CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - EXPORTATION OF COWS.

asked the Minister for Lands and Agriculture if he is aware that owing to the severe examination by veterinary officers of his Department in regard to cows for exportation, the trade in such cows has been very detrimentally affected; that it is stated, that cows are rejected as unfit for exportation, because of having one affected teat, although such affection might not be due to tuberculosis, and if, in view of the present depressed condition of agriculture and the necessity for maintaining the prices of stock at the highest possible level, whether steps will be taken to see that unduly severe restrictions are removed, and that only cows which are tubercular are rejected.

Mr. HOGAN

The cows in question are for export to England and it is not for the Irish but for the English Department to say under what conditions cows shall be allowed to enter England. The present British regulations are stringent. No animal suffering from an indurated under is permitted to land in Great Britain. An animal however is not rejected because of a thickening of the teat unless there is a discharge from it. Representations on this matter have been made by the British Department to this Department. If the Irish veterinary inspectors at this side allowed the shipment of animals that came within the regulations they would be returned from the other side at the expense of the Irish shipper.

Arising out of the Minister's reply, will he say whether numerous cows have been returned from the Irish ports, from one port in particular, which have been examined by the local veterinary surgeons, and, in most cases, have been found to be quite sound? Is he further aware of the fact that, apparently, any cow which has any defect in the under is being rejected on the assumption that it is a tubercular udder? Is the Minister aware that cows whose udders are affected but not tubercular have been rejected, and if that is due to his officers and not to the officers of the English Department?

Mr. HOGAN

I am aware that cows are rejected for the reasons which I have specified in the answer. Quite recently representations have been made by the British authorities in the most direct terms that unless we carried out the regulations on this side stringently they would have to take other means to see them carried out. In other words, they would have to return these animals. We would not be doing a good turn to Irish shippers if we allowed cows to go on board and put them to the expense of taking them to the other side, and then found that they would have to re-ship them back at their own expense.

Arising out of the Minister's answer, where cows are rejected at the port by the Irish veterinary surgeons and where they are returned and found to be sound, will the Department compensate the owners of the cows for the losses incurred because of their return? I might explain that cows have been rejected at one port and sent away from another port. I could give the Minister specific cases of that kind.

Mr. HOGAN

Apparently, cows have been rejected at the North Wall, and in spite of that they have gone through some other Irish port and have been let through on the other side. I say that is impossible. What the Deputy is asking me to do is this: that if the British Government refuses to allow certain Irish cattle into England we should pay for them.

I am not talking about the British at all. I am talking about the Irish veterinary surgeons. If they reject a cow, and the cow is sent back to the owner and found to be perfectly sound and perfectly free from tuberculosis, the owner is put to considerable loss owing to the fact that he has had to pay transit charges and other charges. In cases like that will the Department compensate the owners?

Mr. HOGAN

The Deputy is begging the question, because cows with indurated udders are not allowed through under the British regulations, and, after all, the British are paying for them. I cannot alter the British regulations. I have pointed out that quite recently the British considered that our inspection was not strict enough, and made strong representations to our officers.

Would the Minister see that the veterinary officers at the ports are capable officers and that they understand their business?

Will the Minister make representations to the British Department which evidently through its officers knows very little about the matter? I should say that in ninety per cent. of the cases the lumps in the cows udders are not due at all to tuberculosis, and that the cows are perfectly sound. I suggest to the Minister that he should make representations to the Board in England, who seem to know nothing about the circumstances or anything about the real facts of the case.

Arising out of the Minister's answer, is he aware that numbers of cattle, sheep and pigs have in recent years been confiscated in England as suffering from tuberculosis and that there is a big agitation in England to get the State to compensate the owners for loss of same, because they hold that anything destroyed for the public good should be compensated for by the State? A number of Irish owners have suffered considerably owing to the seizures made of their animals. The animals have actually been burned in England and the owner gets no compensation. It is at the whim of the vets, to do this. I ask the Minister whether any support will be given from this side to Irish owners who send live stock to Great Britain. Will the Minister endeavour to induce the British Government to compensate these owners for the loss sustained for the seizures made?

Mr. HOGAN

With regard to the last question, when a beast is sold to an Englishman the beast is killed on the other side and if it is condemned for tuberculosis the owner is compensated. When a beast on this side is condemned and is killed under the regulations the owner is compensated. With regard to the other points I do not agree that the English know nothing about their business. They know the sort of cattle that they want and that they are prepared to pay for. If Deputy Heffernan knew anything about the matter he would have made The suggestion is that we should The suggestion is this that we should make representations to the British to allow dry fat cows that are intended for immediate slaughter at the ports to be allowed through even though their udders are indurated. It does not matter whether it is tuberculosis or not, the question is are their udders indurated. These representations, which have not been suggested by the Deputy, we are making.