§ MR. FFRENCH
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he 1369 can state the number of horses purchased in Ireland during 1903 for Army remounts; what was the average price paid for these horses; whether most of these purchases took place through dealers or middlemen, who had a profit alike on the farmer as well as on the Government; and whether he will consider the advisability of arranging that the farmers shall bring their horses into local depots for examination and purchase, thus constituting a direct transaction between the Government and the farmers of Ireland.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
The number of horses purchased in 1903 in Ireland for Army remounts was 2,321 at an average price of £43 9s. 1d. They were purchased mostly through dealers. The suggestion made in the last paragraph of the Question will receive consideration, but I must point out that our experience of many years is that the farmer prefers the dealer, who is in a position to take all the young stock, to the Army purchaser, who is bound down to type, price, and soundness.