§ MR. CROMBIE (Kincardineshire)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to a resolution, passed on Thursday, by a large majority of the London Butchers' Trade Society that in order to relieve the short supply of meat and prevent a considerable rise in price, the restrictions on the importation of store cattle from Canada should be removed; and whether his Majesty's Government will take into consideration the hardship on meat consumers of an increased price of meat, and repeal the Diseases of Animals Act, 1896.
§ MR. HANBURY
The statement made with regard to the short supply of meat is apparently based on the fact that the imports of cattle and of fresh beef have been somewhat less during the first three months of the present year than in the corresponding period of 1901, but I know of no reason why it should be assumed that this shortage of supply is of a permanent character, or that a considerable rise in price is likely to ensue. In any case, however, the repeal of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1896, and the admission of store cattle from Canada would afford no remedy. Since that Act was passed the imports of fat cattle from Canada for immediate slaughter have been practically as large 814 as the imports of both fat and store I cattle prior to 1896, and there has been no decline during the past three months in Canadian imports.