Skip to main content
Normal View

Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 5 Sep 1934

Vol. 19 No. 6

Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill, 1934—Report Stage.

I move amendment No. 1:—

Section 2. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(2) This Act shall remain in force until the 31st day of March, 1936 and shall then expire.

I have not very much to add to what I said in reference to this amendment on the last day when I withdrew it in order to have a consultation with the Minister to see if we could get an agreed amendment. The Minister and some Senators were of opinion on that occasion that the period of one year was too short for the experiment. Consequently, I have given an additional six months and now propose that the Bill shall expire on 31st March, 1936. The Minister has put down an amendment giving it another year. I do not think that we can add very much to the arguments put forward on the last occasion in favour of the amendment, but it is a concession that the Minister has agreed that the Bill shall expire in 1937. I am confident and I am prepared to have a small bet with the Minister on it, that before 12 months have expired the Minister will be compelled to bring in an amending Bill because this is a completely new departure. He will find before the Bill has been working six months that a number of its provisions will have to be amended and consequently he will have to introduce an amending Bill. For that reason, I think he should agree to this amendment. If the Bill is a workable one and if, as we all hope, it turns out to be to the advantage of the farmers in the way of getting better prices for their stock, then there will be no opposition to the amending Bill; but if it turns out to be an impossible measure to work, one which is taking away all freedom from the farmers, then the sooner we have an opportunity of getting completely shut of the Bill the better.

I beg to support the amendment which I spoke in favour of on the last day. I think the suggestion of giving the Bill a trial for 12 months is a very sensible one to make. From my experience of the cattle trade I have no hope that the Bill will be a success. I think 12 months' experience will more than satisfy the farmers and the Minister that the Bill cannot be worked—that it will lead to confusion and create changes amongst the farming interests in the country. To a certain extent, the Bill is experimental and there is no such thing as anybody saying that it can be a success. There is no opportunity of knowing how it will work. I cannot see very much hope for its success. The proof of the pudding is in the eating and I think 12 months are long enough for it to be in operation. I really anticipate, especially in regard to the marking of cattle and the carrying out of the regulations laid down, that it will be found to be unworkable and lead to greater confusion than we have at present in the cattle trade.

I intend to support the amendment. This Bill provides for very wide powers of control over the principal portion of the live stock industry. In my opinion, that control is likely to interfere very much with the independence of the individual in carrying on that live stock industry to the best of his ability. It is likely to destroy initiative. It will be rather inclined to reduce the expert farmer to the level of the dud farmer, because there will really be little or no initiative left to the person conducting his own business. One would not be at all inclined to support the Bill but for the fact that it is dealing with abnormal circumstances and is considered necessary to relieve the plight into which the agriculturist is forced under existing conditions. I believe this Bill is calculated, and I am sure it is intended, to relieve the farmers. It is, in my opinion, the first real effort of this Government in that direction. For that reason I feel inclined to support the Bill, as I have already done in Committee. But when I supported the Bill, I did so on the understanding that there would be a time limit applied, say, up to September, 1935. Senator Counihan has increased that time limit by about six months. The time limit, therefore, is the question before us now. In my opinion one would not be justified at all in supporting this Bill if his sympathies lay with the agriculturists of this country, if there was no time limit imposed. The Minister apparently is in sympathy with the suggestion that there should be a time limit, and the question is what the length of time should be. I think the amendment we are dealing with suggests a very reasonable period. I think we should have a fair indication by that time as to how the Bill is going to work. There is nothing to prevent revision and renewal of the Bill, if necessary, after the expiration of the period mentioned in Senator Counihan's amendment. I sincerely hope there will be no necessity for the renewal of the Bill at that time. If the necessity for it has ceased, or if it ceases even in six months' time, the Bill will cease functioning, apart from the time that we may fix here.

It is a very serious proposition for the State to enter into a particular industry in the country and to dictate how it should be carried on. Despite the necessity that, to my mind, does exist for a Bill on the lines of this Bill now before us, if I thought there was any likelihood that it was to be the thin edge of the wedge of State control over agriculture in this country I would oppose it, no matter what the immediate consequences were. I do not feel that it is such an indication, and I am satisfied to support the Bill provided that Senator Counihan's amendment is accepted.

I was anxious to have at least two full years' working of this measure before we would be compelled to reconsider it. I quite agree with Senator Counihan that it might be necessary, before two years, to have an amending Bill. But that is quite a different matter. I think an amending Bill might be brought in, but a Bill to extend the present Bill would be a separate Bill. I think we should get at least two years. We would want a fair test of the working of the Bill and therefore I ask the Seanad to agree to the 31st March, 1937. As a further consideration, however, I would be prepared to compromise with Senator Counihan, if the House would agree, because I think the 31st September would be a still more suitable date. Without having any number of years this Bill, when it becomes law, might be included with the Expiring Laws, but if there was any specific application we would have to have a special Bill.

Would the Minister not accept 31st December, 1936?

Yes, if the Cathaoirleach would agree.


I agree. Does Senator Counihan accept the 31st December, 1936?

It is the first little bit of reasonableness that I have seen coming from the Minister so I shall be glad to accept it.

Question—"That amendment No. 1 be amended by the deletion of the words ‘31st day of March' and the substitution therefor of the words ‘31st day of December'"—put and agreed to.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment No. 2 not moved.


Government amendment No. 3:—

Section 3. After the word "preserved" in line 1 to insert the words "and sold."

The clause would then read "the expression ‘marketable product' includes meat preserved and sold in a barrel, tin, jar or other container ...." Senator Johnson raised this point on the Committee Stage. If we have not "marketable product" defined in that way it is probable that the ordinary victualler, who corns beefs in a barrel, might come under our definition. When we say "meat preserved or sold in a barrel, tin or jar" we are excluding corned beef.

Amendment agreed to.

I ask leave to withdraw Amendment No. 4 in favour of the next one on the paper in the name of Senator Counihan.

Amendment No. 4, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 5:—

Section 10 (being the new section inserted in Committee). To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(4) Nothing in this section shall apply to the occasional slaughter by a farmer of sheep or lambs for human consumption, provided that such sheep or lambs are owned by him and that the greater portion of the meat of such sheep or lambs is for the use of himself and his family, and that the number of sheep or lambs so slaughtered does not exceed one sheep or lamb per week.

