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Canadian Cattle Embargo

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 23 May 1922

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71.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the statements frequently made that the admission of Canadian store cattle would cheapen the price of meat, he can give any figures to show to what extent, if any, the price of beef depends on the price of store cattle; and whether there was any appreciable increase in the price of beef in the years following the first imposition of the embargo in 1892?

There is no evidence to show that the price of store cattle determines the price of home-killed beef, which is mainly governed by the price of imported beef, just as the price of wheat and certain other agricultural products is mainly governed by the price of the imported article. Last year, for example, store cattle were expensive in the spring months, but the price of fat Battle and meat fell in the autumn. With regard to the latter part of the question, Canadian store cattle were, as stated in the question, first excluded from this country in 1892. Official statistics of meat prices were not collected at that period, but records published in trade papers indicate that the average prices of beef at the London Central Market during the five years after this were about a halfpenny per pound less than in the five years before.

Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that, because store cattle are dear now, we shall have cheaper meat in the autumn?

No, Sir; what I suggested was that the price of store cattle has nothing whatever to do with the price of beef.