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Clause 6—(Restrictions On Sale Of Live And Dead Wild Birds, Eggs, Etc

Volume 527: debated on Friday 21 May 1954

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Lords Amendment: In page 6, line 17, leave out "which" and insert:

"if any bird of that species."

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

This Amendment was made to meet a point raised a very long time ago by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Barking (Mr. Hastings). He raised it in Standing Committee on 17th December. I considered it between then and Report, and I thought that, perhaps, it was not necessary to make an Amendment to meet his point, but I went through the Bill again and considered the matter once more and concluded that, perhaps, he had indeed a case.

Subsection (1, b) prohibits the sale of eggs of wild birds of any species that nest in the British Isles in a wild state. It was thought that the words were ambiguous and could refer either to the species—although that raises the question whether a species can properly be said to nest—or to individual birds. The Lords Amendment makes it clear that the prohibition applies to any bird of a species nesting in a wild state in Britain. The provision does not apply to eggs imported from overseas because it could not be enforced because it would be impossible to tell where the egg had been laid. I thank the hon. Gentleman for having brought the matter up.

I thank the noble Lady for using any influence she may have in another place to have this Lords Amendment made. She makes light of it, but I look upon it as a very important thing indeed. I do not like people who make a business of collecting birds' eggs in this country and selling them for collections.

Without this Lords Amendment it would be very easy for them to carry on their nefarious trade. A dealer, for instance, may want to sell an eagle's egg that he had taken in Scotland. Were he prosecuted for doing so, then, without this provision, he could easily say, "This egg was not taken in Britain." He could say it was taken in Switzerland or in the Carpathians. It would be easy to make that defence. This provision makes it impossible to use such a defence for an action that, I think, we all want to render illegal. It may seem a minor matter, but I think it is a very important one indeed.

Question put, and agreed to.

Further Lords Amendment agreed to: In page 6, line 48, at end, insert:

(iii) in the case of an egg of a lapwing, at any time before the fifteenth day of April in any year.