Diseases of Animals Bill, 1949—Second and subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

This Bill is designed to permit of the replenishment of the Cattle Diseases Fund. That fund has its origin in a statute that was originally passed into law in 1878 and the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, provided that local authorities might strike a rate not in excess of 1/2d. in the £, per annum, wherewith to keep that fund replenished. It was the practice in that Act and in the subsequent Acts passed in 1914 and 1932, while authorising the annual levy of ½d., to fix an overriding maximum of varying sums. The overriding maximum prescribed in the Act of 1932 has now been reached and it is necessary to permit of local authorities replenishing the fund for a continuing period. The Seanad will notice that the period provided in this Bill is limited to four annual contributions of ½d. whereas heretofore it was customary to provide for ten, 12 or even 20 annual contributions. The reason for shortening the period in this Bill is that it is not intended to introduce a similar Bill in the future because long before the exhaustion of the 2d. here provided it is anticipated that we will have brought before Oireachtas Eireann proposals for the reorganisation of veterinary services on an entirely different and more comprehensive basis which will make this procedure for compensation anomalous and unnecessary. The principal compensatory charge upon this fund is the payment of compensation to farmers whose cattle are destroyed, at their own request, on condition that the county veterinary officer is satisfied that the beast is suffering from tuberculosis in any degree. When speaking yesterday in the Dáil I was describing the rates of compensation available and I trust I may make this vicarious apology that in respect of one figure I mixed them up and I take this occasion, if I may, to correct that error on my part. I said that if a beast were affected with advanced tuberculosis the owner would receive 50 per cent. of its market value. That is not correct. If the beast is allowed to go on to the stage of extreme emaciation and chronic cough the owner will receive only 25 per cent. of its market value. If it is found to be suffering from chronic cough and, therefore, to be in a reasonably grave condition, the owner will still receive 75 per cent. of its market value. If the veterinary officer, suspecting tuberculosis, secures the consent of the owner to the destruction of the beast, and on post mortem it transpires that the diagnosis was mistaken, the farmer is entitled to receive 100 per cent. of the full market value of the beast, plus £1.

I thought it necessary to mention those figures in detail and to emphasise them, in order to direct the attention of farmers to the fact that they should have no hesitation in calling in the county veterinary officer if they have the slightest suspicion. In no conceivable circumstances can they experience any loss or injury as a result of the destruction of their beast. If it is destroyed in error, they get 100 per cent. of the market value and £1 to boot, while if it is in a very early stage of tuberculosis, they get 75 per cent. of the market value—whereas, if it is allowed to survive, it would eventually, of course, die without any compensation, but not before it had contaminated all the rest of the live stock on the place and very possibly the children of the household as well.

I wish to emphasise the figures for a second reason, so that I may reiterate in public what I have done already in the course of my official duty, that is, to desire the county veterinary officers to know that I believe I correctly interpret the will of Oireachtas Éireann on all sides if I say they should not be unduly solicitous about making a mistake, that nobody would condemn them if the funds were called on to meet 100 per cent. of the value of a beast mistakenly destroyed, so long as we were satisfied that the veterinary surgeon had exercised reasonable care and had destroyed the beast through an excess of solicitude, lest contaminated milk might endanger the health, probably the life, of some child who would consume it.

Section 2 is designed to give me a power by Order to widen a definition which sub-section (3) already widens to some extent. The necessity for that is that the word "fowl" heretofore was deemed to have a somewhat limited meaning. It is proposed to make the extension that our experience has shown us to be necessary in sub-section (3), but we are asking for additional power to widen it still further if the necessity should arise in order to protect the country against the possibility of the introduction of diseases from abroad from which, heretofore, by a policy of restriction, we have managed to protect our poultry-keepers. In that connection the Seanad may desire to have an example, and the outstanding example of recent times is the arrival in Great Britain of what now has come to be known as the Newcastle disease. It was long known to poultry veterinarians that a disease called "fowl pest" was widespread on the continent of Europe and constituted a very serious problem. As a result of reciprocal precautions which Great Britain and this country constantly maintain in consultation, we have availed of the sea to prevent the entry of contaminated materials which bring such diseases within our shores. Sometimes these regulations appear to the man in the street to be extremely pernickety and irrational, and I have great sympathy with that view, because unless you know the background it is easy to think that they are pernickety and unreasonable.