As the Bill stands the farmer can kill any number of sheep and lambs for his own consumption, but he cannot sell even one pound of that meat. If he did so he would be committing an offence, according to this Bill. The usual practice amongst farmers is to kill a sheep or a lamb every week. In many seasons of the year weather conditions make it impossible for the farmer to keep the sheep or lamb for more than two or three days as he has no cold storage. The consequence of that would be that unless he was able to consume the whole of the animal in his own family he would usually sell to his workmen or to a neighbour a leg of mutton or lamb. I do not want a farmer to kill any number of sheep or lambs. I only want him to have the right to kill his own sheep or a lamb, and to be allowed to sell a portion of it to a neighbour, if he decides to do so. If it were extended to any greater number, it would amount to turning him into a butcher, and, particularly with the restrictions and levies which are on the butchers at the moment, he would be having an undue advantage over the butcher and it would tend to make him go in for making a profit.

In discussing this section on the Committee Stage, I intended to put in a clause allowing institutions, such as asylums and mental hospitals and so forth, to kill animals and sell to the employees of such institutions, but in discussing that matter with some representatives of the committees of mental hospitals they told me that they did have that practice but found that all the employees wanted to have the best "cuts" and consequently they had to stop the practice. For that reason I think that this should apply only to the farmer who kills one sheep per week and that mental hospitals and such institutions, that kill a large number of animals, should pay the levy and not have any greater advantage.

I do not know what the Minister or the House thinks of this amendment but, in my opinion, it is an amendment restricting the liberties of the farmers. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that, under the Bill, a farmer would be entitled to kill a sheep, or more than one sheep, per week.

That is agreed, but could he sell any portion of that sheep?

I think that he could. Here is the governing section:

The Minister shall cause to be kept the following registers, that is to say:—

(a) A register ... of premises in which is carried on the business of slaughtering cattle or the business of slaughtering sheep or the business of slaughtering both cattle and sheep.

I do not think that a farmer who kills one sheep per week or, say, a bullock at Christmas, is carrying on the business of slaughtering sheep, but if the Minister thinks otherwise, of course, that is different.

Normally, I should be inclined to support anything in the nature of legislation that approximated as near as possible to what was, and is, and undoubtedly will be, the practice. It seems to me, however, that if this amendment is carried it will be incumbent on the Government to see that it is carried out; that is to say, with regard to one sheep, the Civic Guards or some other persons will have to see that the person concerned does not ordinarily slaughter more than one sheep, whereas I have not the smallest doubt that if this amendment were not carried the farmers would carry on the normal practice of slaughtering the sheep anyway and selling a portion of it to their employees. I imagine that that could be done without breaking the law, on the same system as you pay labourers by deducting so much from their wages for the rent of a house, or for firing or potatoes—or all sorts of allowances that they get. I do not see why a bit of mutton should not be an allowance on their wages and I have not the smallest doubt that that is the way it would be carried on, no matter what the law might be. It seems to me, however, that if this is passed, while it will not affect the situation actually because the farmers will continue to sell to their employees as they have done in the past, it will necessitate employing somebody to see that they do not break the law.

I wish to support the amendment. A great many farmers, finding all channels of making sufficient to keep their families going closed to them, or of making a few extra shillings in the week, have resorted to killing a sheep or two. Very few exceed one sheep in the week although some kill two; but I think that the least the Government might do is not to take away this small relief—this poor consolation—that the farmer has got for the destruction of what is ordinarily his proper market. I think that the farmer should be allowed to have that relief. I am not satisfied with Senator David Robinson's vague suppositions and Senator Comyn's doubts.

I am not at all doubtful. It is perfectly clear that you are taking away the liberties of the farmers by this.

It is not clear that the farmer can kill a sheep and sell a portion of it to his neighbours. That is not in the Bill, and if this amendment is not carried a farmer will have to be a registered slaughterer and will have to pay a levy of 5/- even for the killing of one sheep. That means, of course, that he cannot carry on at all. It means that he cannot add to his already depleted funds the expense of killing a sheep. Surely one sheep is not too much to allow, and it certainly will not interfere with the butchers to any great extent. I think that the amendment is very reasonable and that it is the least we should expect.

The trouble with the amendment is that it is far too reasonable. Senator Counihan is right when he says that it is going to do more harm than good to the farmers. As the section stands, it will be interpreted as the business of slaughtering, and if my inspectors say—as they will have to say under the Bill—that unless a man is in the victualling business he is exempt, that man will be exempt. A farmer is not in the business of victualling and therefore must be exempt. If necessary, he can go to the courts and prove that he is exempt. Senator Comyn will bear me out, from the legal point of view, that when once you give an exemption you have to carry it out. This amendment, however, is going to make it impossible. The amendment says: "Provided that such slaughter does not exceed one sheep per week or one bullock in each year." That is to say, if the farmer kills more than one sheep in the week or more than one bullock in the year he can be proceeded against. If that proviso is left out, however, he can plead, if he is proceeded against, that he is not engaged in the business of a victualler, and therefore is exempt.

There is another thing to be considered. If, by any chance, the farmer sells more than half the sheep he has slaughtered he will be guilty of an offence; but if this proviso is left out he would not be guilty of any offence. As a matter of fact, I saw the draftsman and said that I should like to accept Senator Counihan's amendment. The draftsman, however, said that he would not have it. He said: "If the Seanad want that I will not draft it because it is irrelevant and unnecessary." He said that he would not be guilty of having a section coming under his hand with such an amendment added to it.

Can the farmer sell any portion of the sheep?

Yes, if he is not in the business of slaughtering.

What puts him in the business of slaughtering? What method is there of defining that?

He must be in the business as a victualler. I could not define that exactly, but if he only kills one sheep in the week and keeps the major portion for himself and sells some of it, either to his employees or his neighbours, he is obviously not in the business of a victualler. I suppose that one has to draw the line somewhere. If he were to kill, say, three sheep and keep half of one sheep for his own use and sell the remainder of the three sheep, that would be different. But it has to be defined by the court.

In view of the assurances that have been given to me by the Minister and by Senator Comyn, which will appear on the records, I am prepared to withdraw the amendment by leave of the House.

The Minister said exactly the opposite on the last stage of the Bill, and that is why it was found necessary to put down this amendment.

