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Lords Chamber

Volume 9: debated on Thursday 27 July 1911

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House Of Lords

Thursday, 27th July, 1911.

Port Of London (First Election Of Members) Provisional Order Bill

Reported, without amendment, and recommitted to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next.

London County Council (Money) Bill

Reported, with an Amendment.

Metropolitan Electric Tramways Bill

Read 3a , with the Amendments: A further Amendment made: Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.

Belfast Corporation Bill

Read 3a , with the Amendments, and passed, and returned to the Commons.

Public Roads (Ireland) Bill

Brought from the Commons.

City Of London (Various Powers) Bill Hl

Great Western Railway Bill Hl

Returned from the Commons, agreed to, with Amendments. The said Amendments considered, and agreed to.

Pier And Harbour Provisional Order (No 3) Bill

Returned from the Commons, with the Amendments, agreed to.

Appellate Jurisdiction Bill Hl

A Bill to make further provision with respect to the exercise by the House of Lords and the Privy Council of their Appellate Jurisdiction—Was presented by the Viscount Haldane; read 1a ; to be printed; and to be read 2a on Tuesday next. (No. 148.)

Protection Of Animals Bill

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—( Lord Saye and Sele.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Offences of Cruelty.

1.—(1) If any person—

  • (a) shall cruelly beat, kick, ill-treat, over-ride, over-drive, over-load, torture, infuriate, or terrify any animal, or shall cause or procure, or, being the owner, permit any animal to be so used, or shall by doing or omitting to do any act, or by causing or procuring the commission or omission of any act, cause any unnecessary suffering, or, being the owner, permit any unnecessary suffering to be so caused to any animal; or
  • (b) shall convey or carry, or cause or procure, or, being the owner, permit to be conveyed or carried, any animal in such manner or position as to cause that animal any unnecessary suffering; or
  • (c) shall cause, procure, or be a party to, the fighting or baiting of any animal; or shall keep, use, manage, or act or assist in the management of, any premises or place for the purpose, or partly for the purpose, of fighting or baiting any animal, or shall permit any premises or place to be so kept, managed, or used, or shall receive, or cause or procure any person to receive, money for the admission of any person to such premises or place; or
  • (d) shall wilfully, without any reasonable cause or excuse, administer, or cause or procure, or being the owner permit, such administration of, any poisonous or injurious drug or substance to any animal, or shall wilfully, without any reasonable cause or excuse, cause any such substance to be taken by any animal; or
  • (e) shall subject, or cause or procure, or being the owner permit, to be subjected, any animal to any operation which is performed without due care and humanity;
  • such person shall be guilty of an offence of cruelty within the meaning of this Act, and shall be liable upon summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds, or alternatively, or in addition thereto, to be imprisoned, with or without hard labour, for any term not exceeding six months.

    ( 2) For the purposes of this section an owner shall be deemed to have permitted cruelty within the meaning of this Act if he shall have failed to

    exercise reasonable care and supervision in respect of the protection of the animal therefrom:

    Provided that where an owner is convicted of permitting cruelty within the meaning of this Act by reason only of his having failed to exercise such care and supervision, he shall not be liable to imprisonment without the option of a fine.

    ( 3) Nothing in this section shall render illegal any act lawfully done under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876, or shall apply—

  • (a) to the commission or omission of any act in the course of the destruction, or the preparation for destruction, of any animal as food for mankind, unless such destruction or such preparation was accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary suffering; or
  • (b) to the coursing or hunting of any captive animal, unless such animal is liberated in an injured, mutilated, or exhausted condition; but a captive animal shall not for the purposes of this section be deemed to be coursed or hunted before it is liberated for the purpose of being coursed or hunted, or after it has been re-captured, or if it is under control.
  • I do not rise in any way to oppose this Clause., but merely to remove any possible misapprehension that might arise as to the probable application of paragraph (e). It might be thought at first sight that physiologists who engaged in experiments on living animals would be liable to prosecution to a greater extent than the present law admits. That view, however, would be erroneous, for this subsection must be taken in connection with subsection (3) of this clause which expressly exempts from the operation of the Bill all operations conducted under the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876. That Act admits of experiments being conducted on living animals under certain conditions. In these circumstances I should like to say, as President of the Research Defence Society, that that society is generally in entire accord with the objects which the Bill seeks to attain. Indeed, many of the members of that society are also members of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and welcome any attempts made to stop wanton cruelty. I may say I think that the promoters of this Bill have exercised a very wise discretion in leaving the vivisection question alone. Your Lordships are probably aware that a Commission has been sitting for some four or five years on that subject, and it would be manifestly undesirable to deal with a highly controversial matter of this sort until that Commission has sent in its Report. I should here like to express my earnest hope that that Report will not be very much longer delayed. A year ago I asked the noble Earl, Lord Beauchamp, a question on the subject, and he told me that he would do his best to hasten the publication of the Report. No doubt he has done so, but we are still waiting for the Report, and it is very desirable, if possible, that it should be published without further delay.

