HC Deb 30 April 1914 vol 61 cc1844-8

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) (1) whether he is aware that the owners of qualified pedigree bulls living in county Meath have been refused an entry for their animals at the coming show and sale to be held at Mullingar on the 5th May, on the ground that they were not members of the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association; whether this limitation on the right to exhibit has the sanction of the Department; and, if so, whether he is aware that this will limit the choice of animals to be selected as premium bulls, and to penalise owners who may not belong to an association, the existence of which they had no knowledge; whether there is any precedent for a public Department indirectly forcing individuals to become members of an association by punishing those who do not; and whether, pending the public acquaintance with the rules and regulations of this newly-formed association, the right of entry will be extended to the general public who have qualified pedigree animals; (2) whether he can state when the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association was formed; what steps it took to inform stock raisers of its existence, and that only by becoming members of it they would be entitled to exhibit at shows such as that to be held at Mullingar under the auspices of the Royal Dublin Society; (3) whether, having regard to the fact that only members of the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association can exhibit qualified pedigree bulls at the coming show in Mullingar, which is the only one to be held in the midlands, and that a number of high-class pedigree animals are in the hands of non-members and cannot therefore be exhibited, he will insert an advertisement in the Dublin papers that upon application from a disqualified owner who cannot exhibit he will send an inspector to negotiate a purchase and thereby widen the area of choice; (4) whether the coming sale of premium bulls at Mullingar is the only one that will be held for the midland counties of Ire land; whether he will consider the hard ship that would be inflicted upon a number of owners of pedigree bulls if the Department refused to purchase animals except from those who belonged to the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association; and whether he will state what claim, if any, this association has to a monopoly of the purchases made by a public Department; (5) whether he will represent to the Royal Dublin Society that they ought to admit non-members to the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association to exhibit animals at the forthcoming show to be held at Mullingar, in consequence of so many would-be exhibitors being in, ignorance of the regulation as to the necessity of being members; and (6) whether, if the Royal Dublin Society persist in their refusal to allow non-members of the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association to show animals at the coming show at Mullingar, he will with draw the patronage of the Department from the show and organise one under its own auspices for the benefit of the general public?


The Department understand that the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association was formed in the year 1909, but they are not aware of the steps taken by the association to inform stock raisers of its existence. It is not unusual in the case of a live-stock show organised by an agricultural society to accept entries from non-members at a special fee, and this, the Department understand, is the course which is being followed in the case of the sale to be held at Mullingar on the 5th proximo. The Royal Dublin Society have nothing to do with this sale, which has been organised by the Irish Hereford Breeders' Association, and at which the Department do not propose to purchase any animals, but only to have bulls inspected for the provisional award of premiums, and to see that the Foot-and-Mouth Regulations are not transgressed. At a recent deputation from the members of the association received by myself the Department offered to have the animals inspected at the residences of the members of the association, or at a show, and the association chose the latter course. A show of Shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus, and Hereford bulls will be held by a firm of salesmen at Maryborough early next month, and suitable bulls exhibited at this show will likewise be selected for premiums. The Department are open to consider any further applications for permission to hold sales in the Midlands. In present circumstances such shows afford an opportunity of carrying out inspection work more economically and expeditiously than is possible with a house-to-house inspection. A number of bulls belonging to persons who were not able to exhibit them at any show this year have, however, already been inspected at their owners' residences. The Department are prepared to so inspect any other purchased bulls which, owing to restrictions, could not be sent to a public sale, and an advertisement accordingly is being inserted in the Dublin daily Press.


asked the Vice-President under what Section of what Act he exercised the power of preventing animals from Great Britain being landed in Ireland because of a single area in the former country being infected with foot-and-mouth disease?


Ruminants and swine can be imported into Ireland from Great Britain only with the Department's consent. Grant of such consent is suspended either wholly or partially whenever the position as to foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain is regarded as rendering such a course desirable. The Orders governing this procedure are made under Sections 22 and 65 of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, and Section 2 of the Agricultural and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act, 1899.


Under what Subsection?


I have given the Section and the Sub-section.


Is is not a fact that England exports store cattle into Ireland to-day without leave?


I do not think England really does export any store cattle to Ireland. Ireland exports them to England—that is really what takes place—but I believe it would be possible at the present time to export cattle into Ireland, stores or otherwise. It would be contrary to the Regulations of the Department, but the ports are not closed.


Could that be done without a licence?


I think, under the present dangerous conditions, a licence would be necessary.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he will consider the possibility of permitting under licence fat cattle landing in Great Britain from Ireland to proceed to interior markets, such as Manchester, for slaughter there, seeing that this concession would give the owners the benefit of one of the principal English markets, and one in which there is free and active competition as compared with the limited competition believed to exist at Birkenhead?


The Board recognise the importance of reopening the British markets to Irish stock at the earliest possible moment, but I regret that I am not able to make any definite announcement on the subject at present.


asked whether the resent detention of Irish store cattle in pens for ninety-six hours at the port of landing in Great Britain is inflicting hardship upon the cattle, and is prejudicial to their value and is costly to their owners; and whether, if it is not now possible to reduce this detention again to ten hours, the ninety-six hour period might count from the time of embarkation in Ireland, as was done in 1912?


The requirement of ninety-six hours' detention at the ports of landing must, unfortunately, cause some additional expense to the owners of cattle, but the Board have no reason to suppose that under present conditions the cattle suffer any hardship or deterioration in condition. After careful consideration of all the circumstances, the Board regret that they do not feel justified at present in adopting the suggestion made in the latter part of the question.


asked when it is proposed to give the House an opportunity of considering the recently issued report of the proceedings of the conference held at Birkenhead on the 26th February last on the subject of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at the lairages there?


The House will have an opportunity of discussing this question in the Debate on the Board's Estimates.