Wednesday 27 January 2010

Loch Ness Creature and UK Parliament questions

Nessie was often in the news but also often came up in parliamentary discussions in the 60's and 70's. see the extract below from Hansard (Where parliamentary decisions/ debates are recorded and I believe it is also available online)

HANSARD 18032005 1960s 1969 July 1969 16 July 1969 Lords Sitting


HL Deb 16 July 1969 vol 304 cc262-4 262

§ 2.46 p.m.


My Lords, I beg 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 are satisfied, from assurances given by persons operating submarines in Loch Ness, that any monsters that may chance to inhabit that loch will not be subjected to damage or assault.]


My Lords, we proceed from one monster to another. The Answer to the Question is, Yes. The organiser of The Loch Ness Phenomena Investigation Bureau Limited has given assurances to the Chief Constable of the Inverness Constabulary that the submarine operations have no aggressive intent.


My Lords, arising out of that reply, may I ask whether the noble Lord is aware that the Chief 263 Constable has in fact given permission for an attempt to be made to obtain a tissue sample from whatever monsters can be found? Is the noble Lord satisfied that this could be done without danger and disturbance, and does the Secretary of State for Scotland condone this course?


My Lords, the organiser has said that the main objective of the submarine will be to try to get a positive identification of any echo which may be picked up by the Bureau's sonar equipment. For this purpose it will be fitted with are lights and photographic gear. In addition, it will have a small compressed air gun designed to fire a retrievable dart so shaped as to extract a small sample of tissue for subsequent analysis. This technique is widely used for tagging whales. In the particular context of this scientific expetition I hardly think it constitutes damage or assault.

On the other question which the noble Lord has asked, while I have no reason to doubt the assurances that have been given to the Chief Constable, I must point out that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has no real locus in the matter. Unless and until the monster is found and examined we cannot even say whether the provisions of the Cruelty to Animals Act 1876 would be relevant, since that Act does not apply to invertebrates.


My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he is aware that news has just come through that an enormous apparently prehistoric, monster has been washed up on the Ross of Mull at a place called Uisken? Everybody is very excited about it up there.


Is it alive or dead?




My Lords, is my noble friend aware that it will be an act of sacrilege to take away from the Scottish Tourist Board the myth of the monster of Loch Ness by which they get many gullible tourists each year?


I do not know on what scientific ground my noble friend says that the monster is a myth.


§ Lord LOVAT

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that neither the Inverness County Council nor the police, nor the riparian owners on the shore were alerted to the fact that two submarines were coming to operate in the Loch? May I further ask him whether he is aware that, according to reports in the Press, "nature study" goes so far as for the "Phenomena" promoters to say that if they cannot contact the monster with lance or submarine they propose to detonate charges below the surface and blow the animal on to the top of the water—something we very much regret in the county where the monster still remains our greatest invisible asset.


My Lords, there are many rumours about the monster, and I know that there were other suggestions about what might be done. An American group were interested in an alternative way of trying to find it, but when they discovered that it would involve them in expenditure of half-a-million dollars they changed their mind.

Viscount ST. DAVIDS

My Lords, will my noble friend make clear to his right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland that there is legislation under which these creatures could be protected and that the British Waterways Board, as the navigation authority, have the right to remove the licences for these vessels if they start annoying the local livestock?


My Lords, I should be very interested to examine any information my noble friend can give me in that direction.


My Lords, how would the noble Lord like to be "potted" by an airgun to take samples of his tissue?


My Lords, provided that the relevant part of my tissue was no greater than the small amount, in proportion, that was taken from the bulk of the whale, I doubt whether I should notice it.

§ Lord LOVAT

My Lords, the noble Lord's answer is not entirely satisfactory. Is he aware that in America there is considerable embarrassment that these two submarines should have arrived without local authority? They quite rightly take the view that we can hardly launch an expedition on Lake Okeechobee in similar circumstances.

The discussion then changed to whales and fishing I believe. It shows though how the subject of researching Nessie was taken quite seriously at times. Sadly too many hoaxes means that is no longer so.

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