HC Deb 11 May 1964 vol 695 cc1-2
2. Miss Quennell

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what research studies have been made by his Department into the techniques of intensive animal husbandry.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)

Responsibility for research on agricul- tural problems lies in the main with the Agricultural Research Council and not with my Department. The activities of my Department in this field are concerned with experiments at the experimental husbandry farms and some surveys, mainly by the National Agricultural Advisory Service.

I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT further details of experiments undertaken by my Department.

Miss Quennell

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that Answer, may I ask whether he is aware that producers complain that they have to go abroad to obtain the latest information, generally to the Netherlands or France? Will he do everything he can to influence these bodies to make as widely available as possible the result of their discoveries and researches?

Mr. Soames

I think they will find that there is a good deal of information available through N.A.A.S. and from our experimental husbandry farms. If my hon. Friend has a specific point in mind, I shall be grateful if she will draw it to my attention.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Can the Minister say whether his experiments have shown that these methods have an effect upon taste and also upon the health of the persons eating the beasts or poultry?

Mr. Soames

No, Sir.

Following is the information: Experiments on the rearing of cattle on the barley beef system were conducted at five experimental husbandry farms during 1960–61, and work on various aspects of this system has continued at three centres. The stock has been housed under normal conditions of light, space and ventilation. Trials with milk and milk substitutes in the feeding of veal calves were done at five farms in 1958–59 and a further small scale observation study of the so-called "broiler veal" method was carried out at Great House Experimental Husbandry Farm in 1960. Experiments on battery poultry or poultry on deep litter have been done at three farms and have included studies of different rations and methods of housing. The results of all such trials are published in the Farm Reports and in other publications of my Department The N.A.A.S. has not done any experiments on broiler poultry. The N.A.A.S. as part of its day-to-day activities has also for advisory purposes conducted many surveys into various aspects of intensive livestock husbandry including barley beef production and poultry housing.