    Clause 1 agreed to.

    Clause 2 agreed to.

    had given notice to move after Clause 2, to insert the following new clause—

    ".If any person being the owner of any animal shall, by cruelty, within the meaning of this Act, do, or cause to be done, any damage or injury to the animal, the Court, upon his conviction for the cruelty under this Act may, in addition to any other punishment, deprive such person of the ownership of the animal, and may make such order as to the disposition of the animal as they think fit under the circumstances."

    The noble Lord said: It has been suggested that my Amendment is too severe, inasmuch as it would inflict a double penalty. I therefore do not propose to move the Amendment in its present shape, but I hope to bring it forward on the Report stage in an altered form.

    Clauses 3 to 5 agreed to.

    Clause 6:

    Poisoned grain and flesh, &c.

    6. If any person—

  • (a) shall sell, or offer or expose for sale, or give away, or cause or procure any person to sell or offer or expose for sale or give away, or knowingly be a party to the sale or offering or exposing for sale or giving away of any grain or seed which has been rendered poisonous except for bonâ fide use in agriculture; or
  • (b) shall knowingly put or place or cause procure any person to put or place, or knowingly be a party to the putting or placing, in or upon any land or building any poison or any fluid or edible matter (not being sown seed or grain) which has been rendered poisonous, except for the purpose of destroying rats, mice, or other small vermin, and fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent access thereto of dogs, cats, fowls, or other domestic animals,
  • such person shall upon summary conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding ten pounds.

    I move to omit from paragraph (b) the words "or any fluid or edible matter (not being sown seed or grain) which has been rendered poisonous, except for the purpose of destroying rats, mice, or other small vermin, and fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent access thereto of dogs, cats, fowls, or other domestic animals," and to insert at the end of the clause the proviso standing in my name on the Paper. This is an Amendment simply with the object of clearly explaining the wording. The provision as it stands when submitted to several experts ill legal terms was declared not to be clear.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 4, line 40, leave out front ("poison") to the end of paragraph (b).
    Page 5, line 7, after ("pounds") insert ("Provided that in any proceedings under paragraph (b) of this section it shall be a defence that the poison was placed by the accused for the purpose of destroying rats, mice, or other small vermin, and that he took all reasonable precautions to prevent access thereto of dogs, cats, fowls, or other domestic animals").—(Lord Saye and Sele.)


    Would the noble Lord kindly tell us what he includes under the expression "or other small vermin"? As I read his new proviso, it would prevent poison being put down for the purpose of destroying ravens and other animals which prey on flocks and herds. I am told that the matter is one which is regarded as of some importance in Ireland, and the Bill, as your Lordships know, applies to Ireland.

    There is an Amendment to be moved later on with regard to Ireland.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 6, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 7 agreed to.

    Clause 8:

    Extension of powers of Board of Agriculture and Fisheries with respect to the making of Orders.

    8.The powers oil the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries under section twenty-two (which relates to power for the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to make orders for prevention or checking of disease and other purposes) of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, to make orders for the purposes of the protection of animals from unnecessary suffering and of the proper supply to them of food, water, and ventilation are hereby extended to the making of such orders with respect to fowls.

    I move to leave out Clause 8. This clause is unnecessary, as it is covered by the Poultry Bill which has passed both Houses and is now waiting for the Royal Assent. I am sure your Lordships will agree that we do not want any duplication.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 5, leave out Clause 8.—(Earl Carrington.)

    On Question Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 9:

    Inspection of traps.

    9. Any person who sets, or causes or procures to be set, any spring trap, shall inspect, or cause some competent person to inspect, the trap at least once in every twelve hours, and if any person shall fail to comply with the provisions of this section he shall be liable upon summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five pounds.


