IMPORTATION OF PEDIGREE ANIMALS BILL.

THURSDAY, 12th MARCH, 1925.

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The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Mr. Samuel Roberts (Chairman)

*Alexander, Mr. A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Attlee, Mr. (Stepney, Limehouse)

Balniel, Lord (Lancaster, Lonsdale)

Barnes, Mr. (East Ham, South)

Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-(Nottingham, South)

Bromley, Mr. (Barrow-in-Furness)

Brown, Brig.-General H. C. (Berks, Newbury)

Buxton, Mr. (Norfolk, Northern)

*Cautley, Sir Henry (East Sussex, East Grinstead)

*Courthope, Colonel (East Sussex, Rye).

*Collins, Sir Godfrey (Greenock)

*Davies, Mr. Ellis (Denbighshire, Denbigh)

Edwards, Mr. Charles (Monmouth, Bedwelty)

*Elliot, Captain (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)

Fenby, Mr. (Bradford, East)

*Graham, Mr. William (Edinburgh, Central)

Greenwood, Mr. William (Stockport)

Guest, Mr. John (Yorks, W. R., Hemsworth)

*Guinness, Mr. (West Suffolk, Bury St. Edmunds)

Hall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederick (Camberwell, Dulwich)

Hanbury, Mr. (Dorset, Northern)

*Hannon, Mr. (Birmingham, Moseley)

Harvey, Major Samuel (Devon, Totnes)

Haslam, Mr. (Lindsey, Horncastle)

Henderson, Captain Robert (Oxford, Henley-on-Thames)

Henderson, Mr. Thomas (Glasgow, Tradeston)

Holbrook, Colonel Sir Arthur (Hants, Basingstoke)

Holland, Lieut.-General Sir Arthur Northampton)

Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel (Gloucester)

Hurd, Mr. (Wilts, Devizes)

Iliffe, Sir Edward (Warwick, Tamworth)

Jephcott, Mr. (Birmingham, Yardley)

*Lamb, Mr. (Staffs, Stone)

Loder, Captain (Leicester, East)

Luce, Major-General Sir Richard (Derby)

Macdonald, Captain Peter (Isle of (Wight)

Maclean, Mr. Neil (Glasgow, Govan)

Mason, Lieut.-Colonel (Croydon, North)

Nelson, Sir Frank (Gloucester, Stroud)

*Neville, Mr. (Norfolk, East)

*Newton, Sir Douglas (Cambridge)

Penny, Mr. (Kingston-on-Thames)

Perkins, Colonel (Southampton)

Peto, Mr. Geoffrey (Somerset, Frome)

Radford, Mr. (Salford, S.)

Rawson, Mr. Cooper (Brighton)

Ritson, Mr. (Durham, City)

Rye, Mr. (Leicester, Loughborough)

Sandon, Viscount (Salop, Shrewsbury)

Scrymgeour, Mr. (Dundee)

Shaw, Mr. Reginald (Yorks, West Riding, Sowerby)

*Shepperson, Mr. (Hereford, Leominster)

Sinclair, Major Sir Archibald (Caithness and Sutherland)

Sinclair, Colonel (Belfast University)

Stephen, Mr. (Glasgow, Camlachie)

Stuart, Lord Colum Crichton-(Chester, Northwich)

Styles, Captain (Kent, Sowerby)

Sugden, Sir Wilfrid (The Hartlepools)

Thorne, Mr. William (West Ham, Plaistow)

*Thurtle, Mr. (Shoreditch)

White, Lieut.-Colonel (Southport)

Wignall, Mr. (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

Williams, Mr. C. P. (Denbigh, Wrexham)

*Wood, Mr. Edward (Yorks, West Riding, Ripon)

Wood, Sir Samuel Hill- (Derbyshire, High Peak)

*Wright, Mr. (Lanarkshire, Rutherglen)

* Added in respect of the British Sugar (Subsidy) Bill, the Importation of Pedigree Animals Bill, and the Agricultural Returns Bill.

SIR J. HORSBRUGH-PORTER, Committee Clerks.

CAPTAIN DIVER, Committee Clerks.

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1245 STANDING COMMITTEE B Thursday, 12th March, 1925.

[Mr. SAMUEL ROBERTS in the Chair.]

IMPORTATION OF PEDIGREE ANIMALS BILL.
[OFFICIAL REPORT.] CLAUSE 1.
—(Power of Minister to allow importation of pedigree animals.)

