asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is yet in a position to announce the terms of reference of the committee to be set up to inquire into practices which may involve cruelty to animals.
Yes, Sir. The terms of reference will be as follow:
Is my right hon. Friend aware that his important and satisfactory answer will give great pleasure to all lovers of animals, who will hope that it will lead to the establishment of a code of humanitarian practice in this country which will be the admiration of the world?
May I also say that I hope the right hon. Gentleman realises that this point of view is shared by hon. Members in all sections of the House who desire to see the abolition of cruelty to animals? May I also ask whether there is any question of the right hon. Gentleman extending the terms of reference to cover other than mammals?
Is it too late to reinforce the penultimate part of my right hon. Friend's Question, and ask that the terms of reference should be altered, even now, to include all animals and not merely wild animals?
No, this matter arose I think on a quite specific issue that had been raised in the House. It is desirable that some decision should be reached at a reasonably early date, and to widen the terms of reference will prevent that being done.
While finding the terms of reference generally satisfactory, may I ask my right hon. Friend whether, among those exclusions, he includes animals brought to this country for experimental purposes—for war purposes?
No, I think it refers to vivisection.
Does the word "British" cover Great Britain, the whole of the United Kingdom, the British Colonies also, or what?
It covers that part of the country which is subject to the jurisdiction of this House.
May I ask the Secretary of State if the term "wild animals" would include the tame carted stag? May I have an answer?