I do not remember what I said last week, but I feel certain that I made clear what I have just stated.

The Minister said last week that anyone who killed a sheep, such as a farmer, would come under the provisions of the Bill.

An Cathaoirleach

The matter has been put right now. We cannot have any further discussion.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
The Leas-Chathaoirleach took the Chair.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Section 12, sub-section (3). To delete in lines 12-13 the words "cancel the registration of any premises under this Part of this Act if he is satisfied" and to substitute therefor the words "apply to the Circuit Court of the Circuit in which any premises are registered under this Part of this Act for an order cancelling the registration of such premises, and the court, after hearing the registered proprietor, may make an order cancelling such registration if it is satisfied."

If the Minister is going to raise a serious objection to this amendment, then I will not press it. I would urge, however, on the Minister, that in order to save himself he should accept it. Under the provisions of this Bill the Minister for Agriculture is to be a buyer of stock, a seller of stock, a slaughterer of stock and a feeder of stock. Now he is proposing to set himself up as judge, jury and high executioner. Courts of justice have been set up to dispense justice to the people and, therefore, I think that it is in a court of justice all these cases should be tried. If the Minister would give me an assurance that he would be prepared to move an amendment to this effect when the Bill goes back to the Dáil, I would not press my amendment here.

In considering this amendment, I would like to point out that amendment No. 7, which follows, has been brought in by me partly to meet the point of view of Senator Counihan. In previous discussions, when we analysed this Bill in detail, we found that no Senator objected to the powers that we are taking under paragraph (b) "that the business in respect of which such premises are registered has ceased to be carried on in such premises." There is no necessity to go to court in that class of case. A victualler closes down his business. We find that out after some time when we get no replies to our letters. There is no necessity to go to court, and we simply remove him from the register. There was no objection either to paragraph (c), which deals with the case of a registered proprietor who has died. There is no need to go to court in that case either. We simply remove the name from the register. The big objection arises under paragraph (d), which deals with the case of a bankrupt. We are proposing to delete that paragraph. We do not see any great necessity for it. All these paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (d) have appeared in previous measures. As far as paragraph (d) goes, we have never used the powers given under it. We have never taken a person off any of our registers because he was adjudged a bankrupt. As Senators appear to be somewhat apprehensive about the powers proposed to be given under paragraph (d), I am prepared to agree to its deletion. The powers given in paragraph (e) can be more properly discussed on amendment No. 8. I think, in view of the fact that I am prepared to delete paragraph (d), that Senator Counihan should agree to withdraw his amendment.

In view of the concession which the Minister is prepared to give by moving the deletion of paragraph (d), I ask the leave of the House to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Government amendment No. 7:—

Section 12, sub-section (3). To delete paragraph (d).

I second.

Amendment agreed to.


Government amendment No. 8:—

Section 12, sub-section (3). To delete in lines 28-29 the words "been convicted of" and to substitute therefor the word "committed."

Of Bills of this class this is the only one that has the provision "that the registered proprietor of such premises has been convicted of an offence" and so on. In other measures, such as the Eggs Act, the Dairy Produce Act, the Fresh Meat Act and the others, the wording would be the same as I suppose here: that is that the registered proprietor "has committed" an offence and so on. When the Cereals Bill was first introduced the wording was the same as in this Bill, namely, that the registered proprietor had been convicted of an offence. We found considerable difficulty in administering that Bill when it became an Act. As a matter of fact, an amendment such as I am now moving to this Bill has been made by the Dáil and Seanad to the original Cereals Act. At times it has been found very profitable for small millers to mill maize and leave out oats and barley. When we threatened them they did not mind because they knew that they had the opportunity of doing good business in the four, five or six months that must elapse before we could take them into court and get them removed from the register. We felt that the same thing might occur in connection with this Bill. I am not in a position to forecast the circumstances in which it might occur, but those who got on the register might defy the Minister for Agriculture and say: "if you are going to bring us into court we will continue to carry on, making all the money that we can during the next six months." It would take at least that period before we could get them into court because they can raise various objections and, in the meantime, considerable damage might be done.

I want to make quite clear to the Seanad what the position will be when the Bill is amended. As the Bill stands we could not remove a person from the register until he had first been convicted of an offence. Our desire is to bring this Bill into line with the other Acts that I have referred to. The Seanad might like to know what protection a person will have when the Bill is amended. First of all, he has the right of appeal. Before there is any cancellation of his registration he must get a month's notice. Then he is given seven days in which to lodge an appeal. If he appeals I must set up an inquiry. That inquiry will be presided over by a competent person—by a senior inspector of the Department. At the inquiry the registered person can appear either in person or be represented by counsel or a solicitor, and make his case there. While, strictly speaking, it might appear that the man has not got a very good chance, I think that when Senators come to consider the matter fully they will admit that he will be fairly treated. If I take steps to remove him from the register and he lodges an appeal I must set up an inquiry. He will have the right to appeal in person or to employ senior counsel—Senator Comyn, for instance——

Or Paddy Lynch.

Quite so. If the inspector of the Department who is holding the inquiry, in spite of the pleadings of senior counsel on behalf of that man, were to turn him down unfairly does any Senator imagine that the matter will be allowed to rest there? Surely the case would be brought before the Dáil and the Seanad. There would be a further ventilation of it. I think it is quite obvious that the Minister, in view of all these circumstances, will be inclined to err on the lenient side. At any rate the effect of this amendment would be this: if the offence is a genuine one the Minister will be able to stop it straight away, and will not be put in the position of having to wait for four, five or six months to bring the offender to court. As I said already, we had that experience on two or three occasions under the Cereals Act and had to have it amended to deal with those people who were offending.

Could the Minister say who would hold the inquiry?

An officer appointed by the Minister for Agriculture.

An officer of the Department of Agriculture?

The Minister said—I think it must have been inadvertently— that if an appeal were made, on notice being given, he must cause the inquiry to be held. The section reads: "may, if he thinks fit, cause an inquiry to be held."

"And shall consider the representations." As this is a temporary measure, I think the arguments of the Minister have even greater force. I can conceive a case in which a person could keep the question going for 12 months during the whole currency of this measure if the section is left as it is—"... the registered proprietor of such premises has been convicted of an offence under this Act." It takes a long time to get before the District Justice and then, if he has a great interest in continuing the business, there might be a certiorari and you cannot say that there is a conviction if a conditional order for certiorari has been made. In point of fact, the delays which would be possible in a case like this, with an expert performer who wanted to evade the provisions of the Statute and to carry on in violation of the Statute, would be so great that the Statute would be altogether nugatory, unless you changed that section in the manner suggested by the Minister.

