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Volume 389: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1943

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52. Mr.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food whether he is aware that table fowls unfit for breeding, rearing or laying are being sold nominally for these purposes at auctions throughout the country as a cover to the payment of prices in excess of those permissible for table poultry; that the declarations under which these sales take place are, in many cases, worthless and both render his Department's orders ineffective and waste time and man-power in difficult enforcement investigations; and whether he will take prompt action to remedy this?

I am aware that some poultry bought at auctions ostensibly for breeding, rearing or laying is slaughtered for food. The matter is under discussion with the Agricultural Departments, and it is hoped to take remedial action at an early date.

Can I be assured that there is no real stumbling block at the Ministry? It does seem that this practice has been going on for well over 12 months. I wonder whether the Minister does mean a real, urgent, drastic change or only a modification of the Order?

I can assure the hon. Member that we are extremely anxious, I think as anxious as he is, to stop this undesirable practice.