Senators will understand our solicitude in the Department when I say that "fowl pest" on the Continent has always presented itself as a very acute condition, with dramatic external symptoms which the veriest tyro can recognise at a glance. That meant that the veterinary authorities who were on their guard could instantly put a cordon sanitaire around the affected region and take effective measures to stamp it out in situ before it spread. When the disease was carried from the Continent to Great Britain a not infrequent complication presented itself, that while it was an acute and dramatic disease on the Continent, it arrived in Great Britain in a very low, chronic type, with the result that no one who was not a trained observer could recognise it at all and it could very easily escape the attention of a casual inspection. Before an outbreak was detected and notified, very often material that had come in contact with the diseased birds had been spread all over the country—and to follow it and beat down the outbreak became extremely difficult.

I welcome the knowledge that the British veterinary service with very exhaustive measures are getting the business under control. We hope that we will never have to share the task that they have been called upon to undertake, here in Ireland; if we have, we will. The means are available to deal with it. It is in order to make it as unlikely as possible that we would have to face difficulties of that kind that we are asking for this rather unusual power in Section 2. I do not wish the Seanad to think we are asking for these powers in informed anticipation of any impending danger. Thanks be to God, despite the immense increases in the number of our fowl, we have been phenomenally fortunate. We have had no serious outbreak of disease of any kind. We have managed to organise a veterinary preventative service for bacillary white diarrhoea and if we have not succeeded 100 per cent. we are making encouraging progress. I would not wish the Seanad for a moment to feel that I was asking for powers in the knowledge of, and in anticipation of, some secret disease of which I did not wish to speak. There is no unknown disease or unknown threat or impending peril abroad and there is no difficulty or delicacy on my part to furnish Senators with any information they may see fit to require in any matter relating to the veterinary health of fowl or any other type of live stock in the country. I make that reservation, because sometimes, when you ask for powers, people begin to ask themselves: "Is there something up that we have not been told about?" Nothing whatever. We are just being cautious, because we are sufficiently middle-aged, I suppose, to accept the wisdom of adages and believe that "a stitch in time saves nine" and that "there is no use in shutting the stable door after the horse has gone".

We welcome the introduction of this Bill and we also welcome the announcement by the Minister that, by the time the levy of 2d in the £ has reached the stage of providing for the work, there will be introduced a comprehensive veterinary service. We who come from the agricultural areas realise the importance of such a service. We appreciate the extent of the losses incurred by our farmers through disease and we therefore hope that the introduction of this service will be expedited as much as possible. The amount of money our farmers lose through disease is considerable, and, apart altogether from the cash value involved, there is the danger to human life arising out of disease, particularly in milch cows. Provision is made in the Bill whereby a person who purchases a milch cow for the supply of milk to a town or city will be compensated if the animal is not up to standard, or if it has already contracted tuberculosis, and as a result is capable of passing on the disease to the community, provided that person informs the local veterinary officer and that officer orders that the animal be eliminated. Provision is made for compensating such an owner in accordance with the stage which the disease has reached, but, while that may be reasonable enough in the case of a person in possession of an animal for a considerable time, there is always the likelihood of a person purchasing an animal and having it in his possession for a very short period and then becoming suspicious and having an examination carried out.

The Minister will admit that the farmers are a very shrewd body of men not likely to purchase an animal in the knowledge that it has a disease, but the best of judges can be deceived, and if such a person, in all sincerity and honesty, makes a purchase and becomes suspicious after two or three weeks and reports it to the veterinary officer who certifies it as being in a very advanced stage and says that it should have been reported, six, nine or 12 months previous, it is unfortunate that that man is entitled to only 25 per cent. of the market value of the animal. The Minister, I am sure, will admit that it is unreasonable that such a man who has conformed with the regulations should be placed in the position that he must suffer a loss of 75 per cent.