It seems to me that when you delete the phrase "has been convicted of" and substitute the word "committed", the case made by the Minister is understandable but it does not seem to fit in with the rest of the provisions. It is quite plain that the Minister has the option as to whether there shall be an inquiry or not. If a man has been convicted, it is then the Minister's option as to whether in spite of the conviction, he may consider the circumstances and decide not to take action, but where it is a case of the Minister assuming that a man has committed the offence and there has been no other conviction, it seems to me that the man should have the right of appeal. Perhaps I have not made my case perfectly clear. Where the Minister assumes, no doubt, of course, on good evidence, that a man has committed something, it seems to me that if that man has not been convicted in a court of law, he should have the right of an inquiry.

Does Section 4 not give him that?

It does not seem to me that it does.

I am sorry; I did make a mistake in that. The section in the Cereals Act does read somewhat differently. I am compelled under the Cereals Act to do it but not by this section.

My point is that the two are really necessary corollaries. He wants the same as he has under the Cereals Act and I would give it to him if he would undertake—if it cannot be done now, to-morrow—to make the two fit, because it seems to me that when you put these words in, there ought to be the right.

If the Minister would alter it to read that he shall cause an inquiry to be held and leave out the phrase "may if he thinks fit," or merely the words "if he thinks fit," as I think the word "may" would be mandatory, it would meet the situation.

I am not quite sure that "may" would do when you read the whole of it. I think you will have to say "shall" in view of the other wording of it.

I think I should say "shall, if requested," because under paragraphs (b) and (c) there is no reason why an inquiry should be held.

That would meet the point I raised.


The proposed amendment is that in line 40 of paragraph 4 the words "may, if he thinks fit" be altered to "shall if requested."

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 8 agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 11 not moved.

I move amendment No. 12:—

New section. Before Section 23, and in Part IV, to insert a new section as follows:—

23. When any fat cattle have been marked or any unmarked cattle or sheep are prohibited from being sold by an order or regulation made by the Minister under this Act, no decree or warrant of any court shall be executed for the recovery of any debt due by the owner of such cattle or sheep until after the expiration of the date before which such cattle or sheep are prohibited from being sold.

I want a further explanation from the Minister with regard to the position of farmers who will be prevented from selling their stock under regulations made by the Minister. I contend it would be grossly unfair to any farmer to have his stock distrained for annuities, rates, bank debts or any other debts which he may owe, when he could not or would not have an opportunity of selling his stock to realise the money to meet those demands, and if by an order or regulation of the Minister such a situation arises, I think it would be only reasonable that such a provision as this should be inserted to protect him. We are completely at sea as to how these regulations will be carried out. The Minister has taken power to prohibit the export of any stock and if a man has stock to sell and cannot get a licence and if these stock are only fit for export, I cannot see how the man can realise. The Minister says he will not prevent him from selling, but if he does not meet a buyer with a licence there is no possibility of his being able to sell them.

At the present time the price cattle are making in Northern Ireland and Great Britain is very much in excess of the price we are getting here, and from the 1st September they are getting 5/- a cwt., or practically £3 a head, more. If a man cannot sell his stock at all, and is compelled to meet all his liabilities, it will be a very serious situation, and I think some provision like this should be inserted to protect him in that case.

I thought that Senator Counihan had decided on the previous stage to withdraw this amendment definitely. Various Senators had spoken to the effect that even if the amendment were passed it would have no effect. The amendment mentions "when any fat cattle have been marked or any unmarked cattle or sheep are prohibited from being sold." The fat cattle are never prohibited from being sold. They are prohibited from being slaughtered. Even when marked they would not be prohibited from being sold. If there are unmarked cattle, anybody, dealer or butcher, can buy them, but cannot slaughter them. Let us say that cattle are marked for the 15th September. Anybody can buy these cattle, but the butcher cannot slaughter them until the 15th September, so that the amendment would really have no effect. We are not prohibiting cattle from being sold. I understood that the Senator had agreed that that was so when that argument was put up here on the Committee Stage.

I withdrew all these amendments in order to give the Minister an opportunity of having some agreed amendments substituted for them. We are not out to put in an amendment which would have a bad effect on the Bill and make it unworkable. The whole idea of every Senator is to get some amendment inserted which would protect the farmer and at the same time leave the Bill a workable proposition. I submit that my amendment is reasonable, because some provision should be made to protect the farmer. If the Minister is of opinion that mine is not workable then he should procure an amendment for the farmers' protection.

Last week, on this section, I made an explanation similar to what the Minister has given now, and Senator Counihan got up and said that was false. He then said—"The Minister is inclined to turn down every reasonable amendment. In this he is backed up by Senator Wilson, who is tied to the couple of shillings extra and who thinks all the farmers should be satisfied, because they might gain a few pounds. I think Senator Wilson has carried on in a most disgraceful way in this House in regard to these matters." I want to repudiate that statement by Senator Counihan, and I ask him to withdraw it, because I did not say anything disgraceful. I simply explained exactly in the terms the Minister has explained now, and if I was disgraceful the Minister is disgraceful.

He does not mind that.

Senator Wilson has left out the tit-bit. "There has not been for some of them any support, and I will not further waste the time of the House on this amendment." The Senator goes back on that now, and does the thing he said he would never do again.

In regard to the little exchange between Senators Counihan and Wilson, I am reminded of lovers' quarrels. I think it would be a very serious thing to pass an amendment of this kind. It would be a moratorium.

That is what we want.

Not in a Bill of this kind. It would prevent the courts from effectively functioning. No decree could be executed at all for a private debt or a shop debt if that amendment were passed. "When any fat cattle have been marked or any unmarked cattle or sheep are prohibited from being sold." Very well, the meaning of the amendment is that once a mark is put on the ear of a beast no person can execute any decree as against that beast. Now, a marked beast can be sold. I can buy a marked beast from Senator Counihan if he wants money and has a beast that is marked for slaughter. He can sell that beast to any person.

Then in that case it does not come under the amendment. If he can sell, it does not come under the amendment, because the amendment says when the cattle are prohibited from being sold.