(1) Subject to the provisions of this Section the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (hereinafter referred to as the Minister) may make Orders for allowing, subject to such conditions as may be prescribed by any such Order, any cattle, sheep, goats or swine brought from any part of His Majesty's Dominions, which are shown to his satisfaction to be there registered as pedigree stock in a herd or flock book recognised by him, to be landed in Great Britain without being subject to the provisions of Part I of the Third Schedule to the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894 (which relate to slaughter at the port of landing), but subject to the provisions of Part II of that Schedule (which relate to quarantine):

Provided that no such Order shall be made except with respect to animals brought from a part of His Majesty's Dominions in which pedigree animals brought from Great Britain are allowed to be landed either unconditionally or subject to conditions (including rates of import duties) which in the opinion of the Minister are not unduly restrictive.

(2) The Section which by the Diseases of Animals Act, 1896, is substituted for Section twenty-four of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, shall have effect as if paragraph (b) thereof extended to any animals allowed to be landed under this Act in like manner as it extends to animals the landing of which is allowed under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894.

(3) Section five of the Importation of Animals Act, 1922 (Session 2) (which provides that compensation shall not be payable in respect of the slaughter of imported animals in certain cases), shall apply in respect of any imported animal which having been allowed to be landed under this Act is slaughtered in a quarantine station by reason of the animal being diseased, or suspected of having been exposed to the infection of any disease.

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(4) Notwithstanding anything in the Importation of Animals Act, 1922 (Session 2), the provisions contained in the Schedule to that Act (which relate to the regulation of movement of imported cattle) shall not apply to any animals allowed to be landed under this Act except in so far as they may be applied with or without modifications by the Order allowing the animals to be landed.

Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN: I beg to move, to leave out the word "him" ["flock book recognised by him"], and to insert instead thereof the words, "the Royal Agricultural Society of England." This Amendment does not seek to deprive the Minister of any powers under this Bill, but it simply seeks to provide that the herd-books of our Colonies shall be recognised by the Royal Agricultural Society at home. This pedigree business is really an expert business, and the Minister would need to have the authority that the herd-book compilers have. Anyone in our Dominions who wants to start herd-books or get his cattle into our herd-books can do so perfectly well now, after two generations. If they buy bulls here they can get their strain and their stock recognised, and naturally it is on those lines that we want pedigree herd-books in our colonies to be recognised, as in the case here. It would be a very awkward situation for the Minister, supposing he had recognised a herd-book in a Colony or a Dominion of ours, if when stock was sent over here our Royal Agricultural Society refused to allow that stock to be shown at the show because it was not eligible for our herd-book. To obviate that it would be very much better for the Royal Agricultural Society themselves to be the authority. I only mention the Royal Agricultural Society because they are representative of our breed societies; that is the only reason I put them in. I think the book should be recognised by the Minister, not by himself, but in consultation with our breed societies. It will protect him from an awkward situation, and will improve the herd-books of our Colonies. If I wanted to buy a bull, and bought it out of the herd-book of one of our Dominions, I should not buy it if, though recognised by the Minister, it was not recognised by our Royal Agricultural Society or the herd-books in our country. It would be a much better thing for their herd-books to be recognised by the Royal Agricul- 1247 tural Society than by any Minister of Agriculture in this country. Finally, I would remind the Committee that the Imperial Conference agreed that it should be arranged between the representative of His Majesty's Government and the Canadian Government to consider the question of the administrative interpretation of the terms of the Importation of Animals Act, and it seems to me only proper to provide that the breed societies of this country should have the power to approve of the herd and flock books in other parts of the Empire, both from our own point of view and from theirs. I very much hope that the Minister, if he does not accept this Amendment, will accept something of the same kind to strengthen his own hand.

Captain R. HENDERSON: I wish briefly to support the Amendment. The Minister will find himself in a very difficult position in attempting to define a pedigree animal. At present there are herd-books in the course of formation in South Africa, in Rhodesia, and in Canada, and to get an animal entered in those herd-books is at present a good deal easier than to get it into a similar herd-book in Great Britain. As the previous speaker has said, if we take what their herd-books say as gospel, and allow their cattle to come in here, we may probably find they will not be recognised by our herd-books. The previous speaker mentioned two generations. I believe he is correct for Canada, but no herd-book in this country would allow any beast in under two generations, and I think, what he said refers in particular to the pig herd-books which are being started in Canada. Animals are being entered in those books under very much easier conditions than we would dream of sanctioning in this country. The animal might be exported from this country to one of our Colonies, after having been refused entry to a herd-book here, and having been entered in the Colony, the animal could be brought back here, and you could compel the herd-book to recognise it. That is entirely outside the wishes of the promoters of this Bill, and it is a difficulty which, I think, can be guarded against.

