Veterinary Surgeons Bill, 1930—Third Stage (Resumed).
The Dáil went into Committee.
Sections 31 to 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
(1) Whenever a person registered in the register is convicted in Saorstát Eireann of treason or of a felony or a misdemeanour or is convicted outside Saorstát Eireann of a crime or offence which would be a felony or a misdemeanour if committed in Saorstát Eireann, the Council may erase the name of such person from the register.
(2) The name of any person whose name has been erased from the register under this section may be restored to the register at any time by special direction of the Council, but not otherwise, and, when the name of a person is so restored to the register, the Council may attach to such restoration such conditions (including the payment of a fee not exceeding the fee which would be payable by such person for registration if he was then being registered for the first time) as the Council thinks fit.
I move amendment 11:—
In sub-section (1), line 45, after the word "may" to insert the words "by a resolution in favour of which not less than five members of the Council shall have voted".
I think the quorum of the body is three. I notice that a simple majority of the board can erase from the register the name of a person who is convicted of a crime or offence. I think it is rather unfair that that should be. I was looking up the Principal Act, that is the Act I suppose under which veterinary surgeons have been controlled up to the present, and under that Act to be removed for any crime whatever, even though the person was convicted in a court, it was necessary that there should be at least two-thirds of the members present and that there should be at least three-fourths of those present in favour of removing his name from the register.
You will notice also, in another part of this Bill, that for the offence of professional misconduct a name cannot be removed unless there are at least five members of the board in favour of its removal. For the reason that they have had at least this protection up to the present and also that they are continuing to have that protection in the case of professional misconduct I think the Minister should accept the amendment and allow a veterinary surgeon whose case has been considered at least to have the protection of having at least five members of the board voting for his removal.
The Deputy has stated that this amendment has been put down by him partly by reason of the analogy in Section 36 which demands that there should be a defined majority where there is the question of erasure on account of professional misconduct. In that he is right, but Section 36 has been drafted to meet the particular circumstances that rule. The whole situation here was decided on to enable procedure here to be carried out so as to cause the least trouble to the established institution and to be in accordance with their regulations. Their regulations with regard to professional misconduct ordain that it shall be a particular majority and that that majority shall have to be even of a particular type. We tried to fit our legislation in with that. On the other hand, when it came to striking off for reasons other than professional misconduct, such as treason or anything about which there has been a court judgment, we felt we were freer. Our minds ran this way. In order to make an erasure for treason a man has to commit something which has to be determined by a court to be a treasonable offence, so that there is the judgment of an independent body outside the professional group and in these circumstances we thought it was not unfair to say that the council by a simple majority should erase the name. In the case of professional misconduct, where it is a matter of taking away a man's livelihood because a certain group of the profession thought some conduct was unprofessional, we thought it was better to have somewhat more rigid conditions. You would have to fix a majority. And there were other provisions with regard to putting a person back. If the Deputy wants to press the amendment I do not think there is much in it. I wonder how far is he going to go by analogy with the other conditions, and as the situation that rules in the Principal Act is for professional misconduct and nothing else there has to be a fixed number of votes, and when it comes afterwards to an amendment of that judgment or the withdrawal of the previous erasure and the re-establishment of the man upon the register, there has to be a similar majority.
The Deputy only moves one step forward. He says for the striking off let there be a resolution in favour of which not less than five members of the council shall have voted. He does not say in the next sub-section, when it comes to re-establishing the man whose name has been erased, that it cannot be done unless there is a resolution in favour of which not less than five members of the council shall have voted. However, I do not attach very much importance to this. I do not think it is a very serious point, but I do think that the same argument could not apply to this question of striking off because of conviction for crime as could be raised on a question of professional misconduct, because with regard to professional misconduct the entire judgment is in the hands of the Veterinary Council, and one may say they are apt to err, and that one group of the profession should not be given the power, by a simple majority, to strike off a man's name. In this case there is a condition precedent, the condition being that there must have been a conviction for crime. That is a safeguard. On the other hand, if the Deputy wants that amendment, and if the House thinks it is a reasonable one, I have no great objection to it, but I would suggest that the second sub-section of Section 34 must likewise be amended. If you are to have these more rigid conditions before a man's name is struck off, you should also see that the same conditions are fulfilled before he is entered once more upon the register.
I do not attach major importance to this either. I read the Principal Act, but I did overlook what the Minister has said. I agree that if we were to push this we would also probably have to have the second sub-section amended. It might be as well to withdraw the amendment until the Report Stage, when it can be reconsidered.
The Deputy can put down the amendment he wants.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 34 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Sections 35 to 44 put and agreed to.
(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to practise or to represent or hold himself out, whether directly or by implication, as practising or being prepared to practise veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine unless he is for the time being a registered veterinary surgeon.
(2) Every person who acts in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable in respect of each such offence on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds.
The following amendments to the section appeared on the Order Paper:
To delete sub-section (1) and substitute the following:—
"(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to represent or hold himself out, whether directly or by implication as being a veterinary surgeon prepared to practise veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine unless he is for the time being a registered veterinary surgeon."—Mícheál O Braonáin, Michael Jordan.
To delete sub-section (1) and substitute therefor a new sub-section as follows:—
"(1) Every person who, after the establishment of the register, wilfully and falsely represents himself to be and holds himself out as being a person who is registered in the register or uses any name, title, addition, or description implying that is so registered shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding twenty-five pounds."—Séamus O Riain.
To delete sub-section (2) and substitute therefor a new sub-section as follows:—
"(2) On and after the establishment of the register no person shall be entitled to recover in any legal proceedings any fee or charge for or on account of any veterinary medical or surgical advice or attendance given by him, or any veterinary surgical operation performed by him, or any veterinary medicines both prescribed and supplied by him unless such person was registered on the register at the date on which such advice or attendance was given or such operation was performed or such medicines were prescribed and supplied (as the case may be)."—Séamus O Riain.
To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
"The provisions of the foregoing sub-sections shall not apply to any person attending any kind of live-stock as regards parturition, castration, spaying and de-horning or docking lambs."—Arthur P. Mathews.