There is nothing in the Bill to prevent the cattle being sold. Therefore, it is within the Order.

Oh, no. The amendment has been accepted by the Chair and we are debating it as such.

In view of Senator Comyn's exposition of the law, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 13:—

Section 23, sub-section (1). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "In fixing the minimum price at which cattle or sheep may be bought, the Minister shall take into consideration the cost of production of such cattle or sheep, as the case may be."

In discussing this amendment with the Minister I pointed out to him that I would be satisfied, and I am sure the House would be satisfied, to have any provision inserted that would convey the same meaning. But I cannot see any amendment I could put in that would give less powers than the one on the Order Paper. The Minister agreed with me when I put the matter to him, and I believe he will accept the amendment. I would like to point out to the Minister, in fixing the minimum price that he would be well advised to have a minimum sliding scale. I would suggest to him that he should accept the amendment so as to make it worth while for the feeder to produce stall-fed cattle in April or May. Otherwise we will, at that period, have a great scarcity of cattle, no matter what the quota will be. No matter what it will be it will not be filled. Last year we had an extraordinary experience of stall-feeding. We were paid less for the cattle in April and May than we were in January and February. That sort of thing cannot happen many years in succession. The farmers cannot continue working at such enormous loss as they worked last year. Except something like this amendment is inserted in the Bill it will not be possible to fill the quota. The same has happened in other branches of our industry with the quota. This year we, farmers, produced a good deal of food for stall-feeding, but it would be better for us last year that we allowed that stuff to go to waste instead of feeding it to cattle. Our losses would have been less. That sort of thing is not going to happen this year, and I urge the Minister, when fixing the minimum price, to fix it at what he considers will be a decent price for cattle in April and May.

I certainly cannot understand Senator Counihan moving an amendment such as this, because of the fact that the association that Senator Counihan represents in this House never gave the slightest consideration to the cost of production in the case of the farmers' products. They never considered the cost of production when they were buying the farmers' cattle, and it was that which made it necessary for this Bill to be introduced. It is a notorious fact that the people who have been producing live stock in this country were never given the slightest consideration by the people who bought that live stock. These people never gave any thought to the farmers' cost of production. And that is the reason why this Bill has been introduced. It was because the farmer was not getting anything like what his cost of production was that the Minister brought in this Bill.

[The Cathaoirleach resumed the Chair.]

This Bill was brought in to ensure that people like Senator Counihan would not be allowed to go along depriving the farmer of that to which he was properly entitled. Under this Bill the Minister has endeavoured to protect the farmer and those associated with him; to ensure that the farmer when he produces a beast will get something like its fair value. Then Senator Counihan, above all people in the world, comes along to move an amendment such as this, that the Minister must take into consideration the farmers' cost of production when he is fixing his minimum price. Did ever anybody in life hear such audacity as that? It is because of the fact that these things have been done by Senator Counihan and people like him that the Minister has been compelled in the interests of the unfortunate farmer to bring in a Bill which guarantees that the farmer will be protected against people like Senator Counihan. Surely the whole framework of the Bill is designed to ensure that the farmer will get something like the cost of production. Is that not the whole principle underlying the Bill? Otherwise the Bill would not be necessary. The Minister by ensuring that these regulations will be carried out is ensuring that the farmer will get something like the cost of production.

What is the objection to the amendment then?

If this amendment were carried it would not mean anything whatever except that the Minister must consider the cost of production. That need not have any effect on the price. It seems to me that it is worthless but it also seems to me that it is nearly as funny to hear the Labour Party objecting to the principle as it is to see Senator Counihan moving the amendment.

I agree with Senator Douglas and for that reason I was inclined to accept the amendment, but after consulting the draftsman I find that it will be necessary to change the wording somewhat. The amendment reads: "In fixing the minimum price at which cattle or sheep may be bought, the Minister shall take into consideration the cost of production of such cattle or sheep as the case may be." The point is that we may fix different prices for different classes of cattle and sheep. We may fix a price for heifers, bullocks and young cows. It is necessary therefore to change the wording, and the amendment which I suggest reads as follows:

Section 23. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(5) When fixing a minimum price under this section, the Minister shall have regard to the cost of production of the animals to which such price applies.

I have no objection to accepting such an amendment as that, although I do agree with Senator Douglas that it is not going to have any very great effect. My attention is drawn to the fact in the Bill that I must have regard to the cost of production but it does not go any further than that.

It enshrines the principle.

All right.

Amendment, as amended, put and agreed to.


Government amendment:—

Section 30, sub-section (4). To add at the end of the sub-section the words "if he is satisfied that there has been a breach by the holder of such licence of any of the conditions attached to such licence, or that the holder of such licence has committed an offence under any section of this Act."

I move the amendment.

Section 30, I am sorry to say, passed me, and both the Dáil and the Seanad in rather a drastic manner. Having granted a manufacturing licence, sub-section (4) states "the Minister may at any time revoke a manufacturing licence." I think that is rather drastic and I desire to amend it to this effect—that if the Minister is satisfied that there has been a breach by the holder of nay such licence of any of the conditions of the licence he can revoke it. That, at any rate, would prevent the Minister's revoking a licence for any other reason. For instance, the Government might be accused, after going into such business itself, of taking advantage of that to revoke the licence of a manufacturer already there. This amendment, at any rate, provides that the Minister cannot revoke the licence except for some very good reason.

I think the introduction of the words "if he is satisfied" will mean that a person will be at the mercy of the Minister. The Minister becomes the prosecutor, the judge and the jury. If the amendment read that the licence would be revoked if the holder had committed a breach of any of the conditions, there could be an appeal and the person could go to court to prove that he had not. If you take out the words "if he is satisfied," if a person feels that there has been a gross injustice he can go before a court to prove that he did not commit the offence.

I wonder if Senator Douglas would prefer the section as it stands: "The Minister may at any time revoke a manufacturer's licence"?

No. I am trying to improve it. The amendment, I agree, is something better than the Bill.

My information is—I am not sure if I am right—that from the legal point of view if you leave out the words "if he is satisfied," I must go to court.

That is so. The Minister must go to court and must first prove the offence to the satisfaction of a court and to the satisfaction of a judge on appeal, if necessary, before he can take action.

Does not this section preclude an aggrieved person from going into court?

