§ 2.49 p.m.
§ LORD DOWDING
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have studied the Petition on the Castration of Horses, delivered to them on Thursday, July 18; and, if so, what action they propose to take, if any.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (LORD ST. OSWALD)
My Lords, I assume 988 the noble Lord is referring to the Petition on the Protection of Animals (Anæsthetics) Act, 1954, presented in another place on July 18. My right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced in July last year that this Act would be reviewed in consultation with the veterinary profession. The British Veterinary Association have since made certain proposals for the improvement of the Act, and these have been considered in consultation with the farmers' unions and animal welfare societies. As a result of this it is our intention that amending legislation will be introduced and the castration of horses will be among the subjects to be dealt with.
§ LORD DOWDING
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his answer that he has given, and I am very much relieved to hear it.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, may I ask whether, when the noble Lord refers to amending legislation, he means amending legislation in the next Session of Parliament.
LORD ST. OSWALD
My Lords, as the noble Earl well knows, naturally I cannot give an assurance on that point, but we hope that there will be the minimum of delay.