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Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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Carrion Crows


asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will institute a campaign for the destruction of carrion crows during the coming nesting season, and make cartridges available for this purpose on the same basis as for shooting rooks.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture
(Mr. George Brown)

The carrion crow is a local problem and does not call for a nationwide campaign; but where these birds are a menace to agriculture and cannot be effectively controlled by individual efforts, my right hon. Friend is prepared to authorise the issue of cheap cartridges for approved sheets organised and supervised by county agricultural executive committees.

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the best way of shooting carrion crows is, not by approved shoots, but by somebody finding out where their nests are and then shooting them? Will that method be included?

Hill Farming Schemes


asked the Minister of Agriculture why no hill farming schemes have been completed in Lancashire.

Of the 34 schemes proposed, three only have been submitted in detail; these are under consideration and should shortly be formally approved. Urgent work has however been authorised on 10 schemes.

Would my hon. Friend agree that any statement that Whitehall is responsible for the hold-up of these schemes would be completely inaccurate?

Whalley Ai Centre


asked the Minister of Agriculture why it is intended to restrict the radius of service from the Whalley artificial insemination station.

I understand that the Milk Marketing Board, who operate this centre, intend to limit the service to within a radius of approximately 10 miles until such time as the centre is working satisfactorily and the extent of the demand is known. After that the service area will be developed according to need either directly from the Whalley centre or from sub-centres

Is my hon. Friend aware that this will cause considerable disappointment to the farmers in the locality; and is it not possible for substations to be set up with a minimum of equipment, and so give the service required?

Fences have to be measured before they are jumped, and what will happen here is that the scheme will be got working, the extent of the work will be known, and then sub-centres will be set up to deal with it.

Milk Production


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that the Mid-Western Region has already exceeded its 1952 milk gallonage target, and if he is satisfied that existing arrangements in this and other regions are adequate to handle still larger supplies of milk.

My right hon. Friend notes with pleasure the expansion of milk production in the Mid-Western Region as well as in other parts of the country, and I am assured by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Food that the arrangements made should be adequate for handling all the milk expected to be sold this year.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the total milk production in January was almost equal to the liquid milk consumption last May when there was no rationing? As there will be a very big surplus this year, will he make sure arrangements are made now to handle the surplus when the time comes?

My hon. Friend need have no fears about that, but he must bear in mind that there are other uses for milk apart from liquid consumption.

Is the expression "milk gallonage target" the invention of the Ministry of Agriculture or the work of the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Collins)?

Horses (Export)


asked the Minister of Agriculture what precautions are taken to insure that all horses exported on licence to Belgium and the Continent are not prevented by age or infirmity from being capable of work.

The exportation to the Continent of Europe of horses that are not capable of being worked without suffering is prohibited by the Diseases of Animals Acts. Except for certain special classes of horses, such as racehorses and breeding horses, every horse exported to Europe is examined by one of our veterinary inspectors and certified by him to be capable of being conveyed by sea and disembarked without cruelty and to be capable or being worked without suffering.

When my hon. Friend says that the animals are capable of being worked without suffering, have any precautions been taken to see that they are able to continue at work for some considerable time?

What control can the Government exercise over these horses once they reach the Continent? Would it not be much wiser not to be a party to this dubious traffic?

I think the answer to the Question is quite clear, but in so far as we are to go over last week's discussion, I would repeat that my right hon. Friend has undertaken to review the whole question to see whether anything useful can be done.

Would not a simpler way of dealing with the matter be that no horses should be exported at a value under, say, £100?

That is precisely the sort of matter which is being considered by my right hon. Friend.

Linseed Cake


asked the Minister of Agriculture what increases are to be made this year in the amount of linseed cake which growers of linseed in this country are to be allowed to buy back.

Farmers selling linseed of the 1949 crop through recognised channels, either for crushing or for sowing, will be allowed to buy back for feeding to their own stock 12 cwts. of linseed cake for every ton of clean linseed sold for such purposes, as against one ton of cake for every three tons of clean linseed sold from the 1948 crops.

Croughton Airfield (Tenancies)


asked the Minister of Agriculture why, when Croughton aerodrome was let on annual tenancies, Mr. Tredwell, of Astwick Farm, Brackley, owner, prior to requisitioning of part of the airfield, was not offered a tenancy of any part of the airfield.

As I fully explained to the hon. and learned Member in correspondence, Mr. Tredwell was not offered a tenancy of any of this land because the Northants Agricultural Executive Committee, after taking account of all relevant circumstances, came to the conclusion that it would be better farmed by other applicants.

Is the Minister aware that Mr. Tredwell was asked if he would farm the whole aerodrome by licence, and in these circumstances can the Minister explain why he was not offered the tenancy of the part he formerly owned?

He was not asked to farm the whole aerodrome but was asked, together with many other farmers, whether he was interested in taking more land, but he was not interested at that time.

Sugar-Beet Acreage


asked the Minister of Agriculture why many farmers in East Anglia are being informed by the sugar-beet factories that they must grow a smaller acreage of sugar-beet than they did last year.

In 1948, farmers in certain counties of East Anglia were allowed to make contracts for more than the county quota in order to make up a deficiency in other parts of the country. This year there has been no serious deficiencies, and it has been necessary to keep the acreage in these counties much nearer to the quota.

Does the hon. Member not realise that by restricting the acreage he will make it much harder for the farmers to get their rotations going?

We have actually accepted for 1949 a greater acreage than the target for both the counties in which the hon. and gallant Gentleman is interested?

Sugar-Beet Factories


asked the Minister of Agriculture what plans have been or are being made to erect new sugar-beet factories so as to allow for an expansion of the present target.

No plans have been made to erect new sugar-beet factories so as to allow for an expansion of the present target. The target included in the long-term programme of European Economic Co-operation is 400,000 acres for each year up to and including 1952.

Does that mean that there is sufficient sugar in this country, and if so will the hon. Member inform the Minister of Food?

Was there any opposition on the part of the hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) to the use of the word "target" in this Question?

Does not the hon. Member think it would be a good thing to examine the possibilities of constructing a sugar-beet factory south of the Thames, because at the moment all sugar-beet grown in Surrey and Hampshire has to go to the Eastern Counties?

In view of the usefulness of this industry, will the Ministry consider the urgent necessity of having a sugar-beet factory in the West Country?