It is much more drastic as it stands.

The amendment is better than the existing sub-section, no doubt, but the effect is, as I read it, that if an injustice is done to an individual he has no redress before any court, as the Minister can say "I was satisfied." The amendment, however, is certainly much better than the Bill as it stands.

Amendment put and agreed to.


Government amendment:—

15. Section 30. To add at the end of the section two new sub-sections as follows:—

(5) Before revoking a manufacturing licence under this section, the Minister shall give at least one month's notice in writing of his intention so to revoke such licence to the holder thereof, and shall consider any representations made within seven days after the service of such notice by such holder and may, if he thinks fit, cause an inquiry to be held into the matter.

(6) A notice of the Minister's intention to revoke a manufacturing licence under this section may be served by delivering it to the holder of such licence or by sending it by post to such holder at his last known place of abode.

I move it.

This, of course, follows the usual practice. As is usual under other sections of a similar nature, we must give a month's notice, and there are then seven days in which an application may be made for an inquiry, and the Minister may hold an inquiry. It is really in line with the other amendments which we have already discussed.

Would the Minister consider substituting the words "shall, if requested" for the words "may if he thinks fit" in sub-section 5 of the amendment?

Yes, if it is thought desirable.

I suppose the Minister is satisfied that a period of seven days is ample to allow of representations being made to him, in view of the fact that the notice revoking the licence may be delivered at the holders' last-known place of abode? I take it that in practice the Minister would not be too rigid in regard to the seven days.

Amendment as amended, put and agreed to.
Amendment 16 not moved.


Government amendment No. 17:—

Section 33. To add at the end of the section a new sub-section as follows:—

(5) Nothing in this section shall empower the Minister to acquire compulsorily any land held or occupied by a local authority or any body corporate for the purposes of any railway, tramway, dock, canal, water, gas, or electricity or other public undertaking.

I move the amendment.

There is no necessity to advocate this amendment. There is a similar clause in practically all the Acts in which there is provision for the compulsory acquisition of land. That is to say, we exempt from the compulsory provisions of those Acts corporations, local bodies, railways, tramways and other such bodies.

What about the case of a person instead of a body corporate? If there were some person supplying gas in a town, his land could be taken.

There are very few such cases.

That case was not raised before.

The amendment is in the same terms as all such provisions in similar Acts. Individuals are not mentioned in these Acts.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 18:—

Section 37. To delete the section.

I raised this matter on the Committee Stage. It does not seem to be desirable to set up under this Bill separate machinery for the Governmental financing of private enterprise. At present there are elaborate checks and safeguards in relation to trade loan guarantees and money lent by the Government for similar purposes. Independent committees examine the applications. It does not seem to be desirable to leave this matter entirely to the Minister for Agriculture, acting in consultation with the Minister for Finance. It is necessary that all this lending of public money should be under strict safeguard. We know that there has been a great deal of loss in the past. There has been a tightening up by legislation, but it remains to be seen how tight the new control will prove in effect. Having set up the machinery to provide these safeguards. I think they ought to apply in this case.

There are two other amendments to the same section. If, by any mischance, Senator Sir John Keane should have the section deleted, how can we proceed to amend a deleted section?

You cannot.

It would be a work of supererogation.

Surely it is obvious that, if the section is deleted, the amendments go by the board?

Should we not be permitted to amend the section first?

I do not suppose Senator Sir John Keane is insisting very strongly on his amendment. He has not put forward any sustained argument in support of it. I take it that the reason there is a special code provided in this case is because of the nature of the work to be done. In the first place, this is a temporary measure. In the second place, part of the work for which money will require to be advanced will be the slaughter of old and diseased cows, so as to ease the situation in regard to cattle. That is, of its nature, temporary. The next thing proposed to be done is the tinning of meat. It is hoped, I am sure, that that will be permanent. In any event, all the plans under this Bill are intended to reduce the number of surplus cattle, so that the farmer may get better prices. Speaking generally, the proposals in the Bill are, more or less, temporary in their nature. When one is starting a business, the first question one asks oneself is: "Is this to be a permanency?" If it is to be only a temporary business, one is not inclined to invest money in it. The Agricultural Credit Corporation and bodies of that kind would not, I think, be inclined to lend money in respect of an enterprise which, it is hoped, will come to an end in two or three years or, perhaps, in a year's time. That is, so far as converting old and diseased cows into meat-meal is concerned. I suggest that the financing of these schemes is on a different plane altogether from the financing of advances to farmers for ordinary agricultural purposes of a permanent character. I believe that a special code is necessary in this case. This matter was considered on an earlier stage of this Bill and I thought that the reasons given for this section were accepted by the Seanad.

If Senator Sir John Keane had brought forward a substitute for Section 37, I could see some sense in his moving this amendment and I might support him in his action. However, as this section is so vital to the other clauses of the Bill, I do not think that the Seanad would be acting wisely in deleting it.

I was listening to Senator Comyn and he has stated quite clearly what is really the reason for Senator Sir John Keane's amendment. None of the banks or any businesses which have to do with the lending of money will lend money on this, because it lasts such a short time that any money invested in it is going to be lost. That is as clear as daylight. This is another extra expense which will be incurred in order to carry out the Government's policy. We have absolutely no figures in regard to our commitments. The expenditure is not going to be examined by anybody. The Minister or somebody under his auspices will establish an industry for the manufactures which are described in this Bill. So far as our experience of this kind of manufacture is concerned, this business of buying cattle, putting them through a manufacturing process and selling the products, we are aware that in this country they have all lost a lot of money. I do not know of any such factory at the moment that is making money. All the money put into the Drogheda factory and other such places has been lost.

What Senator Sir John Keane wants to draw attention to is that you are giving the Minister power to take State money and finance a business to which no financial institution would lend money. That means, of course, that it is going to be lost. I thought the Minister would have liked some corporation to consider the matter or that he would have got someone connected with finance who would estimate how much money was going to be lost in this undertaking, someone who would carry on with a Government guarantee. If they want to expend money they could do it by way of guarantee to some such institution or person and then they could feel assured that they had someone who would take an interest in the business and estimate its probabilities from the financial standpoint. Of course the Minister merely wants to get rid of these cattle and everything connected with the cattle from hoof to horn. He is anxious to establish a business and lend State money. There is not a human being in the Free State who does not know that that money is going to be lost.