To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
"The provisions of the foregoing sub-sections shall not apply to any farmer, stockowner or their employees performing any operation or administering medicines incidental to the usual care and management of live-stock; provided always that such person does not hold himself out as a veterinary practitioner or charge fees for his services."—Alexander Haslett.
To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—
"The provisions of the foregoing sub-sections shall not apply to such minor operations as the Minister may by order specify after consultation with the various interests concerned."—Arthur P. Mathews.
With regard to the amendments on the paper to this section, I understand the Minister has some suggestion to make.
There are a number of amendments to this section, which is really the section to which the most importance is attached. I do not know in what order it is intended to take them, but I suggest that we should take whichever of them would give rise to the most general discussion so that we could get a general idea of the lines upon which the minds of Deputies are running. Afterwards I could see if it would be possible to bring forward an amendment, I do not say which would meet everybody's opinion, but which would meet the majority opinion. There are a variety of amendments here. Some people wish that anybody may practise anything as long as there is no fee or reward paid. Others who do not want to go on that line want to have certain operations excepted from the terms of the Bill. I suggest that we take whichever amendment would give rise to the most general discussion so that afterwards there could be an amendment brought in for the Report Stage which would seem to be the one most acceptable.
I suggest that amendment 14 is the best amendment.
The Minister's suggestion is that we should discuss Section 45 and such amendment of that section as any Deputy may desire, and, having heard the discussion, the Minister will himself endeavour before the next stage to frame an amendment which will put the section into the form that the House would seem to desire. If that is the position, there is no necessity now to move any amendment. The section can be moved and debated. Anything that is relevant as an amendment to this section is relevant to the discussion upon the motion, "That the section stand part of the Bill." What the Minister apparently intends is that the section should be passed without a division, that is to say, without persons having committed themselves to vote for or against it, and that an amendment will be circulated by the Minister in sufficient time before the next stage comes on to enable any Deputy who is not satisfied to put down an amendment to that amendment, or an amendment to the section.
I suggest that amendment 14, which is taken verbatim out of the English Act, will meet the situation. The section as it reads at present is a great departure from and a great advance on the English Act. As far as I know it is the child of the veterinary profession here, and was put in at their instigation. It goes very much further than the English Act. Amendment 14 would leave the position pretty much as it is, and give the veterinary profession the status it wants at the same time. It will not prevent people who in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are as qualified as the veterinary profession——
Before we go into the merits, could we not discuss first what we are going to do?
I suggest that a number of these amendments specify certain things that are valueless, and would not meet the situation, but that amendment 14, with perhaps amendment 13 added to it, would leave the position in the most satisfactory way, and I think will be acceptable to the House.
I suggest, in addition to what you said, sir, that there should also be put upon the Order Paper for the Report Stage all the amendments that are at present listed to Section 45, and, in addition, whatever amendment I like to bring forward, so that the discussion will be entirely open.
If we agree now that we merely want a discussion on Section 45 to enable the Minister to frame an amendment, all we need do is to move "that the section stand part of the Bill," and all these amendments can be tabled for the next stage.
We do not want the section to stand part of the Bill. We shall vote against it.
What is behind the whole arrangement is the alteration of Section 45.
A very drastic alteration.
Perhaps a very drastic alternation—but first a discussion on the section with a view to discovering what amendment of the section the Committee desires. As the Minister says, his amendment will be tabled for the next Stage, and he may then move, and I am sure will, that the amendments to Section 45 be considered in Committee, so that on the next Stage we may have a Committee discussion, if the House so desires, on Section 45 and any amendments put down to it.
I do not think we are going to get any wiser between this and then.
We are intending to have a discussion now.
We are going to have a discussion now.
Do you mean to discuss all the amendments?
Yes, Section 45, and therefore all the amendments to it.
I should like to correct something that Deputy Gorey said. He may be right, but I did not get this out of the Veterinary Act. I got this out of the Medical Act, as I thought that if the veterinary surgeons were as well protected as the medical men it would be fair to them. I think that amendments 13 and 14 will have to be taken together. Amendment 13 makes it a condition that no person can hold himself out as a veterinary surgeon unless he is registered. It simply means that he cannot call himself a veterinary surgeon unless he is one. Amendment 14 provides that a man who practises veterinary surgery without being registered cannot charge a fee. These are the two things which are provided in the Medical Act, and I think they protect the medical men to a certain extent. I believe that there are some medical practitioners who are not satisfied with them, but there is a certain amount of protection in them; in fact there is a good lot of protection.
As the section stands, I believe it gives a monopoly to the veterinary profession which would not be in the interests of agriculture in general, because it would be absolutely impossible on every occasion that an animal might require veterinary attention for the farmer to send for a veterinary surgeon. I think something would have to be done by amendment that would enable the farmer himself, or his employees, to attend to animals. I have an amendment that goes that far, but I think we would have to go further than that. We all know from experience that there are men who have a reputation in an area for doing certain small operations on animals for which it would not pay a farmer to send for a veterinary surgeon. He could not possibly pay the expenses of the veterinary surgeon to come out and perform these operations. The farmer himself or his employees might not be competent to perform them, but some neighbour might be prepared to do them without fee and without calling himself a veterinary surgeon.
Would that individual in all cases be either a farmer, a stock-owner or an employee of either?
I think he would in nearly all cases. As a matter of fact, I met one veterinary surgeon who told me he represented a considerable body of the profession. I put some of these cases to him and he said that the veterinary surgeons generally do not want to bother with these small operations; that they knew that the farmers could not afford to pay them a fee sufficient to enable them to go on and perform these operations, such, for instance, as the castration of four or five pigs. If a veterinary surgeon was paid a fee for that which would cover the travelling expenses, say, for ten miles, there would be no profit left on the pigs. The veterinary surgeons do not want a monopoly of practice of that sort. They have no objection to having that practice left to these handy men, as they are known, in the districts. I would like to see a good deal of protection given to the veterinary surgeons. I would like that nobody else should get a fee for this work, and that nobody else should be allowed to call himself a veterinary surgeon, but I would not like to see the section as it is in the Bill go through, because that gives them a monopoly which is impossible.