    Surely the term "spring trap" is rather too vague. It would include a mouse trap, and I do not think that the noble Lord would consider it a crime to leave a mouse trap unattended for twelve hours. I think we should have a clearer definition of what is a spring trap.

    I am not an expert in this matter, but I dare say that at the next stage that point may be met.

    I agree, but the term "spring trap" is much more comprehensive. I therefore think it would be better to omit the clause now, and the noble Lord in charge of the Bill could bring up a new clause at the Report stage defining the traps to which the clause is intened to apply.

    Amendment moved—

    To leave out Clause 9.—(The Earl of Derby.)


    I would ask the noble Lord to consider whether this clause is worth keeping in the Bill. The object is one with which we all sympathise. It is evidently to prevent some wretched animal which has been caught in a trap remaining in that trap and suffering misery for a number of hours; but is it possible to provide any machinery by which you can ensure that all spring traps will be visited at intervals of less than 12 hours? A man is to be liable to be fined £5 if he has not inspected his traps within that interval. Is this not a well-meant clause which it would be difficult to enforce in practice?

    It is considered that this provision would act as a considerable deterrent.

    "Spring trap" is such a wide expression that a mole trap as well as a mouse trap would come under it. Surely it is not desired to fine a man £5 if lie does not visit such traps every 12 hours.

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Clauses 10 to 15 agreed to.

    Clause 16:

    Application to Ireland.

    16. This Act in its application to Ireland shall be subject to the following modifications, namely:—

  • (a) A reference to the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland shall be substituted for a reference to the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries;
  • (b) Section twenty-three of (he Summary Jurisdiction (Ireland) Act, 1851 (which gives a light of appeal), shall apply as respects any conviction or order under this Act (other than an order for the destruction of an animal), notwithstanding that the fine imposed does not exceed twenty shillings or that the term of imprisonment imposed I does not exceed one month;
  • (c) A reference to section twenty-four of the I Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, shall be substituted for the reference to subsection (3) of section thirty-one of the Summary Jurisdiction act 1879
  • I have a small consequential Amendment to move in this clause. As the Amendment of the noble Earl the President of the Board of Agriculture has been accepted, paragraph (a) in this clause is no longer needed. I there fore move to delete it.

    Amendment moved—

    Clause 16, delete paragraph (a).—(Lord Herschell).

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.


    moved to add at the end of the clause the following new subsection—

    "(2) Nothing in section six, which relates to poisoned grain and flesh, &c., of this Act shall prevent owners or occupiers of land in Ireland from laying or causing to be laid any poisonous matter as therein described, after a notice has been posted in a conspicuous place, and notice in writing has been given to the nearest constabulary station."

    The noble Lord said: This subsection was in the Bill as originally introduced in he House of Commons, but was struck out on the Motion of an English Member, here happening to be no Irish Members present. It is almost word for word the same as the proviso in Clause 2 f the Poisoned Flesh Prohibition Act of 1864, 27 and 28 Vic., c. 115. That Act is repealed by this Bill, and therefore it is necessary to insert this subsection to give Irish farmers the same over of protecting their stock as they had under the previous Act. The proposed withdrawal of this power has been received with absolute consternation in Ireland, and any one who knows that country is not surprised at it. The country is infested with wandering dogs of one description or another. Every occupier, even the smallest cottager, keeps a dog, with what object nobody can ascertain, hey are of no use whatever, but the dog tax being only 2 s. 6 d. in Ireland they continue to be kept. These dogs fill up their time in the day by barking after every one who is driving or riding on the roads, and at night by roaming over the country for miles seeking what icy can devour. They are never tied up except when the owners know that land in the locality is poisoned.

    To show the feeling that exists in Ireland on the subject I will read a resolution passed by the Agricultural Committee

    of the Armagh County Council and also by the Armagh Board of Guardians. There would have been, I have no doubt, many similar resolutions adopted by other bodies: if time had permitted it. The resolution to which I have referred runs as follows—

    "That the attention of all Irish Members o Parliament lie drawn to the Protection of Animals Bill which has been read a third time in the House of Commons, and to the Amendment inserted at the instance of Mr. Ashley, which will prevent owners and occupiers of land in Ireland from laying down poisonous matter after a warning notice has been posted and the local constabulary informed. There are few Irish farmers who have not suffered through having their sheep and lamb worried at night, by dogs, and if they are prohibited from protecting themselves by laying down poison, not only will the loss be much greater, but farmers in many districts will be obliged to cease keeping sheep. We therefore appeal to all Irish Members of Parliament to use their influence to prevent the Amendment, in question from becoming law."