It would be better for the Minister that it should be a matter of a Government guarantee to some financial institution which would have some sort of check. It would be better for him to have somebody's opinion as to how much money it is going to cost. Who knows what this will cost the State? Every penny is going to be lost. There is no record going to be kept. If the Government had some banking institution or somebody to look after the matter for them, we would know the extent of our commitments, but as it is we will know nothing. It would be wiser for the Minister to arrange for a Government guarantee. I would like to hear what he has to say about it. Has he got any limit to the amount of money he is going to spend, or is he going to take up every one of these industries, large and small, lend them State money and then see them go west? I think that is what is going to happen.

On the Committee Stage I tried to explain that no other body would lend money to this undertaking on the ordinary form of security because it will not in the ordinary way be good enterprise. It will depend entirely on the supply of cattle at a reduced price. If we take this factory at Roscrea, it cannot convert cows into meat meal unless the cows are supplied to them at a very much lower cost even than they are being sold at present. Suppose they go to the Trade Loans people, the Agricultural Credit Corporation, the Industrial Credit Corporation or any bank and say that they have made a very good bargain with the Minister for Agriculture—that they are going to get so many old cows at such a price—I do not think any of those people would lend money on that guarantee because they would be afraid conditions might change and cattle might get dear again. Also, with regard to the repayment of loans, they are bound up more or less with the other part of the bargain in relation to the number of cattle that can be supplied.

In the circumstances the Minister for Agriculture is in a much better position to make a loan and see that it is repaid, because he has a fair amount of control over those matters. He has every security when he is lending the money, and the Agricultural Credit Corporation would not have the same security at all. They would have only the ordinary security of a lien on the assets of the company. I am afraid we would not get the industry going unless the Minister had that power. Senator Jameson speaks of our commitments. I know in fair detail what our commitments will be in the factory at Roscrea. We would be lending to that factory something less than £20,000, repayable over four years. Under a subsequent proposal the Minister must publish in Iris Oifigiúil a notice in regard to the loan, setting out all the particulars, such as the amount of the loan, the terms of repayment, the person to whom the money was given and so on. At the moment I cannot foresee that there would be more than £60,000 lent under this section. I may be wrong in that; there may be something else cropping up, but that is my opinion at the moment.

How many cows?

Under the cow scheme alone there will be less than £20,000 lent, and that is for a proposition to deal with 50,000 cows.

Will it mean £3 a cow?

I hope so.

May we assume that the amount we are now talking about is £20,000?

That is all I am certain of at the present moment.

With about £60,000 as a maximum?

I cannot foresee more than £60,000 at the moment.

Apparently I incurred the censure of Senator Comyn over a lack of sustenance in my arguments.

I corrected that voluntarily.

I suggest that any arguments that have been made here, sustained or otherwise, have been entirely in favour of the amendment. Most certainly if the business is to be of a purely temporary character money should not be lent, because permanence of business is the very essence underlying the granting of money. The only recommendation I can see in the section is that this thing is permissive and the Minister need not do it. The whole thing is thoroughly confusing and I feel very apprehensive that the Government should contemplate this at all. When Senator Counihan asked for an alternative, my reply is "It is there." You have all the machinery in existence for lending money with guarantees to approved enterprises. My idea is that if Government money is to be spent, and if these enterprises are to be subsidised by the taxpayers, every precaution should be taken. There is no suggestion here that every precaution is to be taken. The position is as loose as it could be, and that being so I ask for the feeling of the House.

Question put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 7; Níl, 17.

  • Bagwell, John.
  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.


  • Comyn, Michael. K.C.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • Moran, James.
  • O'Farrell, John T.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Wilson, Richard.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Keane and Bagwell; Níl: Senators S. and D. Robinson.
Amendment declared lost.


Government amendment No. 19:—

Section 37, sub-section (6). To insert before the sub-section a new sub-section as follows:—

(6) Whenever the Minister lends money under this section, he shall, within one month after making such loan, cause to be published in the Iris Oifigiúil a notice stating the fact of the making of such loan and also stating all material particulars of such loan.

I move amendment No. 19.

I should like to draw the Minister's attention to the necessity for inserting a similar amendment in another position in the same section. The amendment provides that whenever the Minister lends money under this section he shall publish in Iris Oifigiúil a notice stating the fact and all material particulars of such loan. But in sub-section (5) the Minister gets power to vary the terms and conditions under which the money was so lent. I think it is desirable, if there is to be a variation, that the new arrangement should also be published in the same manner as the terms of the original loan. Otherwise the whole thing is nullified if there is so drastic a change made as to alter the terms which have been published. Perhaps the Minister will do that when dealing with this amendment in the Dáil.

I see Senator Johnson's point but I am afraid it would be difficult in this case. I take it that the Cathaoirleach might accept one or two words of a change in the amendment, but I am afraid it would be more difficult than that.


I could not allow a new amendment to be put in.

I think all I can do is to undertake that I will do that—not that I will have the amendment changed, but that I will make the publication under such conditions.

I ask the Minister to consider whether he ought not, in the interests of his own reputation, to make this matter watertight, because if he publishes the particulars on which he is going to lend money and then comes along afterwards and alters the terms and conditions on which the money was lent, that alteration ought also to be published if there is any value in publication.

I agree.


It will be a material particular of the loan, will it not?

We had hoped to dispose of this Bill without coming back again to the Seanad, if possible.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 20:—

Section 37, sub-section (6). To delete in line 47 the words "and sheep or either of them" and to substitute therefor the words "horses and sheep or any of them."

This is not a Government amendment. The number of horses involved is not so great that they would in any way compete with the cattle and are not small enough to be negligible. The number of old horses exported annually is about 2,000. I am asking the Seanad to pass the amendment for two reasons, one of which is entirely sentimental and on which I will not enlarge, and the other is utilitarian. Apparently, almost anything can be made out of old horses.


This amendment really got on the Order Paper by mistake. It should not have been on the Order Paper. This is a Bill to deal with the slaughter of cattle and sheep for human consumption.

Mr. Robinson

That is only the title.


It will be read in accordance with the title.

The section we are dealing with does not deal with human consumption.


According to the title, this is a Bill to deal with the slaughter of cattle and sheep for human consumption. There is not a word about horses.