I would like to see if I could get any common line upon which amendments might be brought in. There are a variety of amendments down, and there is one line of division as between these different amendments. One amendment in the name of Dr. Ryan deals with the matter from the point of view of payment that may be legally enforced, not payment which may be taken, but that can be legally enforced. On the other side, is the application of law, in other words, making certain operations by certain people illegal and punishable by fines. The amendments divide themselves generally along these two lines. Deputy Ryan sets out on one line, and his main line is somewhat to this point. Let there be operations performed by anyone as long as that person is not given the power legally to enforce payment of a fee, and so long as he does not hold himself out in any way under the title of a veterinary surgeon. Other amendments come along on the second line, and they have to be somewhat sub-divided. There is an amendment in the names of Deputy Brennan and Deputy Jordan, which says: "That it shall not be lawful for any person to represent or hold himself out, whether directly or by implication, as being a veterinary surgeon prepared to practise veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine unless he is for the time being a registered veterinary surgeon." That is really a little rigid in terms, for in order to conflict with that amendment if it became law, a person would have to hold himself out as a veterinary surgeon prepared to practise veterinary surgery. I do not know whether Deputies Jordan and Brennan had any special point in bringing in that particular phrase "as being a veterinary surgeon," but it narrows the extent of the amendment and the extent of the legislation afterwards if the amendment were accepted.
There is a further amendment in the name of Deputy Mathews with alternatives, one of which says: "The provisions of the foregoing sub-section shall not apply to any person attending any kind of live-stock," and then there are a certain number of named operations, and the alternative amendment is: "The provisions of the foregoing subsections"—that is with regard to registration and which make operations legal—"shall not apply," and then instead of specifying certain operations it says, "to such minor operations as the Minister may by order specify after consultation with the various interests concerned."
Lastly, there is the amendment in the name of Deputy Haslett which takes in both those ideas. It deals with the payment, or with the charging rather, of fees, and the type of operation and the type of persons who perform them. It says: "The provisions of the foregoing sub-sections shall not apply to any farmer, stockowner or their employees performing any operation or administering medicines incidental to the usual care and management of live-stock; provided always that such person does not hold himself out as a veterinary practitioner or charge fees for his services." As between the amendments suggested, and after having consultation with the veterinary people, who are quite reasonable in this matter, I feel that the last amendment I have quoted is the amendment that most definitely meets the case. Remember, if Deputy Ryan's amendment is accepted all that it does is to prohibit persons who are entitled to a fee to recover under any legal proceedings the fee or charge. It has been put to me by a veterinary surgeon that Deputy Ryan should amend his amendment so as to leave it that if anyone has paid a fee for an operation performed by an unregistered person he can afterwards recover. So to speak, he could plead the Veterinary Act and recover the money, because this does not prevent the passage of money. But if a man does not pay he cannot be brought to a court and made to pay by legal process.
I have been querying the amendment put down by Deputy Haslett, and that is why I have asked Deputy Ryan a question by way of interjection. I think it meets the situation. It seems to me that the people that the House desires to protect will be covered by the expression "any farmer, stockowner or their employees performing any operation or administering medicine incidental to the usual care and management of live-stock; provided always such person does not hold himself out as a veterinary practitioner or charge fees for his services." It seems to me that that is a better way of meeting the point than any other, because it still leaves that person liable for an offence if it is proved that a fee has been charged. Deputy Ryan's amendment stops short of that. It says that if a man does an operation on a credit basis he cannot after recover in a court of law. Deputy Gorey seems to be under a misapprehension as to the attitude of the veterinary profession. The veterinary profession's attitude is very much what Deputy Ryan indicated. They object to people being allowed to bill themselves as members of the profession when they are not, but they have very little objection to the smaller type of operations being performed by other people, and they recognise the necessity for that in the economy of the country. I think the veterinary profession and Deputies will find themselves in agreement on most of these points. I suggest that attention should be fixed on Deputy Haslett's amendment rather than on any other.
I disagree with the Minister. The terms of amendment 14 are taken exactly out of the British Act, word for word, and the British Act is quite a good Act. It is the thing you are aiming at here. The amendment of Deputy Haslett is faulty to my mind, because it prevents the farmer or somebody else giving some recompense to a person who comes six or seven miles and performs perhaps a very skilful operation. That should not be stopped or prevented.
The Deputy is in favour of amendment 14?
Yes, and leaving it at that.
That aims at preventing charges being made.
It does not. It makes it illegal to recover in Court but it does not prevent money passing. That is a privilege that people want in the country and will insist on having. Make no mistake about that at all. They will insist on having that privilege no matter what people here may think. I have no hesitation in saying that to my mind amendment 14 stands out in preference to all the rest from the farmer's point of view. I speak for a great number of farmers that I have met in conference on this matter. I speak for the farmers of my own county and people in counties outside. The matter has been discussed and I say that you will have a unanimous opinion in favour of amendment 14 in preference to all others. I would agree with Deputy Haslett's amendment were it not for the fact that the word "charge" is there at all. If a nominal fee is charged and the farmers choose to pay it as a just recompense for very valuable service rendered, there is no reason why that should not be done. There ought to be no word in the Bill to prevent it.
Can we get from Dr. Ryan his intention in putting down this amendment? Was it with deliberation that he stopped short at the legal enforcement of the charge or was it his idea to prevent money passing?
I took the amendment from the Medical Act. If it is the same as the British Veterinary Act then it must be a formula common to all these Acts. I do not know. If one of these men came to perform a minor operation and if he were offered his expenses or something in lieu of half a day I would not like to see him prohibited by law from accepting that. On the other hand, I would not like to give him power to sue for it.
It would appear to me that we are considering all these amendments en bloc. To my mind, Deputy Haslett's amendment with some slight modification would meet the case. Where the amendment speaks of farmers and their employees I would like to ask would a handyman—a cow doctor—be regarded for the time being as a farmer's employee.
