HC Deb 29 January 1941 vol 368 cc559-60
50. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, as representing the Ministry of Food, to state the administrative difficulties which prevent his Department buying pigs at dead-weight instead of live-weight and thus obviate the present practice of marking pigs by perforating their ears whilst still alive?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Major Lloyd George)

All pigs for slaughter are at present bought by dead-weight. The purchase of pigs by live-weight is impracticable owing to the absence of suitable facilities for weighing pigs alive at the majority of markets. An investigation completed last June showed that special facilities for weighing pigs exist in only a few markets. In other cases, the only facilities available for weighing livestock are cattle weighing machines. Tests have proved conclusively that it is not practicable to use these machines for weighing pigs. In some markets there are no weighing facilities for livestock whatsoever. The use of the dead-weight rather than the live-weight system of purchase for pigs is, however, not based solely on administrative difficulties. There are also strong objections in principle to the purchase of pigs by live-weight.

Mr. Hall

Is there any other way of marking pigs than in this way?

Major Lloyd George

It is extremely difficult to get a marking which does not come off in the processes through which they have to go, and after very careful investigation this has been found to be far the most practical method.