§ Mr. FIELD
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture (1) whether he has received communications complaining of the effects of the twelve hours' detention, and also of the order which prevents owners or drovers from looking after the live stock which are promiscuously herded together in various lairs; if so, what action he proposes to take; (2) whether he is aware that live stock are detained twelve hours on concreted lairs, where the different lots of cattle are confined and the owners or their drovers are not allowed to tend or milk them; and whether he will consider the advisability of immediately shortening the period of detention and allowing the owners and drovers entrance to look after animals?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
I will answer these two questions together. I have made careful inquiry into the allegations to which the hon. Member refers, and I am satisfied that there is no reasonable cause for complaint. In particular, the statements that the animals are promiscuously herded together in the lairs, and that the owners or their drovers are not allowed to tend or milk them when necessary, are untrue. The entry of such persons as are necessary to tend the animals is freely allowed, and they can draw apart their own lots of448W cattle. Bulls, dairy cattle and fat cattle are always separated from other classes and tied up. The floors of the lairs are concreted in order that they may be thoroughly washed and cleansed after use, but litter can be obtained. According to my information, many of the animals, when landed, are so exhausted that they can scarcely stand, and I am not prepared at present to make a reduction of the period of detention, the effect of which is exceedingly beneficial.
§ Sir WALTER NUGENT
asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if it is now permissible to send pigs consigned from Ireland to English inland towns for immediate slaughter through to their destination after inspection without further detention; and if, in making regulations dealing with this branch of the live stock trade his Department will bear in mind the deterioration which occurs in the value of live pigs by delays or stoppage in transit?
§ Mr. RUNCIMAN
All swine imported into Great Britain from Ireland are required by the Order of the Board to be detained at the landing-place for a period of twelve hours. I am aware that the case of pigs intended for immediate slaughter is in some respects distinguishable from that of other kinds of stock, and I am considering whether the existing regulations can properly be modified on the lines suggested by the hon. Member.