As I say, we welcome the Bill and we also welcome the Minister's statement that he proposes—in a very short time, I hope—to introduce legislation providing for a comprehensive veterinary service throughout rural Ireland. There are some small details such as those I have brought to the Minister's attention which would be more appropriately dealt with on Committee Stage.

Would the Senator, before he concludes, help me by dwelling for a moment on the vendor of the cow to which he referred?

I would agree with a provision whereby action could be taken to recover for the purchaser the 75 per cent. loss which he sustains by reason of his notification to the veterinary officer.

I was thinking rather of the General Judgment.

With regard to that point, I suggest that, in common law, the person who sells such an animal is liable, if the purchaser can prove that the animal was unsound. This Bill seems to me to be merely a modification of the Diseases of Animals Acts— with the terms of which I am not very conversant but of the practical working of which I have had experience—from 1878 onwards. I do not think it contains any new power and I am very disappointed that the Minister is not seeking any new power to deal with the situation as it exists to-day in the matter of disease and organisation of veterinary services. He is not taking power properly to organise such a service and to appoint more veterinary officers in the rural areas where they are badly needed.

It has been suggested that the county officers will do certain things under the Bill, that they will take steps to eliminate animals suffering from tuberculosis, but I suggest that the organisation as it exists at present is not such as will warrant the carrying out of what the Minister says. I am sure that the Minister will readily agree that a thorough reorganisation is necessary and I think the country must get down to the problem of reorganisation as a matter of prime importance. I do not take the happy view that Senator Hawkins seems to take of this matter and the Minister, I am sure, is aware of the seriousness of the position. I argued with the Minister on another occasion, as a member of a committee of agriculture, that steps should be taken in the matter of dealing with tuberculosis in our dairy cattle population. I advocated that in all good faith and sincerity on a certain occasion and I felt annoyed by the way the Minister dealt with the matter and treated me on that occasion, although he probably did not mean it. I still argue that something should be done by way of having a test carried out of all our dairy cattle. I would mention the tuberculin test and would like the Minister to say if anything can be done by such tests.

What sort of a test?

A tuberculin test, so that we can eliminate tubercular cows. The Minister stated some time ago that 90 per cent. of our cattle would render a positive test.

I did not.

Just as he said that 80 per cent. of the people in the room would render a positive test.

That is more like it.

The Minister made the statement about the cattle at the Committee of Agriculture in Carrick-macross. I think the problem is too big for the Minister to handle, but why does he not say so? I think one Minister for Agriculture seems to be worse than another in this and many other matters. I want to know is there any provision in this Bill giving the Minister power to deal with the situation as it is. I suggest there is not. The Minister has promised a very comprehensive veterinary scheme and I am old enough to know that when you hear Ministers promise things like that it is going to be a very long time before anything is done. I may be wrong in the case of the present Minister, but I do not know that yet.

He has had 15 years' experience of public life.

That is quite a long time. I am one of those who feel that this matter should be tackled at once by the Department of Agriculture through a proper veterinary service and every step should be taken to see that tuberculosis will not spread in the country through the medium of milk. The whole question should be tackled from the foundation.

Does the Senator suggest this problem is serious?

I regard it as a very serious problem. So long as there are cows suffering from tuberculosis I suggest that every possible test should be made and proper veterinary services organised to ensure that these tests will be made as soon as possible. In the matter of compensation the Minister appears to have the same views as his predecessor and instead of advancing he is going backwards.

100 per cent. plus £1.

For animals which have not got tuberculosis.

And 75 per cent. if they have.

With so much money being spent on tuberculosis by another Department surely the Minister could instruct his branch with a view to getting better results to increase the 75 per cent. to 100 per cent. in the case of animals that were not allowed to go into the jaws of death. I take it that the Department will send circulars to the county officials. There is only one in my County of Leitrim and it is an area of 80 miles long. It would be difficult for one man to supervise that county. I suggest that if 100 per cent. plus 20/- is paid for animals found to be suffering from tuberculosis there would not be any abuse. There is no veterinary surgeon who is going to be flaithulach enough to certify animals suffering from tuberculosis when he knows that it would be regarded as a reflection on his ability if he had animals disposed of and it was found that they were not tubercular. The Minister referred recently to the employment of an X-ray department dealing with tuberculosis.

