HC Deb 04 March 1918 vol 103 cc1695-7

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will instruct county agricultural committees to use their utmost influence to induce all cottagers and other persons having styes to keep pigs, and thereby quickly add to the national supply of food?


The course suggested by my hon. Friend has already been adopted as part of a wider scheme for encouraging the keeping of pigs.


Could not an attempt be made to fill every empty pig-sty in the Kingdom, and form pig clubs with this object in every village?


There are pig clubs being formed already as fast as we can do it in the villages, but whether you can fill all the ordinary pig-styes in the country depends in a great measure upon the sows in the country.


May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman's answer to Question No. 30 also applies to Question No. 33, that is to say, whether cottagers will be able to do the same as small farmers?


Would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to write to the Local Government Board to the effect that no impediment, sanitary or otherwise, than is absolutely necessary, should be put in the way of pig-keeping by small cottagers?


Are steps being taken to ensure that these pigs will be able to be fed before people are encouraged to keep them?


With regard to the question of the local by-laws, to which the hon. Member alluded, I do not think there is any real practical difficulty in rural districts, and we are endeavouring to get them modified in urban rural districts where they are of a more stringent nature. Obviously, if a man keeps pigs, he will be all right, because no man minds the smell of his own pig.


Does the right hon. Gentleman approve of farmers being fined for feeding pigs with barley when it is still used for brewing purposes?

40 and 42. Sir C. BATHURST

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture (1) whether, if cottagers and allotment holders grow food of any description in their gardens or allotments on purpose for their pigs, he can give an assurance that under no circumstances will they be prevented from feeding their pigs with such food or be deprived of the pig meat so produced; (2) whether, if a farmer, in addition to his allotted acreage for the production of human food, sets apart a special area of his farm land and plants it with potatoes, parsnips, or leguminous crops with the deliberate object of feeding his pigs, he can count on retaining such crops for this purpose, or whether, if sound, he will run the risk of their being commandeered as human food?


I have been asked to reply. The Food Controller, in conjunction with the three Departments of Agriculture, is engaged in considering these matters, and it is hoped to make a definite announcement at an early date. I may point out that the grower of potatoes is in any case entitled to retain whatever part of his crop he requires for consumption on his own farm, whether by pigs or other live-stock, or for human food.


Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, owing to the lack of definite statements on these matters, the patriotic activity of a large number of small cultivators is being suspended, and therefore a very large amount of available human food will be lost to the country next winter?


I can only reply, following what I have given as the official reply, that this matter is being considered by the Food Controller and the three Departments of Agriculture concerned. As soon as the announcement is made the hon. and gallant Gentleman will get his information.