HC Deb 23 August 1945 vol 413 cc786-7
53. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the backwardness of Britain's veterinary services, with its ill-effect upon the efficiency of British agriculture; and what steps he is prepared to take towards the establishment of a national veterinary service available to all who need it.

Mr. T. Williams

Whilst I am unable to accept all the implications of the Question, I agree that the supply of veterinary surgeons is at present inadequate for the needs of agriculture. The recommendations of the Love day Committee on Veterinary Education in Great Britain regarding the provision of improved and expanded facilities for veterinary education, are still under consideration with the organisations chiefly concerned. The inclusion of all veterinary surgeons in a national veterinary service offers no solution of the immediate problem with which we are faced.

Mr. Davies

Is the Minister aware that the veterinary services of Britain are the most backward in the civilised world—[Hon. Members: "Oh!"]—and that this question needs urgent attention and extended facilities for scholarships to students from the Forces?

Mr. Williams

While not accepting the full implications of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, I can assure him it is a matter which is under very active consideration at this moment.

Mr. Alpass

May I ask whether, in view of the statement of the National Veterinary Medical Association that the losses due to disease in dairy cattle amount to £20,000,000 per annum and the loss of milk yield to about 200,000,000 gallons per year, and the great need for increased milk production, the right hon. Gentleman will treat this very important matter as a question of national urgency?

Mr. Williams

Certainly, Sir.