If he would, or if he could, by any misconstruction of the amendment be so regarded it would defeat the whole purpose of the Bill. Amendment No. 14 does not appeal to me. In densely populated areas, such as there are in England, veterinary surgeons are not very well known. Neither are the handymen nor cow doctors and, of course, there is some need to make provision against misrepresentation by handymen posing as veterinary surgeons. In Ireland, however, it is quite different. The handyman is well known. It appears to me that there is an immoral principle underlying amendment 14. A farmer who is crooked might employ a handyman knowing that he is not a veterinary surgeon and, when employing him, would have at the back of his mind the fact that he need not pay him, that he could, as it were, plead the Gaming Act. That, I think, is improper. If the law allows him to employ such a man that man should get his wages.
I am glad that the Minister's education in regard to this question has progressed a good deal since the previous discussion on this Bill when he contended that any person who dishorned cattle should be liable to prosecution. In my opinion amendment 14 is the only one that covers the case. I am a farmer and I have consulted farmers in my constituency on this matter. I know handymen in my constituency and I can say that if I had a cow about to calve I would prefer the handyman any time to a veterinary surgeon.
You would be a bad judge.
I would be a very good judge. I have personally taken over the treatment of cows about to calve after veterinary surgeons had given them up in despair and I was successful. A handy man who travels ten or twelve miles a day for four days a week in a particular district has about twenty times more knowledge on such matters than a veterinary surgeon. He is a much safer man and if I brought him to attend to four or five cows I would pay him his fee beforehand and there would be no trouble about it. Amendment No. 14 is so framed that he will get his fee beforehand and it will prevent him taking legal proceedings afterwards. I think that the Minister should accept that amendment. If I were in his boots I would not allow political spleen to interfere with the welfare of the community. The Minister is here to look after the interests of the community at large and not to bring in a bad Bill in order to satisfy party spleen.
It seems to me that we should keep in mind the main purpose for which the Bill was introduced—namely, to regularise the position of veterinary surgeons, to set up a register, and to have them duly registered. Has any case been made—I have not heard it so far—for interfering with the common practice of farmers in regard to the treatment of their stock? Have there been any abuses or great losses to live stock as a result of the operations of these so-called unqualified people? I have never heard of them. No case has been made here for the drastic reform as first set out in Section 45, and it is generally accepted now as being unnecessary. Perhaps some farmer Deputies who are better acquainted with these matters than I will tell us that. Is there any need to do more under this Bill than to regularise the position of veterinary surgeons, to set up a register and to give them a status? Unless a case has been made showing that there have been great abuses with consequent losses of live stock, I suggest that the proper thing to do would be to delete the word "practice" from the section, so that it would read, "It shall not be lawful for any person to hold himself out, either directly or indirectly by implication, as a veterinary surgeon."
Practically. You simply leave things as they are, except that you prevent a person, unless he is registered, from holding himself out as a veterinary surgeon. Deputy Dr. Ryan's amendment, No. 13, does that more specifically and definitely. Coming to Amendment No. 14, there is a point to which none of the speakers so far has adverted—namely, that as it stands now a druggist or chemist who supplies medicines to farmers in the ordinary way is prevented from recovering the cost of these medicines because he is not supposed to supply any veterinary medicines.
There may be a technical meaning for the word "prescribe." Frequently the practice in the country is for a farmer to go to a local chemist who has a general knowledge of veterinary matters and to describe to him what is wrong with his beast. The chemist will state that there is a good specific for it. In that case is he prescribing and supplying the medicine? In that case he would have no right to recover the cost if the amendment stands as it is. As regards the points made by Deputy Corry, I agree to a considerable extent that there are people who practise minor operations and who go from town to town and farm to farm treating cattle. Deputy Corry approves of that man, but he has not told us why such a man should not be able to recover his fee.
He is not such a fool to do the job unless he gets paid first.
Suppose there is a farmer who wants to get out of paying and wants to plead this particular section. Deputy Corry should remember that Deputy Dr. Ryan is a professional man first. He is a farmer, too, but his first love is for the medical profession. How has Deputy Corry allowed himself to be caught in that way? If a farmer wants to dodge payment——
Even if there is only one.
Any one of these lads would buy and sell all the vets. in the Free State.
He would demand money down if this amendment were passed. I could not see anything wrong leaving things as they are, provided we insert Dr. Ryan's amendment, No. 13. That would be my solution of the matter.
There seems to be a lot of trouble about this section. It seems to me that Deputy Corry agrees so well with Deputy Gorey that they should come together and have a little discussion. They both suggested that veterinary surgeons were inferior to the ordinary quack, but I do not know that people generally agree with that. I do not know that the House would agree with it either. As regards the amendment to Section 45, I agree with the Minister and with Deputy Dr. Hennessy that Deputy Haslett's amendment would be quite all right, provided there was a little alteration in the wording of it. I do not know exactly what he means by the word "employees." Suppose a stock-owner or a farmer got a man, a local quack, we will say, and said to him, "John, I want you to do a few calves or a few colts, I want you to inoculate a few calves against blackleg: I will give £1." Can such a man be considered an employee? If Deputy Haslett's amendment were altered by inserting the word "permanent" before the word "employee" I think that would meet the case, and I suggest that alteration to the Minister.
In regard to the amendment standing in my name, I would like to say that I tried to approach the matter from the viewpoint of a commonsense farmer. I think all Deputies are in agreement that the section as it stands is not a proper one and that we, as Deputies, the great majority of whom are farmers or represent farming communities, could not allow this Bill pass through our hands in its present form and justify it in the country. We could not take away from the owner of livestock power to do things which are incidental to the management and care of livestock. At the same time I recognise that the Bill is designed to regularise the veterinary profession. There is nothing whatever wrong about that. At this point I think I might say that I cannot understand Deputy O'Connell's viewpoint, because if any Deputy in the House should say that it was desirable that the status of the profession should be defined properly, it should be Deputy O'Connell. When Deputy O'Connell goes on to say: "Let things remain as they are; let whoever likes in the country hold himself out as a veterinary practitioner——"
Excuse me, I made it absolutely clear that I was in favour of Deputy Dr. Ryan's amendment No. 13. I said I was in favour of setting up this Register for the purpose of safeguarding the profession and of preventing anybody holding himself out as the member of the profession who was not properly qualified.
You are a bad veterinary trade unionist.
