him to be capable of being conveyed by sea and disembarked without cruelty and to be capable or being worked without suffering.

When my hon. Friend says that the animals are capable of being worked without suffering, have any precautions been taken to see that they are able to continue at work for some considerable time?

What control can the Government exercise over these horses once they reach the Continent? Would it not be much wiser not to be a party to this dubious traffic?

I think the answer to the Question is quite clear, but in so far as we are to go over last week's discussion, I would repeat that my right hon. Friend has undertaken to review the whole question to see whether anything useful can be done.

Would not a simpler way of dealing with the matter be that no horses should be exported at a value under, say, £100?

That is precisely the sort of matter which is being considered by my right hon. Friend.