HC Deb 11 December 1922 vol 159 cc2539-40

There shall be charged in respect of the landing of imported animals in Great Britain such fees as may, in the opinion of the Treasury, be sufficient to meet the expenses of the examination of imported animals by veterinary inspectors, but not exceeding as respects any one animal the sum of sixpence, and any fees so charged shall, on demand by the Minister and before the animal or the carcase of the animal, as the case may be, is moved from the wharf or landing-place, be paid to him by the person so moving the animal or carcase.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


With reference to the proposed charge of 6d. per head, I should like to know if that is in addition to the 2s. per head which is already paid to the veterinary inspectors. If so, these gentlemen will retire shortly as millionaires. If Ireland sends over, say, a million head of cattle, that will mean £100,000. What is done with all this money? It is rather a serious item.


With respect to the charge of 6d. per head, that will amount to £1,000 for 40,000 animals. If 200,000 animals are inspected, that will mean £5,000. If you allow three veterinary inspectors for each £1,000 of fees, that would allow salaries of £330 per year each, which is not extravagant for a full-time man. You will only get 15 inspectors for the fees of 6d. per head paid on 40,000 cattle. That may be enough, but I am anxious to draw attention to the opinion of the Ministry's own veterinary advisers. In the evidence given before the Royal Commission, Question 3975, Sir Stewart Stockman said he would require half as many inspectors again as he already had to supervise the importation of Canadian cattle. He said he had 83, so that if he wants half as many again, he will want more than another 40. Therefore, the money provided by these sixpences will only provide one-third of what is required to pay the salaries of properly efficient veterinary surgeons. It is perfectly useless unless the inspection is efficient. As the money provided out of the sixpences will not be enough to provide efficient services according to the answers of the right hon. Gentleman's own veterinary adviser, I think the sum should be increased.


The 2s. charge is not made by the Ministry of Agriculture. I do not know who puts on the charge. It must be someone who is not employed by the Ministry of Agriculture. With regard to the fee of 6d., we consider that it will cover the whole of the expenses; in fact, we estimate we shall be able to meet the expense for a smaller sum. We have worked out the sum, and we decided that it should not be more than 6d.


Notwithstanding that the right hon. Gentleman says he does not know about it, the 2s. per head is charged and is paid to the veterinary officers in each district in respect of every beast detained for six days. The veterinary officer is paid 1s. per visit and he pays two visits to each beast during the six days' detention. That is going on at present, and if these cattle come from Ireland and Canada the veterinary staffs in England and Scotland will receive about £100,000 for the cattle detained, and it will be up to them to see that the cattle are detained, because the more the cattle are detained the more money they will receive.