I do not want to misrepresens Deputy O'Connell, but I took him as saying: "Let things stand but have a Veterinary Register." I think that is what he said. However, we will let that matter pass. Deputy O'Connell, I think, would be the last person who would take up the attitude that an unqualified teacher should have the right to teach as a qualified teacher or that a carpenter should have the right to do mason's work. After all members of the veterinary profession spend a considerable amount of money on their education as specialists in a certain branch and they desire certain protection.
Speaking as a farmer, I say that the farming community must have the liberty to manage their livestock. Approaching this matter from that view point, I tried in my amendment to provide that the farmer could so attend his livestock. With all deference to Deputy Corry and Deputy Gorey, who would seem to be in agreement, I do not think we could accept their view that a farmer would employ a handy man in preference to a veterinary surgeon every time. The handy man has his place and it is a very useful place at times. Are we not, however, going to take advantage of the advance of veterinary science and of the facilities of which we can get the benefits directly and indirectly?
It is set out in my amendment that the provisions shall not apply to the farmer or stock owner, the man who owns stock in the first instance, or to his herd or employee. Farmer Deputies in the House are aware that while they are here looking after the country's business, they have to leave some of their employees to look after their stock. These employees must be protected in this Bill as well as the farmers themselves. There is a multitude of things that must be done and done quickly in the treatment of livestock and I believe the veterinary profession have no hankering after these things. There is the usual attention which cattle receive at calving time. That attention involves things that must be done quickly. There is also the matter of horses taking colic. There is the bleeding of various animals and the treatment of horses who take farcy. Anyone who is familiar with cattle knows that when cattle have been housed all the winter sometimes the blood rushes to their heads when being brought to the market. They must be attended to in ten minutes or else they die. In that case we could not prevent the farmer, the owner, or anyone else from helping. Those are the two people, the farmer and his employee. Then there is the other man, his neighbour. In the country we co-operate in this way. If anything happens suddenly and we want relief we apply to our neighbour. If a man were prevented from helping his neighbour it would be against all Irish tradition. It would be against reason that we should prevent the farmer from helping his neighbour.
That is the whole structure on which our system, especially of agriculture, is built. Having those three people in mind, that is what I wanted to protect. I have no desire to set any one else up as a veterinary practitioner except one qualified. You can draw the pen through the latter clause of my amendment. When I put it down I thought it would explain my amendment. If the House thinks that should be removed, I am quite willing to remove it. A Deputy asked about employees. An employee is a person employed by another. If we ask for the services of a doctor for a member of our family we do not call that doctor an employee. We do not call a veterinary surgeon an employee in that sense. They come to render services and they get their fees, sometimes. Under no consideration could we call them employees. What I mean by an employee is one who is habitually employed on a farm.
Another reason I might advance for this particular view-point is that we would be cutting across, perhaps unduly, some of the good work that the Department of Agriculture have been doing in the country. Our young people who go to the agricultural colleges get a certain amount of training in rural science and are taught something about the diseases of animals. They also have lectures in various districts. We appreciate them very much in our district. Professor Mason advised us in days gone by and gave us a lot of valuable remedies. We would not like that this Bill should prevent us from using these simple remedies that we have. I think this amendment would fairly meet the case. The Minister has put it far better than I can put it. It meets the case and groups together the two points the other amendments seek to alter. As farmers we must be allowed to manage our stock and administer such treatment as is necessary for their welfare. Otherwise we might as well go out of business.
We all understood Deputy Haslett's attitude in this matter. We knew that he wanted to preserve as much liberty and right for the farmer as is good for him, but I suggest to Deputy Haslett that the terms of his amendment do not give the farmer as much liberty as he enjoyed under the English Charter. These amendments are taken from the Act or from the Charter of the Royal College of Surgeons. I do not know if I am using the right word.
It was the House of Commons.
They must have their advice.
Like here, they did not adopt it.
It gives us more liberty than Deputy Haslett's amendment. Deputy Haslett's amendment would apply to any farmer, stock-owner or their employee. That means that the farmer himself or his neighbouring stock-owner——
Not neighbouring, any stock-owner.
It may be that the particular individual who would be most useful to him would not come under one or other of the heads. He would not be a stock-owner at all. He will not have the privilege of calling in the man with the most skill under Deputy Haslett's amendment.
He cannot help his neighbour at all.
I suggest that you have more liberty under the terms of the English Act. They are satisfied with it in England and we are satisfied with it here.
Who had the liberty? Quacks.
Deputy Crowley can use any term he likes about people who are not here and who have been of considerable utility to farmers for generations, people to whom the agricultural community owe a debt. No matter what is said it will not lessen the appreciation of the farming community for them. You can abuse them and use any language you like, but it will not do them any harm. I suggest that Deputy Haslett's amendment seems to be pressed here by a certain section, and that ought to be enough for Deputy Haslett. When you hear Deputy Crowley and Deputy Dr. Hennessy supporting Deputy Haslett's amendment, you ought to examine your conscience.
Might I draw the Deputy's attention to one word which is repeated twice and which I think he has overlooked? It is a word of three letters, "any," any farmer, any operation. I think that if he pays attention to those two words he will find that both the farmer and his neighbour are well looked after.
That does not alter the question of any farmer, stock-owner or his employee. I know the position in the country is that a particular individual is not a farmer, a stock-owner or an employee. That is the general case.
This deprives him of the skill of the best man in his district.
Deputy Corry referred to operations. It requires a considerable amount of physical fitness to perform an operation successfully on a cow calving, and more particularly in the taking of a foal from a mare. It requires considerable strength and stamina to undertake an operation of that sort, especially if the foal is in a contrary place. Sheep do not require the same strength or muscle. I happen to know a lot about these matters as I spent years at them. I never let anyone into my place to help me. I know what I am talking about. I have often had to do the job with a veterinary surgeon standing on the bank, sometimes acting on his instructions, while at other times these instructions were not worth two pins. There are some diseases better handled by local men than by any veterinary surgeon. One of them is farcy, and were it not for the cures handed down from generation to generation by local men——
Not charms. Deputy Hennessy puts an undue value upon people who have been for a few years in a college. They must have a peculiar brand of brain while ordinary people in the country according to the Deputy must be absolute imbeciles although they have had perhaps thirty or forty years' practice. You can get as much practice with a live animal in the country as you can with a dead carcase in one of the veterinary colleges. What applies to the case of human beings does not apply to animals. When it comes to animals we insist on our rights. I say to the Minister in all seriousness that the terms of amendment 14 will meet the situation. The English ideal is what is wanted. It regularises the position. If it satisfies them in England it ought to satisfy the veterinary profession here. It will satisfy the people of this country.
