§ Captain DIXON
asked the Food Controller whether he is aware that, as the result of two weighing tests held during the past year under Government auspices, it was found that Irish cattle lost about 8 per cent. in their live weight as the result of cross-Channel transit; whether, seeing that English-fed cattle not subject to such shrinkage must show a better return on live weight than those Irish cattle, while the latter necessarily produce a comparatively higher return on dead weight, Irish traders send most of their cattle to Birkenhead for sale on dead weight, which is not obtainable in other western distributing centres; whether that practice has led to congestion at Birkenhead, to relieve which the Ministry of Food had made Regulations for the transfer of 40 per cent. of stock landed at that port and for the restriction of 2,400 cattle per week to be received thereat from all Ireland; whether those Regulations deprive Irish traders of the only means open to them to sell their cattle by dead weight and on somewhat more equal terms with British stock-owners; and whether, seeing that it would allay the growing discontent in Ireland and at the same time facilitate automatic distribution of Irish live stock, he will grant an addition of 8 per cent. for shrinkage to the present live-weight price for Irish cattle?
I have no information as to the tests referred to in the first part of the question. After giving the matter careful consideration, I am not prepared to make an allowance for shrinkage in the cases of cattle travelling a considerable distance in Great Britain or coming from Ireland. During recent months, the proportion of imported cattle received at Birkenhead has been considerably in excess of the normal, and it has been found necessary to regulate the numbers received at that port. This arrangement1798W does not compel Irish dealers to sell cattle on live weight, as Irish fat stock is accepted on the dead-weight basis at any of the ports open for traffic in Irish cattle