HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 c317
53. Mr. Braine

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will take steps to stop the present method of earmarking calves under the subsidy scheme, and adopt some other method of identification which avoids the unnecessary injuries now caused

Mr. T. Williams

No, Sir. The present method of marking was adopted after a careful study of humanitarian considerations and practical requirements, and I see no reason to change it.

Mr. Braine

Is the Minister aware that many farmers are perturbed at the way in which the hole is punched in the ear? It catches in trees, and so on, half tearing the ear off, spoiling the appearance of the animal, and causing unnecessary suffering.

Mr. Williams

I have had no information brought to my notice to that effect, but the hon. Member will be aware that this ear punching was to avoid the same calf's collecting two sets of subsidies.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Would that have been very painful to the calf?

Mr. Hopkinson

Is the Minister aware of the importance which breed societies attach to this question, and to the fact that the problem can be quite easily solved by tattooing the left ear, as is done in the case of bulls?

Mr. Williams

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that the National Farmers' Union was consulted before this method was approved.