Of the three amendments I am rather inclined to favour Deputy Haslett's notwithstanding what Deputy Gorey has said against it. It meets practically all the complaints that farmers had against what I might call the vagueness of the wording of the section. It permits a farmer or his neighbour or employee to perform any necessary operation and to administer the necessary medicine. Deputy Gorey is afraid that the word "employee" will prevent certain people getting the best help. I am not afraid of that, because I think the category farmer, stockowner or employee includes everyone that could be conceived as likely to perform an operation or to administer medicine. I cannot think of anyone outside that. Deputy Gorey did not say who was outside that category, unless it was a man practising as a semi-vet. and who makes a charge. I think the wording would satisfy most farmers. It certainly satisfies me. A point has been made as to charging a fee. I think it is the general opinion that we should not put down the principle that a man should charge a fee for his services. Deputy Gorey suggested that if we did not put that in we should leave it open to him to get a fee. I think it would be a rather dangerous if not an immoral principle, to set that out in a Bill. If Deputy Gorey can read that into Deputy Ryan's amendment he can certainly read the same thing into Deputy Haslett's amendment. Deputy Haslett says that a fee should not be charged, but he does not say that a person might not be recompensed, which, I think, was the word used by Deputy Gorey. It would be quite legitimate to give a glass of grog to the man who helped. Deputy Haslett does not rule it out. Perhaps a man might be given his dinner. He says definitely that a fee is not to be charged. But that is not good enough for Deputy Gorey. I think it would be good enough for Deputy Ryan. It is quite good enough for me. In a Bill of this sort we cannot set down the principle that while a farmer does not get permission to perform an operation or to get his neighbour, or his employee to do so, or to administer medicine, the Minister says we should not put anyone in the position to charge a fee for his services. Of all the amendments I think Deputy Haslett's meets the situation better than any of the others, and I will support it.
I do not think Deputy Bennett could have been in the House when Deputy Haslett dealt with his amendment. If he had been he would not have made the statement that he has made. When Deputy Haslett was dealing with the question of an employee he made himself very clear. For instance, he said he would not consider Deputy Hennessy, nor a veterinary surgeon, an employee. The Deputy made it clear that anyone who was called in to perform an operation would not be an employee. That would rule out people who do farmers an amount of good. A handy man who goes around has ten times as much experience as the veterinary surgeon. He deals with at least forty head of cattle to the one case that the veterinary surgeon would deal with. I desire to explain that when I mentioned veterinary surgeons I alluded to them when dealing with certain classes of work. Deputy Gorey alluded to one class of work, taking a calf from a cow, where the handy man has ten times as much experience as the veterinary surgeon. I would rather have a handy man in a case like that, and also with pigs, because of the experience that man has. The ordinary veterinary surgeon gets an engagement one day at one sort of work, and he might not get another engagement of a similar kind for four or five months. Deputy Gorey knows that, and he knows that the other men are working about the country every day. As to charging a fee for their services, I have no objection to that. I think they are entitled to a fee. I think farmers are very glad to pay them fees. The loss of one calf or pig by a botch of a veterinary surgeon would more than pay for the services of all of them. That is the information I have, and that is the experience in my constituency. I think Deputy Ryan's amendment meets the situation. If I did not I would say so. It meets the case in the only way in which it can be met here. I think there should not be any more time lost in the matter. I would ask the Minister to accept Deputy Ryan's amendment. It completely meets the case, and it protects the farming community, who actually want protection at the present time. We have too many officials and too many Acts hunting them from the time they get up in the morning until they go to bed. The farmers do not want any more persecution from the Minister who is going to fine them £20 for bottling a cow.
I do not think Deputy Haslett's amendment meets the situation at all. Take the case of a farmer who lives 30 miles away from any veterinary surgeon. One of his cows gets sick or she is on the brink of calving. What is that man to do? He is to bring in the services of a handy man. Is it then expected that that handy man is to go and bring the calf from that cow, and leave his home, travel seven or eight miles, and spend his day without any remuneration? Perhaps on the following day somebody else may want that handy-man to perform light operations on young pigs. Is that man expected to leave his home day after day and go from one farmer to another without any remuneration? According to Deputy Haslett's amendment he will be breaking an Act of Parliament if this Bill becomes law and he accepts payment for his services.
With regard to the word "employee" which Deputy Haslett used, I want to say that I know a number of cases, and I do not know whether they would come under this definition of an employee. I do not know if the farmers' sons would come under the category of persons mentioned in the Deputy's amendment.
Would they not be farmers?
I do not know whether they would or not. There could not be two farmers on a farm—the farmer and the farmer's son.
Well, the farmer's son is not a farmer, and he would not be allowed to operate.
He is excluded by the amendment.
If Deputy Haslett's amendment were carried it would be disastrous to a lot of people who are living very far away from any veterinary surgeon. I know places in South Kerry where farmers live thirty miles from a veterinary surgeon. A man there, who, acting as a handy-man in such cases, should not be expected to give his services free, and the farmer himself could not be expected to have a veterinary surgeon in every small operation. Nor in cases of urgency either could the farmer very often have a veterinary surgeon at his command. Deputy Haslett's amendment would never meet the situation.
In Deputy Haslett's amendment there is a phrase, which if adopted, is likely to give rise to a good deal of discussion as to what it means. I refer to the phrase "incidental to the usual care and management of live stock." What operation is incidental to the usual care and management of live stock or rather what operation is not incidental to the usual care and management of live stock? Somebody in the interests of the veterinary surgeon's profession might bring a case into court prosecuting a farmer for carrying out an operation which would be held not to be incidental to the usual care and management of live stock, although my reading of it is that there is hardly any operation that would not come under that definition. There is no operation that would be ruled out under that amendment. That is my reading of the wording at all events. I cannot conceive of any operation that could not be claimed to be incidental to the usual care and management of live stock. It would be very hard for any court to draw a distinction between one class of operation and another.
