asked the Minister of Food how many pigs, or alternatively how many tons of pig meat have been either withdrawn or diverted from bacon factories, during the last two months for distribution to butchers as pork; and if he will give an estimate of the addition to the bacon ration this would have represented.
About 150,000 pigs in the eight weeks ended 14th April, representing three-fifths of an ounce of bacon per head weekly during that period.
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that this means that the meat ration has been retained at the present very small level by prejudicing the bacon ration in the time to come? Does not that mean that the reduction in animal protein is considerably larger than we have been led to believe?
I would not agree by any means with the implications of that question. The amount of bacon would not be adequate to increase the bacon ration, but it was adequate to help us increase what are admittedly—it is admitted 6y all parties—the limited supplies of meat available at this time. I think that the general public and members of the trade are quite happy to have these pigs.
Is not the Minister aware that the butchers are thoroughly dissatisfied and that waste is bound to arise from the amount of fat on the bacon pig? Surely the wastage in protein at the moment is very considerable owing to this foolish scheme?
In my short experience the butchers are always thoroughly dissatisfied.
If the right hon. Gentleman tried to handle some of this stuff himself he would know.