    I have also received the following letter from the Secretary of the Dublin Farmers' Association—

    "My Lord, I understand that it is your Lordship's kind intention to move an Amendment in Committee to that clause of the Animals Protection Bill which aims at depriving Irish farmers of the liberty to poison their lands, which is the principal means at their disposal to protect their flocks from the depredations of straying dogs. My Committee and I feel sure all Irish farmers will feel grateful for your Lordship's sympathetic interest in getting this threatened grievance averted. The heavy Losses annually inflicted by canine marauders constitute one of the most serious disabilities under which the sheep breeding industry suffers, and should your Lordship desire to be furnished with some specific information as to the extent of these losses I shall be quite ready to supply same."

    Unfortunately as the Committee stage of this Bill was originally put down for last Tuesday, I had not sufficient time to obtain this specific information; but a letter which appeared in the Irish Times a few days ago gives an instance of what takes place. The writer says—

    "Would you allow me space to enter a protest against the law being changed, which allows farmers in Ireland to put out poison on their lands after proper notices have been posted on the lands and served on the police? Not long ago I had a valuable flock of brood ewes, which were attacked by dogs at night, and two of them killed. I complained to the police, who I found were unable to help me. On the other hand, I was informed that if I shot these dogs I would be liable to prosecution or an action for damages. I watched at night, but though the dogs came and rushed the sheep out of my fields I was unable to identify them, and to catch them was quite impossible. Next night they came again and hunted one of the sheep into some bushes, in which it was held by the head. The dogs ate off all the hind quarters and part of the back while it was alive, and what was left by the dogs was alive the following morning when I found it. I then cut up and poisoned the pieces of this sheep, and next day I had two immense brutes dead in the field. Nobody about this district could identify them, and the owner has never been known. I lost a good many of these ewes during THE lambing season from the result of the hunting, and their sufferings were very great."

    Apart from the serious loss suffered by farmers, the question of humanity also comes in. This Bill is for the protection of animals, and surely the unfortunate sheep are quite as much entitled to protection as the dogs which worry them. I therefore beg to move; the insertion of the new subsection standing in my name.

    Amendment moved—

    Page 9, line 11, after ("1879") insert the following new subsection—

    "(2) Nothing in section six, which relates to poisoned grain and flesh, &c., of this Act shall prevent owners or occupiers of land in Ireland from laying or causing to be laid any poisonous after as therein described, after a notice has been posted in a conspicuous place, and notice in writing has been given to the nearest constabulary station."—(Lord Clonbrock.)

    This is an Amendment which is entirely in accordance with the views of the Irish Department of Agriculture, and I feel sure that practically all the Irish Members and the Government would be very glad to see it inserted in the Bill. I am glad to know that the noble Lord in charge of the Bill is willing to accept it. I have, however, one small verbal Amendment to suggest—namely, to cut out the. words "which relates to poisoned grain and flesh, &c," and to insert a little further on the words "poison or." The subsection auld then read,"Nothing in Section 6 of this Act shall prevent owners or occupiers land in Ireland from laying or causing to be laid any poison or poisonous matter as therein described …"

    May I ask whether at increases the power which existed under the old Act?

    accepted Lord Herschell's verbal Amendments to the proposed new subsection.

    The country Council of my county—Tyrone—have lately passed an order that every dog in the county should wear a collar with the name of the owner thereon. I think that if that could be extended to every district in Ireland it would have a very good effect. It would then be possible to find out to whom the dogs which do this serious damage belong.

    I merely rise to say that I am absolutely in favour of the inclusion of this proposed new subsection in the Bill, and I see no objection to the slight verbal alterations proposed by the noble Lord opposite.

    I can say, from my own personal experience, that my noble friend's Amendment is absolutely necessary. These dogs are never fed, and they are left out at night and roam for miles killing chickens and lambs wherever they find them. The new subsection would be no hardship on the owners of these dogs, for if they chose to tie them up the dogs would not be poisoned.

    Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

    Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

    Remaining Clauses agreed to.

    The Report of Amendments to be received on Tuesday next, and Bill to be printed as amended. (No. 150.)

