I beg to move the following amendment:—
In sub-section (1) to add at the end of the sub-section the words "provided also that no live stock shall be carried by the amalgamated company upon other than company's risk conditions."
The cattle trade are anxious to have this amendment inserted in the Bill as they believe that it will compel the railway companies to exercise greater supervision over the transit of live stock. It may be suggested that at present the companies are liable for any loss or damage occurring to live stock or produce, and I suppose to a certain extent that may be so. But if cattle, sheep and other live stock are killed in transit, the owners have to go into court, prosecute the railway company, and prove to the satisfaction of the judge that it was through the direct negligence of the company that the loss occurred. We contend that that should not be so. Cattle traders are not very anxious to bring matters to court, and no matter how plain or patent the case may be, the railway companies never compensate the owners in any way except as a last resort. There are hundreds of cases of hardship which was suffered by people engaged in the live stock trade which, if they had been accompanied by this condition, the owner would be compensated for portion of the loss at any rate. The companies may object to pay, but we are satisfied if the companies do not carry our stock, and if the Minister is not satisfied to have this amendment inserted, to pay a small amount which would, of course, be settled by the railway tribunal, and that amount, if it were made a charge, would be infinitisimal, that is if everybody had to pay. Speaking to a man, who is very largely engaged in live stock, I was informed by him—he is a man who sends thousands of cattle over the railways—that for the past twelve months he had not a beast killed in transit. These figures could be gone into, and a table could be drawn up showing what the loss would be. That is a matter that could be settled before the tribunal. If, as I say, it were a combined charge, and if all live stock were carried at the owners' risk, the amount required to compensate for the loss sustained would be a very small amount if it were put on in every case. I hope that the Minister will not raise any objection to having this amendment inserted in the Bill.