Colonel COURTHOPE: We do not want to take any power out of the Minister's hands, but in practice at the 1248 present time it is the Royal Agricultural Society of England that is the final judge as to whether a pedigree breed should be recognised as such. There have been in the past quite a number of cases in this country where attempts have been made to start a bogus herd-book to get advantages for stock to which they are not entitled. I am glad to say that every one of those attempts have broken down owing to the refusal of the Royal Agricultural Society to recognise those herds-books. One can imagine circumstances in the Dominions where a group or association of breeders or stock-owners might form a herd-book for the purpose of importing animals over here. It seems to me that the one and only body appointed by the breeding societies for cattle, sheep, pigs and horses is the most suitable to be the judge in this case. This society is not open to political pressure through the Colonial Office from the Dominions in the same way as the Department is here. I think they should, at any rate, be consulted by the Minister for his own protection in deciding whether an animal is a pedigree animal for the purposes of this Bill.

Mr. WOOD: I am quite alive to the importance of the arguments which have been urged by the hon. and gallant Gentleman in moving his Amendment, which has been supported by the two speeches which followed. I conceive that any Minister of Agriculture would only be too glad to protect himself from the unenviable political pressure that might otherwise be placed upon him in this respect. The difficulty is that, while all of us here are, of course, fully alive to the importance of preserving, with the utmost care, the standards of pedigree breeding at which we have arrived, and not allowing any importation of animals calculated to depreciate those standards, yet it is of importance while doing that to carry the assent and good will and the recognition of impartiality on the part of breeders in the Dominions. Whether with or without merit, the Minister of Agriculture is generally held to be an impartial person. The Royal Agricultural Society of England, while it holds, and rightly holds, a quite exceptional and peculiar place in our breeding opinion here, I am not quite sure whether in the Dominions it would be held to be quite so impartial 1249 on the merits of breeds as between Dominion breeders and our own breeders. Therefore, if it would meet my hon. and gallant Friend's object, and those who have supported him, what I think would be the wisest course would be for him to allow me to accept his Amendment in another form, and I suggest the insertion of the words "after consultation with the Royal Agricultural Society of England." That would make it clear what was in the mind of Parliament, and would at one and the same time protect the Minister from pressure, and I think it would be reasonable.

Brigadier-General BROWN: I thank the Minister for his suggestion, which I accept, and I think it quite meets the case. I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Amendment made: in Sub-section (1), after the word "him," insert the words "after consultation with the Royal Agricultural Society of England."

Mr. HURD: Does that apply to Scotland as well?

Colonel COURTHOPE: The Royal Agricultural Society of England acts for the Scottish breeding societies just the same as for the English and the Irish societies.

Clause 1, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2 (Interpretation and extent), and Clause 3 (Short title and construction), agreed to.

Bill, as amended, ordered to be reported to the House.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

Roberts, Mr. Samuel (Chairman)

Attlee, Mr.

Balniel, Lord

Barnes, Mr.

Brown, Brigadier-General Clifton

Buxton, Mr.

Cautley, Sir Henry

Courthope, Colonel

Hall, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Frederick

Hanbury, Mr.

Hannon, Mr.

Harvey, Major

Henderson, Captain Robert

Henderson, Mr. Thomas

Holbrook, Colonel Sir Arthur

Holland, Lieut.-General Sir Arthur

Hurd, Mr.

Iliffe, Sir Edward

Jephcott, Mr.

Luce, Major-General Sir Richard

Macdonald, Captain Peter

Nelson, Sir Frank

Neville, Mr.

Newton, Sir Douglas

Penny, Mr.

Perkins, Colonel

Peto, Mr. Geoffrey

Radford, Mr.

Ritson, Mr.

Sandon, Viscount

Shaw, Mr. Reginald

Sinclair, Major Sir Archibald

Stuart, Lord Colum Crichton-

White, Lieut.-Colonel

Wignall, Mr.

Wood, Mr. Edward