Mr. Robinson

There is nothing about human consumption in the title.


The title says that it is a Bill to make provision for the regulation and control of the slaughter of cattle and sheep for human consumption in Saorstát Eireann and to provide for divers matters incidental to such regulation and control. The Senator ought not to press the amendment.

Amendment ruled out of order


Government amendment No. 21:—

Section 42, sub-section (2). To delete all after the word "section" in line 39 down to the end of the sub-section and to substitute therefor the words "if made with the concurrence of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health may impose on relieving officers and assistance officers the duty of distributing beef vouchers to recipients who are in receipt of outdoor relief or home assistance."

I move amendment No. 21.

There was an amendment put down for the Committee Stage which was withdrawn because, as it then read, the Minister was taking power to impose on both relieving officers and unemployment assistance officers the duty of issuing vouchers. It is not necessary, however, to take power to enforce any duty on civil servants. This amendment, therefore, leaves out civil servants, but it includes relieving officers of the local authorities.

Amendment put and agreed to.

Before leaving Section 42, there are two very slight amendments which I should like to ask the permission of the Seanad to have made. The last line of the section reads "the number of days in each week on which he is unemployed." There is a slight difficulty there. The unemployment week extends from Wednesday to Wednesday and the week as it stands here might be held by a court to be from Monday to Saturday. I should like to have the words "in each week" deleted, and after the last word "unemployed" to insert "in the relevant week in respect of which he is paid unemployment assistance."


I think the House will agree to that.

Will the Minister read the sub-section as it will read when amended.


Sub-section (4) will then read:

Regulations made under this section shall provide for the weekly quantity of beef to be obtained by a recipient being fixed with due regard to the number and age of his dependants and, in the case of a recipient in receipt of unemployment assistance, the number of days on which he is unemployed in the relevant week in respect of which he is paid unemployment assistance.

The following amendment was accordingly agreed to:—

Section 42. In sub-section (4), page 18, line 55, to delete the words "in each week" and after the word "unemployed" to insert the words "in the relevant week in respect of which he is paid unemployment assistance."

The other matter to which I wanted to draw attention was the sub-section providing for the distribution of beef vouchers entitling recipients to obtain a weekly supply of beef under this part of the Bill. The voucher must bear the name and address of each recipient according to paragraph (a) sub-section (3). Now, the difficulty is that in Dublin about 10,000 people will be concerned, and the writing of names and addresses of all these people would be a very laborious task. The Department concerned with the administration of this part of the Act would like to have that paragraph (a) omitted, and instead, to have inserted after the word "obtained" the words "by means of such voucher". It is really asking to withdraw the condition that the name and address must be on each voucher. The new amendment reads:

Section 42. In sub-section (3), page 18, to delete paragraph (a), and in paragraph (b), line 47, to delete the word "so", and immediately after the word "obtained" to insert the words "by means of such voucher."


This is a very sudden change.

Is it not entirely an administrative matter?

It is altogether an administrative matter.

The Minister's administrative advisers would be very much concerned in this. Would it not affect the problem of sale and disposal?

No; they hold they could identify as well by a serial number.

This paragraph (a) would be an effective check against the transfer of, and traffic in these vouchers. If a man's name is upon a voucher, you can detect any traffic, but if it is only a serial number it would be a different matter. I think we should protest against an amendment of this kind at this stage unless the Bill be recommitted. I do not want to inconvenience the Minister, but I would point out to him that his attitude affords another example of the utility of this House.

While I do not often agree with Senator Sir John Keane, I think there is a good deal in what he has just said. A great number of people will obtain these vouchers. If there are people disposed to collect these vouchers and traffic in them, this would make it easier for them. I think the name and address of the persons written on the voucher would be a considerable safeguard, and would prevent a development of that kind, which would be very serious. I think we should have some time to consider this matter. It is very important, and should not be sprung upon the House in this way and go back to the Dáil as an amendment effected in the Seanad.

It does not, of course, follow that we will not put the names and addresses, as far as possible, on the vouchers, but it may be difficult, especially in Dublin, where the numbers will be so large. If we had the scheme properly organised we would be very anxious to put in the names and addresses. But in administration, during the earlier period, it would be extremely difficult to write in all the names and addresses. I recognise, if Senators seriously object, that I have no right to question the matter.

Amendment put and declared carried.


Government amendment No. 22:—

New section. Before Section 26, and in Part V, to insert a new section as follows:—

26.—(1) Every registered proprietor of registered victualling premises who procures the slaughter of any cattle or sheep in any premises or place whatsoever other than registered slaughtering premises shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section.

(2) Every registered proprietor of registered victualling premises who buys the carcase or any part of the carcase of any cattle or sheep slaughtered in any premises or place whatsoever other than registered slaughtering premises shall be guilty of an offence under this sub-section unless he proves that he did not know and could not reasonably have known that such cattle or sheep (as the case may be) had been so slaughtered.

(3) Every person who is guilty of an offence under either sub-section of this section shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £25.

I move the amendment.

This is merely strengthening the point about the transfer of vouchers. Without this amendment there would be nothing unlawful in a person getting a voucher for meat even though he was not entitled to it. If the home assistance officer, through an oversight, issued a voucher to a person not entitled to home assistance or unemployment assistance, such person would be entitled to use it. This amendment makes it unlawful for such person to accept or use such voucher.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I would like to raise a small point at this stage. A number of enterprising people rather tried to anticipate this Bill by developing the canning industry. These people, who are all business people, will, in effect, lose their money, as their efforts will be nullified by this Bill. Has the Minister taken into consideration the position of those people, and does he intend to provide them with some of the plums that should be given to people who certainly went a long way and made a big effort to develop this canning industry? It is very likely now that some big combine will have a monopoly, and that these people will not be able to compete. I think, in the circumstances, they are entitled to some consideration in the matter. I wonder have any representations been made to the Minister on this subject and has he given consideration to the claims of those people?

As a matter of fact, my Department met these people on two occasions and I have met them once, and discussed with them whether they might not avail of the opportunity that will be given under this Bill. I discussed with them whether they would like to co-operate in the business or prefer to get out under certain conditions. But there will be no such thing as compulsion. That is not our intention unless they prove entirely unreasonable. So far, we have treated them in a friendly way, and I think we are likely to conclude with them on friendly terms.

Question put and agreed to.