HC Deb 16 May 1922 vol 154 cc221-2

asked the Minister of Agriculture what number of young calves are slaughtered annually in Great Britain; whether any restriction on the slaughter of young immature calves was imposed during the War; and whether, seeing that it would be of great service to the country if a practical scheme was devised whereby young calves, suitable for beef production, were preserved in order to maintain an increased supply of food for our population, he will take the matter into consideration?

The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Sir Arthur Boscawen)

According to the estimates based upon the annual June returns of livestock, the number of calves slaughtered in the United Kingdom in the year ending 4th June, 1921, was about 1,030,000, as compared with 1,500,000 during the previous 12 months, and an annual average of 940,000 in the five years ending 4th June, 1914. There is no reason for supposing that there has been any abnormal slaughter of calves during the last 12 months. Many efforts were made during the War years to restrict the slaughter of calves by means of Orders, but in all cases they proved comparatively ineffective. This question has been carefully considered at different times during the last few years, and was also referred to the Livestock Advisory Committee which I appointed last year. The Committee did not favour the imposition of Government control, a view with which I agree, and I do not propose to take any action.

Lieut.-Colonel MURRAY

Can the right hon. Gentleman say to what the decrease in slaughter has been due?


The decrease simply means that we are returning to the normal conditions. There was an excessive slaughter of calves during the War period, due to certain War restrictions and the high price of milk.