    Small Holdings And Allotments Bill Hl

    Amendments reported (according to Order).

    I do not know whether this is a suitable moment to do so, but I should like to ask the noble Earl in charge of this Bill to explain the exact reason why he draws a line between the cultivator and the owner of the small holding. Under the recent Act all small holdings were protected from compulsory acquisition—that is to say, where a landowner or his predecessors had established small holdings upon the estate the county council could not come down upon that property and say that they wished to compulsorily acquire those small holdings. Now the noble Earl has brought in an amending Bill which, after certain experiences in Committee to which I shall not refer, has emerged in this form—that only the interest of the cultivator in the small holdings is to be protected. So far the noble Earl has modified his original proposal. But the interest of the owner in the small holdings is not to be protected. I do not ay that it is very likely, on the face of it, that a county council would wish compulsorily to acquire a small holding from which they could not disturb the occupier, but they might wish to do it having regard to the general policy which they were carrying out in the district. I do not think that your Lordships would desire to encourage the interference of county councils in the ownership of small holdings any more than in the occupation of small holdings. It may be a good plan, but we have had no argument from the noble Earl why this distinction should be made. The facts upon which the noble Earl has gone, are, we know, extremely exiguous. Indeed, there was only one particular instance which he was able to give us. What he has now to establish is the distinction between ownership and occupation. If he is willing to protect the occupier, why is he not willing to protect the owner as well?

    The question put to me by the noble Marquess shows he great difficulty there is in understanding he language of the country in which you live. I was under the impression—I suppose I am wrong—that as the greater includes the less so cultivator included owner.

    That is a matter of opinion; but I am perfectly willing to put in any word that will include both. There is no desire on our part to exclude he owner of 50 acres. We want to make him as safe in the holding as the man who cultivates it, and if the noble Marquess will assist me in finding some word in the English language which would include both I should be under an obligation to him.

    I think the point would be met if we struck out the words "cultivated by him."

    No. I move to strike out the words "cultivated by him"; and if it is necessary to make any further drafting Amendments they can be made on Third Reading.

    Amendment moved—

    In Clause 1, line 13, to leave out ("and cultivated by him"), and in line 14 to leave out ("cultivated by him").—(The Marquess of Salisbury.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Will the noble Earl state when he proposes to put down this Bill for Third Reading, because on that occasion I shall move that it be read a third time that day six months.

    It is not my Bill. I am not at all surprised that the noble Earl is ashamed of the paternity of the Bill. I asked him on what day he proposed to put down the Third Reading.

    The House, I understand, will not be sitting on Monday next. Therefore I will put the Third Reading down for Tuesday.

    Bill to be read 3a on Tuesday next, and to be printed as amended. (No. 149)

    County Courts Bill Hl

    Read 3a (according to Order).

    I move to amend Clause 18 (Appointment of assistant Judges) by adding words enabling the appointments to be made in Lancaster by the Chancellor of the Duchy. In the County of Lancaster the appointments are made by the Chancellor of the Duchy, but it is for the Lord Chancellor to decide whether the state of business requires additional assistance. The clause as printed in the Bill already contains the words, but they have been inserted in error. Therefore the proper course is now for me to move them formally in order that they may lawfully form part of the Bill.

    Amendment moved—

    Clause 18, page 11, line 14, after ("requires") insert ("and in the County of Lancaster the Chancellor of the Duchy if the Lord Chancellor is so satisfied may").—(The Lord Chancellor.)

    On Question, Amendment agreed to.

    Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

    Public Roads (Ireland) Bill

    Read 1a , and to be printed. (No. 151.)

    Corporation Of London (Bridges) Bill

    Report from the Committee of Selection that the Five Lords appointed a Select Committee on the Greater London Railway Bill do form the Select Committee for the consideration of the Corporation of London (Bridges) Bill; read, and agreed to: All petitions referred to the Committee, with leave to the Petitioners praying to be heard by Counsel against the Bill to be heard as desired, as also Counsel for the Bill.

    Business Of The House

    My Lords, there is no business on the Paper for Monday, and therefore, with the concurrence of noble Lords opposite, I move that the House do adjourn until Tuesday next.

    Moved, That the House do adjourn until Tuesday next.—( Earl Beauchamp.)

    On Question, Motion agreed to.

    House adjourned at Five o'clock, to Tuesday next, Three o'clock.