Indeed I did not.

I am sorry then and I withdraw that. I read the debate on the matter very scantily.

What did you think of it?

I think it would be a grand thing if we could do all the things that the Minister outlined. I seriously suggest that the Minister should consider amending this question of compensation so that 100 per cent. will be paid in the case of animals found to be suffering from tuberculosis. In that way we may prevent other animals and perhaps human beings from becoming infected. It is usually the poor man who has one cow suffering from tuberculosis and not the better-off farmer who has more education in agriculture. In cases like that it would be better to have the full compensation paid rather than have the cow being put on the market. I suggest that is happening. There may be a farmer who will say in respect of a cow, "She is not doing as well as she might", and he will put her on the market. It is the poorer man, with the smaller amount of money, who has to take the gambling chance. He gets that cow at a lower price and he buys that cow. That happens in many cases and it is the poor man who has the cow with tuberculosis. That man may have a family who are consuming the milk of that cow. Therefore, I suggest to the Minister that full compensation should be paid and that propaganda should be carried out by the Department of Agriculture and the committee of agriculture to ensure that anybody who even suspects that he has a cow that has tuberculosis will call in an officer and, if it is established that the cow has tuberculosis but that it is not in an advanced stage of tuberculosis, that the owner will be paid full market value. That is the approach that I would like to see on the part of the Minister in regard to this problem.

Even in the case of an animal that was allowed to go into the jaws of death, I would be sympathetic. If, in the opinion of the authorities, it was a case of deliberate negligence, I say he should be paid 50 per cent. If it was merely common or garden ignorance, that the man was trying to feed up and to improve the animal and did not know it was suffering from tuberculosis, if he was a poor man, I say he should be paid full market value.

That is my approach to the problem. I am sorry it is not the Minister's. I would love to think—I know it is a vain hope—that I would be able to argue the Minister into that outlook. I suppose I will not be able to do so. I am seriously suggesting that he should re-examine this whole problem and, if necessary, have a consultation with the Minister for Health in regard to it, and get the opinion of the Minister for Health as to what should be done by way of tuberculin test or any other test to establish the cows that have tuberculosis and the cows that have not tuberculosis. I am not a technician. I have been told that cows that give a positive reaction to the tuberculin test are dangerous and are suffering from tuberculosis. I may be wrong in that but that has been my view.

In conclusion, I do urge that the Minister should take a different approach to this matter and that more generous compensation should be given in the case of cows suffering from tuberculosis. I am afraid the Minister is merely re-enacting a legal procedure, that there is no advance, that he is continuing a code of law that was started, according to the Minister's figure, in 1878, in the Diseases of Animals Act. The only power the local authority has for the appointment of a veterinary surgeon is given in that Act. They can appoint a veterinary surgeon under the Diseases of Animals Act and they have some powers of slaughter. I suggest that there is no new power being sought.

Quite frankly, I never heard more unadulterated rubbish about this problem.

It is a matter of opinion.

That is my opinion, and I do not live so far from the Senator. If the picture with regard to our herds were anything like it was represented to be by Senator O'Reilly, the future of the cattle industry would be dark indeed. Senator O'Reilly comes from a part of the country where, not very long ago, a group of people in an adjoining county raised a storm about diseases in pigs. They had very great reason to regret the unwisdom of the talk that went on at a particular meeting. They created alarm about diseases in pigs. What was the result? No farmer in any of the adjoining districts would go near one of their towns to buy a pig. If the sort of talk that was handed out to us this evening by Senator O'Reilly were representative of the facts, a great many people would avoid the fairs in his county if they wanted to get healthy stock. I suggest that Senator O'Reilly and people like him who talk in this fashion about disease in our stock should ponder carefully before using language that may misrepresent the facts and perhaps cause considerable loss to the people in their districts.

