§ 2.38 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will set an example by ensuring that in future any grants for prize money to agricultural show societies from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, or from the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, are made with the sole purpose of encouraging the breeding of animals most suited for trade requirements (e.g., by encouragement of carcase grading, milking trials, etc.), in view of the fact that at many agricultural shows the animals which receive public praise are very often far from the ideal as required by the trade or by the farmers.]583
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE, SCOTTISH OFFICE (LORD STRATHCLYDE)
My Lords, the only grants for prize money to local agricultural societies are those made by the Department of Agriculture for Scotland to smallholders' agricultural shows or agricultural shows at which there are classes confined to smallholders' or small farmers' stock. The purpose of these grants is to encourage improvement of the stock kept on crofts and small holdings. The animals entered for these classes are invariably commercial stock and are accordingly judged on commercial standards.
§ LORD FORBES
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply. May I ask him whether he is aware that much confusion exists amongst farmers about what type of animal is required? There is one type of animal required for shows and another type required by the trade. In view of this, will Her Majesty's Government do all in their power to make it known that farm animal "beauty contests" are not the way to assess commercial value?
§ LORD STRATHCLYDE
My Lords, it is to encourage the production of commercial animals that these grants are given.