A Lancashire peer gave law-makers a subject to get their teeth into during a debate in the Lords.
Baroness Farrington, of Ribbleton, warned about the dangers of ferrets who like to explore up people’s trouser legs.
The 75-year-old’s cautionary tale brought laughter from all sides.
The exchanges came as peers protested about the failure of Eurostar to allow passengers to take dogs and other pets on board with them when travelling abroad. Labour Baroness Farrington told environment, food and rural affairs spokesman Lord Gardiner of Kimble that he ought to be careful dealing with ferrets.
She said: “We had a ferret belonging to my son, called Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and she did enjoy trouser legs and it’s very important for people to take care.”
Lady Farrington said a former colleague of hers started a ferret appreciation society in Wigan.
We had a ferret belonging to my son, called Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, and she did enjoy trouser legs and it’s very important for people to take care.Lord Gardiner
“And I had to warn him that I would turn up with said ferret and that he had to beware of her interest in going up trouser legs.”
Lord Kimble said the 75-year-old baroness had given peers a “splendid reason as to why one should be extremely cautious of ferrets”.
He said 68 ferrets had come into the country last year under the pet passport scheme and added: “I hope everyone has taken note of what you’ve said about trousers.”
Lord Gardiner said 170,000 dogs, cats and ferrets had come to the UK from across Europe under the auspices of the pet travel scheme. The minister said the government did not impose any obligation on transport companies to carry pets and it was a commercial decision for them. In December, the EU issued new guidelines, including a “clearer definition” of what animals were covered by the Pet Travel scheme to ensure wild animals could not be moved.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton – formerly Josie Farrington – is a former chairman of Lancashire County Council.
Josie Farrington was elected to the former Preston Borough Council in 1973 and to Lancashire County Council in 1977.
A former UK European Woman of the Year, she became a life peer in 1994 and has served in the Government since 1997.