§ 22. Mr. Jopling
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what advice his advisers on population genetics have given him with regard to the continuance of the bull licensing scheme.
§ Mr. Hoy
From the advice he has received, my right hon. Friend is satisfied that it would be unwise to discontinue bull licensing until the selection of breeding stock by reference to records of performance is generally adopted in the livestock industry. Powers were taken in 1963 to refuse licences to bulls—and boars—which fail to conform to prescribed standards of suitability for breeding, and from 1st January, 1966, no bulls of the pure dairy breeds will be licensed in England and Wales without adequate ancestor performance records for lactation and butterfat.
§ Mr. Jopling
Is the Joint Parliamentary Secretary aware that population genetics should be the most important consideration of all when dealing with animal breeding? Is he aware that of the two organisations which he says give him most advice on population genetics the senior member of one has been highly critical of the bull licensing scheme? Secondly, is he aware that a member of the other, the director of the Animal Breeding Research Association, says that all bull licensing is make-believe and that its contribution to genetics is negligible? [HON. MEMBERS: "Speech."] Will the hon. Gentleman stop taking out-dated advice?
§ Mr. Hoy
I hope that in my original Answer I made clear that these recommendations deal with both bulls and boars, and that the population geneticists advise the Ministry. The Minister has to take all their advice into consideration. I cannot be asked to comment on the opinions of other people expressed in magazines and elsewhere.
§ Mr. Buchanan-Smith
In view of the fact that the two organisations from which the Minister takes advice in these matters are both situated north of the Border, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he will take account of the opinion of progressive Scottish farmers that both the bull and boar licensing systems need urgent review?