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Protection Of Animals

Volume 21: debated on Friday 2 April 1982

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9.37 am

With your permission, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and that of the House, I beg leave to present this petition, which is the second and final instalment of the national petition for the protection of animals.

When I proposed the first instalment of the petition in November 1979 there were approximately 1·25 million signatories. As I said on that occasion, the inspiration and driving force of the petition was Mr. Bill Brown of Crowthorne. Unfortunately, Mr. Brown is no longer with us, but he cannot be praised too highly for his dedication to this cause. He was not of my political persuasion, but it was an honour to know him and the world is a sadder place for his passing. He did all that he could to enrich it and to show the way to a more civilised way of life. Since his death, his widow, Gladys, has carried on the petition, and this morning there is the impressive number of 435,359 extra signatories to it.

I would, with respect, read the terms of the petition:
To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The humble petition of citizens of the United Kingdom sheweth:—
That in November 1979 a petition signed by 1,226,000 citizens of the United Kingdom prayed that your Honourable House pass new legislation for the protection of animals.
That the Secretary of State for the Home Office believed that the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 was sufficient protection.
That a further 435,197 citizens of the United Kingdom have signed this petition requesting this Honourable House to urge the Secretary of State to reconsider his decision.
Wherefore your petitioners pray that your Honourable House will take all measures as may be necessary to—
  • (1) minimise the suffering of such animals before, during and after experiment;
  • (2) encourage the development of non-sentient alternatives, in order to phase out, as soon as is technically possible, the use of living animals for experimental purposes;
  • (3) forbid the use of living animals for non-medical purposes;
  • (4) establish much greater control over tests on living animals directed principally to commercial gain;
  • (5) remove the secrecy which surrounds the majority of registered animal experimental establishments;
  • (6) until alternatives replace animals for research, only those bred for the purpose, under meticulous control, shall be used;
  • (7) bring under control all procedures of a scientific nature involving animals for experimental purposes;
  • (8) prohibit the export of animals to countries having laws which offer less protection to laboratory animals than those in the United Kingdom.
  • And your petitioners, as is in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.

    I have great pleasure, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in presenting the petition to the House.

    To lie upon the Table.