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Embargo On Canadian Cattle

Volume 154: debated on Tuesday 30 May 1922

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Mr. Fournier:

  • 1. Is there an embargo on Canadian cattle exported to Great Britain?
  • 2. If so, have any representations been made since January, 1918, to the Imperial Government asking for the repeal of such embargo?
  • 3. If so, when were these representations made?
  • 4. What is the nature of these representations, and what was the reply of the Imperial Government?
  • Dr. Tolmie:

    1. Yes. The legislation (United Kingdom) of 1896 prohibits the landing of cattle from all countries in the United Kingdom, except for purposes of immediate slaughter.

    2. Yes. The representations, however, were of an informal nature and were not made through the usual official channels.

    3. During the year 1919.

    4. The representations for the removal of the embargo were made by Dr. Robertson and Mr. Arkell, the Live Stock Commissioner, through Colonel Amery, Parliamentary Secretary of the Colonial Office, and Lord Ernie, President of the Board of Agriculture. Both these gentlemen were seen on several occasions and the matter of the embargo discussed in detail. With Lord Ernle's approval, Dr. Robertson and Mr. Arkell conveyed similar representations to the Scottish Board of Agriculture, the Scottish and English Farmers' Unions, the Scottish Chamber of Agriculture, the Agricultural Committee of the House of Commons, Special Committee of the London County Council, and to several other important, bodies in Scotland and in England, with the view of furnishing information which would enlist their support in Canada's position. The arguments used made reference to the health of Canadian cattle; to the fact that Canada regularly grows more cattle than she can finish; to the advantage which British feeders had previously obtained in feeding Canadian cattle; to the interests of British consumers in increasing the supply of fresh killed meat and to the very great importance of building up an Empire source of supply in compete- tion with the control of the British meat trade which had already been secured by American packers.

    The campaign which was carried on by Dr. Robertson and Mr. Arkell led to the matter being taken up in the Imperial Parliament. A question on several occasions was asked respecting the position of the Government. In substance the reply of the Government fully recognised that the embargo could no longer be continued against Canadian cattle on the grounds of disease but that in consideration of the unsettled condition of British agriculture and the lack of confidence amongst feeders and breeders which would be created by removing the embargo, the Government regard it as inadvisable to take any action in the matter. It may be added that, in personal conversation with Dr. Robertson and Mr. Arkell, Lord Ernie gave it as his considered opinion that, in view of the unsettled state of British agriculture following War conditions, it would be quite inopportune to take any action toward the removal of the embargo at the present time.