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Deer Poaching (Committee)

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 18 May 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he in tends to proceed with the Deer Poaching (Scotland) Bill.

My right hon. Friend has not yet received the report of the committee which was set up to inquire into the question of a close season for deer in Scotland.

As the committee was appointed two years ago, in July, 1952, is it not a scandal that nothing has been done in the meantime? Is my hon. Friend aware that hinds that are due to calve in the next week or fortnight are being shot by poachers and the calf is being cut out and thrown away? When will the Government take steps to bring in legislation to stop this sort of thing?

I am aware of these distressing circumstances, but my hon. Friend will be glad to know that the committee has now completed its evidence and we expect its report before the end of the Session.

Does it deal with deer poaching on the farmer's ground, or with somebody poaching on the deer?

Is it not the case, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ton-bridge (Mr. G. Williams) has pointed out, that this annual slaughter of the hinds is becoming a very serious matter? In the view of many of my constituents, the Bill is much overdue, and I urge my hon. Friend to take steps to bring it in.

I agree with my hon. Friend, but, obviously, we cannot proceed until we have the report of the committee, which should be with us now quite soon.

If there are to be priorities for suggested legislation, what preference is to be given to the Teachers' (Superannuation) Bill and other suggested Measures? Will that Bill have precedence over deer-poaching legislation?