He would be entitled to perform any operation.
That is the Deputy's amendment, that he would be entitled to perform any operation he wishes.
Yes. He might really be the class of man Deputy Corry has in mind. But I would be forced to go back to my original suggestion which Deputy Haslett seems to understand. When Deputy Haslett spoke on that I found that he and I were in exact agreement. He does not want any change—he does not want to prevent the farmer from doing what he has always done in the past. That was my original suggestion. But I would undoubtedly prevent anybody holding himself out as a veterinary surgeon.
The Deputy need not worry about that.
I would like to have this clear—on the matter of charge there is a difference between Deputy Haslett's amendment and Deputy Ryan's amendment. Deputy Ryan's amendment says that the amount is not to be recovered by law, and Deputy Haslett says that there is to be no charge. Deputy Haslett said he did not care very much about that and that it could be amended. I listened to Deputy O'Reilly. He concentrated mainly on this question of charge. Supposing the end of Deputy Haslett's amendment were amended so as to make it read "or enforce payment for services rendered," then by putting that part at the foot of Deputy Ryan's amendment it would meet part of the objection made by Deputy O'Reilly to this whole thing.
I do not know whether that is not opening the whole thing up too much. But supposing that we accepted that, we have one other point raised with regard to Deputy Haslett's amendment, that is to say this question of defining "employees." At any rate if people want the word "employee" so far extended that it will cover any man who is for a particular purpose hired by the farmer or stock owner they may as well have no section because if you are to have an employee for the time being for the purpose of the operation, then the whole Saorstát would be included in the acceptance. I do not expect that Deputy Haslett intends to go to that extent, but it is not fair to go to that extent. Think of the word "employee" as being rather a servant. I would not like to go to the point that Deputy Crowley reached when he said "a servant ordinarily employed by him." That is what Deputy Haslett has in mind. I have been listening to this debate and I have not yet heard any answer to that point. There are certain operations done by certain people and these the House desires to exempt from the provisions of Section 45.
I have not yet heard of any concrete illustration of a person likely to perform these operations not covered by the terms farmer, stock owner, farmer's servant or stock owner's servant. So far I have not heard of any. There has not been very much made of it so far. I would like to have pointed out how many other people it is desired to cover. If there are any people who are not included in any of these terms let us see what other category they occupy. If there is some definition by way of limitation of persons, Deputy Haslett's amendment is an easily accepted amendment. Deputy O'Connell has raised a new point. That is a question of the chemist supplying for the needs of animals. If a person goes into a chemist's shop and asks for a proprietary medicine that is not covered by Deputy Ryan's amendment. It is not covered to this extent that a chemist supplying a proprietary medicine on credit can afterwards sue for his fee and recover, but he cannot sue if he prescribes and fills his own prescription. I do not know if that is the intention. The general line is that prescribing and supplying his own medicine is the thing that is definitely aimed at. How are we going to aim at it? Is it a question of exempting from the provisions of the sub-section or simply saying that a person can put on a charge and that the only penalty is the prohibition of legal enforcement of the fee, or is it going to be excepting certain people doing certain things?
Deputy O'Connell has raised a further point. If a man can charge, logically, there is no reason why he should not be given the power to enforce the charge. I do not know whether you could afford to be logical in that matter. That used to be one of the penalties in regard to unregistered medical or dental practitioners. The situation has changed somewhat. As to those who want to make a comparison between the old situation and the present situation, I want to remind people again of this further change. In the days in which that section was passed with regard to veterinary practitioners, there was in existence, and was seriously being considered to put into effective operation, a clause relating to the use of anæsthetics. It was made definitely an offence for any unregistered person to perform any operation which required the use of anæsthetics. These things have rather fallen into desuetude at the moment, but they are still there. It is a question of finding what is required in this matter. There seems to be on another question—the matter of worn-out horses being exported—a rather strong humanitarian feeling in the House. That lapses when it comes to operations performed on livestock in the country. Is it to be suggested in this case that the Act should be allowed to remain in desuetude, or that they should not be operated on, as in most of these cases persons would have to use anæsthetics for the purpose of certain operations? I suggest, having got to this point in discussion, if Deputy Ryan's amendment goes in, that I should be allowed to incorporate whatever arguments have been used on Deputy Haslett's amendment in a new form, modelled on Deputy Haslett's amendment, and bring forward that as a special amendment in opposition to Deputy Ryan's amendment 14. Frankly, I do not know what amendment 13 means, because it is already in the Bill. We could put Deputy Haslett's amendment in such a way that Deputy Ryan's amendment would be to remove the portion which deals with charges or which would allow a substituted amendment. Instead of saying "cannot charge a fee," the phrase would be "cannot enforce payment of fees."
That is a nice way to cheat the superior men we heard so much about.
Am I to take it that the amendments should be left as they are and that the section should be put?
Might I suggest that it would be best that all the amendments should reappear on the Report Stage with whatever modifications any Deputy considers necessary. I would hope to see Deputy Ryan's amendment 14 on the Paper again. If Deputy Haslett allows me. I will get his amendment modified in certain particulars and bring it forward as my own amendment, and give the House a chance of discussing it in opposition to amendment 14.
There was a matter mentioned with regard to a chemist prescribing which did not occur to me when I was copying this amendment out of the Medical Act. A person may come into a chemist and say that there was a certain thing wrong with an animal and would he please give him something for it. The chemist might prescribe himself and give him the medicine and afterwards he would not be in the position to recover payment for the bottle. I did not think of that position. If I were putting down amendment 14 again I might like to alter it, to allow for such a position. I would like to protect the chemist. The same thing is in the Medical Act as is in this amendment. Deputy Dr. Hennessy spoke about this amendment and said it was immoral. Deputy Dr. Hennessy should be the last man to talk about amendment 14 being immoral, because I took it out of the Medical Act. If Deputy Dr. Hennessy was not responsible for that at least he should know something about it. If it is immoral to have this in the Medical Act he should have brought in an amending Bill here long ago.
