§ 13. Sir PERCY HURD
asked the Minister of Agriculture the character 1217 and result of the experiments which have been in progress for the better marketing of livestock?
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
An experimental scheme for the marketing of livestock on a deadweight basis was introduced by the Ministry in 1930. This scheme was at first limited to cattle graded under the. National Mark Beef Scheme, but subsequently, in response to representations from organised bodies of producers, the scheme was extended to cover all classes of fatstock. In the first twelve months of the operation of the scheme the number of animals dealt with was 349 cattle, while the numbers handled during the twelve months ended 30th November, 1934, were 4,479 cattle, 14,818 sheep and lambs, and 956 pigs. I am sending to my hon. Friend leaflets containing details of the scheme.
§ Sir P. HURD
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the net effect has been to improve the price to the farmers?
§ 17. Mr. LAMBERT
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that even with the subsidy, fat cattle are being sold below the cost of production; that store cattle are being sold at un-remunerative prices; what treaties or agreements preclude the Government from rescuing the cattle breeding industry from impending disaster; and whether such treaties or agreements will be denounced forthwith?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am aware of the low prices at present realised for fat and store cattle, although I would point out that, including the subsidy, producers are at present receiving on the average 41s. 5d. per cwt. for fat cattle of first quality and 36s. 8d. per cwt. for fat cattle of second quality, as against 38s. 4d. per cwt. and 33s. 2d. per cwt. respectively in the corresponding week of last year. Undertakings with respect to the import of beef into this country are included in the Ottawa Agreements and the Argentine Trade Agreement. The Ottawa Agreements run until August, 1937, and the Argentine Agreement until November, 1936.
§ Mr. LAMBERT
Will the right hon. Gentleman give notice to the Dominions and the Argentine that these agreements 1218 cannot go on with profit if the home producers of cattle are to conduct their business with profit?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am afraid it is not within my discretion to give any such notice to any foreign or Empire country.
§ Mr. TURTON
Does either of the two treaties preclude my right hon. Friend from increasing the restriction upon Dominion and foreign beasts at the same time?