The Cabinet Secretaries' Notebooks (CAB 195/7)

Return to list

Blood Sports Bills

Blood Sports Bills

H.M. 

Two Bills a) fox hunting  b) more general including coursing, but not foxes.
H.O. have helped in drafting a clause - without prejudice.
Do we wish in principle to avoid getting involved in this controversy. Predominantly a farmers' recreation - not aristocrats!

T.W. 

Govt. shd. not support at all.
Diff. to keep down deer by shooting or poisoning.
Purely rural recreation - part of rural life. Little point in cruelty point - as cpd. eg. with Jewish slaughter house. Much exaggerated.
Destn of this traditional feature of country life wd. undo all the good we have done by our agricultural policy.
Awkward if we let it pass H/C and H/L turn it out. Tories wd. then get all the credit in rural areas.

C.E. 

Support T.W. largely. Two approaches 
a) There is some cruelty, tho' amount is exaggerated.  
b) Traditional rural life.   b) is strongest argument v. Bill.
Strong Labour vote (fr. urban members) in favour is likely. Majority of Party will prob. vote for it. Bill shd. be opposed by M/Ag. not H.O. (Agreed).

H.D. 

Height of political lunacy to bring these Bills fwd. just before Election.

P.M. 

Means legislating in advance of public opinion. 
Cruelty case at least as strong v. shooting.

H.W. 

Does Coursing Bill extend to animals other than hares?

T.W.  

Yes.

W.W. 

Cdn't talk this out - Spkr. wd. accept closure after 5 yrs.
Party mtg. guidance will be necessary.  Many of our people are asking for guidance from Govt.   

Taken from C.M. 11(49) - Meeting held on 10 February 1949.