I want to get Deputy Ryan's point of view. If Deputy Ryan would look at the amendment in Deputy Haslett's name —I am not saying that he should accept the form of Deputy Haslett's amendment—it might be amended to include not merely farmers and employees, but chemists. That is what he wants to achieve, that the chemists in other words would be excepted entirely from the provision of Section 45.
I would like to see that done.
You must have it that the provisions of the foregoing subsections shall not apply to any farmer, stockowner or their employees or whomsoever they choose to call in. I heard this amendment, which had been taken out of the Veterinary Surgeons Bill and the Medical Bill, described as being immoral.
The sections that Deputy Gorey and Deputy Ryan are concerned with have reference more to unfrocked doctors and unfrocked veterinary surgeons representing themselves in their former capacity.
We are not dealing with anybody who has been unfrocked. We are dealing with the actual words of the Act, and we heard them being described as immoral.
The Act that the Deputy is working under is immoral.
It would be just as well to explain again. We have been told here about people who are far superior to the qualified veterinary surgeon, and yet we have an amendment here which makes provision to cheat them out of their fees. It does not allow them to recover their fee. That is Deputy Gorey's position.
It is the position of the medical profession and of the veterinary profession. Deputy Hennessy need not have any heartaches about this at all. It is a matter that will settle itself in the country without his assistance. This question of whether fees are charged or not will automatically settle itself. It has settled itself before now without any reference to law courts and it will continue to do it. Anything that will not give the farmer the privilege of calling in any man he needs, whether he is an employee or not, or whether he is a stockowner or not, will not be accepted by me and will not be accepted by a considerable number of the farmers on the Cumann na nGaedheal benches. This is too small to be made a Party matter. I do not believe it is a Party matter and Deputy Ryan has no more claim to this amendment than I have, because it is taken entirely from the English Act. I am astonished that a man with intelligence, like Deputy Dr. Hennessy, describes it as immoral. It was also described by Deputy Bennett as immoral.
I never described it as immoral.
I for one will go into the Lobby in favour of this amendment and this amendment only.
I would say that taking this as the basis I am quite willing to include chemists as regards protection in supplying medicines. I am quite willing to submit my amendment to the Minister and let him add such words to it as shall achieve the end that I think we all have in view. I should like to point out to Deputy Gorey in regard to the point he has emphasised so much in respect of the fees that the other amendment is much worse on the man he referred to than mine would be, because it is definitely stated in the other amendment that he cannot recover the fees. That is much stronger than I have put it.
I think it was agreed that Section 45 and the amendments to it should be discussed but that the amendments would not be put at this Stage. As a matter of fact, they were not moved but were discussed with the section. I understand the House was agreeable that the section should be allowed to be passed at this Stage and that the Minister would bring in an amendment to the section on the next Stage, the House, if necessary, to go into Committee on the section and on the Minister's amendment, and that the Minister's amendment would be circulated in sufficient time to enable Deputies to put down amendments to it, or to the section as it now stands. If the House is satisfied with that, I think we might pass on from Section 45 now.
Might I make a suggestion to the Minister? All over the country shops other than druggists' shops are selling linseed oil and cattle salts. These people should not be penalised under this Bill, because it is not always possible for farmers to go to a druggist for these medicines, and they can always get them at a hardware shop.
Section put and agreed to.
Arising out of the amendments to Section 45, there may have to be consequential amendments to this section, so that it will have to be passed on the same understanding.
Section put and agreed to.
Sections 47 and 48 agreed to.
Amendments 17, 18, 19 and 20, in the name of Deputy Ryan, are out of order.
As these amendments have been ruled out of order, I should like to say a few words on the Schedule. There was considerable discussion here before about the word "treason" in the First Schedule, and the Minister gave the impression that it was inserted by him in the Schedule. Speaking on Section 2, which refers to the Schedule, on the Committee Stage the Minister wound up his speech by saying:—
With regard to the famous point about treason, some Deputy spoke on the Second Reading about striking off every person being in the agreement. I said it was not in the agreement, and neither is it, and I say so still. What is in the agreement is that if a person is adjudged guilty of treason in this country, and is after that put off our register by our Council, he will not be able to go to England and say he is a member of the General Council, and then come back here by virtue of that channel. That is my clause in the agreement, and nobody else's. I am not going to have people adjudged guilty of treason in this country being shoved back on us as veterinary surgeons because an English authority did not think them guilty of treason. I would like the Deputy to ponder over that.
I took the Minister's advice and did ponder over it, and the only thing I can make out is that the Minister thought it necessary to put this clause about treason into the agreement so as to prevent those who were put off the register here for treason going across to England and getting on the General Register, and by that means coming back to the Free State Register again. That was the Minister's reason for putting treason into the agreement. That may be all right —probably it is. But the strange thing is, if we go back to the discussion on the Dentists Act we will see that I raised precisely that point, that there was no use in talking about treason in the Dentists Act, because if a person were put off the dentists' register here he could go across to England, get on the General Register, and come back to the Free State Register. The Minister then said I was wrong. There was no mention of treason in the agreement on the question of the dentists, so that if the Minister is right in his contention here, that it was necessary for him to put that clause about treason into the veterinary surgeons' agreement in order to prevent the veterinary surgeon who was put off for treason here going and getting on the General Register in Great Britain, and by that means coming back here on to the Free State Register, he must, I believe, have been wrong when, on the 9th November, 1927, when I made that very point about the dentists' register, he told me that I was wrong. I held that I was not wrong, and he resorted to his usual impertinence by telling me to read the agreement and, when I said I had read it, he then said it was a matter of understanding. I should like to ask the Minister if I am right in saying that his reason for putting treason into this agreement was to prevent a veterinary surgeon who was put off the register here for treason getting on the register in England, and by that means getting back on the Free State Register.
Certainly, the very reason.
What about the dentists then?
I must look up the old Act.
If the Minister will look up column 1087, volume XXI., he will see that when I raised that very point he told me I was absolutely wrong, that they could not come back.
You would have to look up the Act as well.
The agreement is practically identical.
Except that treason is not mentioned.
I do not accept that reading.
First Schedule, Second Schedule and Title agreed to.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported; Report Stage fixed for Thursday, 30th April, 1931.