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Clause 2—(Short Title, Citation And Commencement)

Volume 466: debated on Friday 24 June 1949

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

11.5 a.m.

I beg to move, in page 1, line 15, to leave out "August, nineteen hundred and forty-nine." and to insert, "January, nineteen hundred and fifty."

I was advised to put this Amendment down to give another place more time to consider the Bill; and, of course, it may be of assistance to slaughtering establishments in the event of their having to make some adjustment of their equipment.

Amendment agreed to.

11.6 a.m.

I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read the Third time."

I am very grateful to the House for its good will, which has so far facilitated the progress of this Bill. I ask the House only to extend its good will for a few minutes more in order that the Bill may receive its Third Reading. For the benefit of Members not present during the Committee stage of the Bill, perhaps I should explain that the Bill applies only to pigs which are sent to slaughterhouses or knackers' yards. So far as I can make out—and it is rather difficult to make out—but so far as I can ascertain, humane methods in these establishments are already the practice, so it is quite possible that the Bill will make very little difference at all. I should like to think that about many Bills, and I am sure many of us would. However, one cannot be sure that as the law stands at present, pigs cannot be killed by any method in a slaughtering establishment, and so I introduced the Bill in order to make quite sure that, however many or however few these pigs may be, they do meet a humane end. After all, a pig is a most courageous animal, and I am quite sure it would not squeal for having its throat cut without good reason. Although it was not reported by HANSARD at the time, the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) said that in certain eventualities he would certainly seek protection under this Bill. For all I know, many of us may wish to seek protection under this Bill before our days are through. However, let us make quite sure that certainly as far as animals are concerned—pigs—their end is a humane one in slaughterhouses.

I should like to thank the Secretary of State and his Department for the assistance they have given me in introducing the Bill and during its progress through the House so far. I am very sorry that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ayr Burghs (Lieut.-Colonel Sir T. Moore) is unable to be present, because I know he was particularly keen on this Bill. He did tell me he would unavoidably be detained today, and that there was nothing he could do about being present. I am sorry he is not here because this was really his baby originally. All I can say is that I hope that he considers me a good midwife. I commend the Bill to the House. I think it is a Measure which is overdue. It has received a great deal of support in Scotland from very eminent bodies, and I urge the House most strongly to give the Bill its Third Reading.

11.10 a.m.

Although, as my hon. and gallant Friend has said, this Bill, which I hope will now get the Third Reading, does not take matters very much further, it at least puts the humble swine on a level with other animals used for human consumption. The pig is the most misunderstood of all domestic animals. Not only is it the cleanest in its habits, but there is not a part of it which is not of immense value; nothing is lost; and that cannot be said of any other animal killed for human consumption. Merely because the pig is regarded, quite wrongly, as something much lower than any other domestic animal is not to say that it should not receive the same humane treatment. That is something which requires righting, and this Bill, small as it is, is a step in that direction. I hope that a Bill will follow this to cover pigs slaughtered not in official slaughterhouses, so that the same humane conditions may apply everywhere.

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.