As far as the Bill is concerned, it is a simple measure. The Minister is making provision to compensate owners of diseased animals to a greater extent than they have been compensated in the past, when necessity arises for slaughter. If I were to try to interpret Senator O'Reilly's remarks, it would mean that it would be almost more profitable for a farmer to have a diseased animal than to have a healthy animal. If you were to proceed along Senator O'Reilly's lines you would encourage and inculcate disease in your herds because you would probably be better off than if you had healthy stock. They would be more valuable to you dead than alive. To bring in a vet and slaughter animals would be a better way of putting money in your pocket than to feed them well and increase their productivity, whether by breeding or milk production. I shall not say very much on the subject, but Senator O'Reilly castigated the Minister by suggesting that the Minister should consult the Minister for Health on this matter, presuming. I suppose, that in discussion with the Minister for Health, the Minister for Health would insist on good clean milk being supplied so that the human species would be properly fed. The Minister for Health believes that you can have healthy people if they get good food and sufficient of it. What is wrong with the Minister for Agriculture suggesting to people who talk like Senator O'Reilly that one of the prerequisites to healthy live stock is to feed the cows? There is no doubt about it that where there is tuberculosis in herds it is probably due more to faulty feeding and neglect on the part of the farmer than to anything else.

I do not think there are so many serious cases of tuberculosis but where they exist, they are due mainly to the cause I have mentioned. It is true that a disease can be passed from one beast to another. If the Minister for Health were to insist on the Minister for Agriculture providing clean, healthy milk, it is reasonable that the Minister for Agriculture would expect the farmers to provide healthy food for the cows so that they would not become debilitated and be a prey to disease. If on any farmstead, in the month of January, the cows are standing to their knees in mud, chewing the cud, cold, thin and hungry, where there is only bad hay and the cattle get nothing else, there is real danger of tuberculosis there. If it should develop in one or two cows in that herd, it may spread to the entire herd. Surely there is a responsibility on the herdsman to begin at the beginning, to try to keep his stock healthy. The demand that Senator O'Reilly makes on the Minister in regard to compensation is such as to encourage a man to be careless. That would be all wrong. Any of us who knows anything about this matter knows quite well that the number of animals in a herd that will give a positive reaction to the tuberculin test is very high but we have all used milk from cows that would react positively to the tuberculin test and we have not become contaminated with tuberculosis.

Would the Senator use that milk?

Yes, I would, and you have used it.

I am sure I have.

Yes, you have, and everybody in this House has used it.

Is it the correct thing to do?

That is another point. We have survived having done it. It is rather difficult to deal with this problem when you are dealing with a person who approaches it in the way Senator O'Reilly approaches it. That superficial smattering of information about a serious scientific technical problem does not do much towards contributing to a solution of the problem and the Senator, if he wants to make any contribution to this problem, will have to give it a little more study. Anybody who knows anything about this problem will tell you that the number of cows of seven or eight or nine, or six or seven years of age that will react to the tuberculin test is rather high but that the milk, under any test, is not contaminated or contaminating.

Senator O'Reilly then referred to the farmer who sells a diseased animal to another farmer. I think he said, at the same time, that such a farmer was a shrewd man. A farmer who goes to a fair—if he is any judge of stock and knows his business, and if he is really farming—knows by looking at a beast whether it is healthy or not.

On a point of explanation. I said that it was Senator Hawkins who said that such a farmer was a shrewd man. My point was that the poor man had to take a gambling chance. The man who gets rid of such a beast may be shrewd but I did not say so. Senator Hawkins said that.

Senators must not indulge in cross-talk.

I do not agree that because a man is poor he will buy a diseased cow. There is no better judge of the health of an animal that the poor man—because he has to be. If he were not a good judge of the health of an animal he would not be able to survive at all. He cannot afford to take risks and, before he buys, he will make searching inquiries, if he can, from the seller's neighbours to know what the stock is like. In any event, the number of such animals purchased in a year would not be one in 1,000 of the number of cows that would something that does not exist to the extent of being a problem. I regret the kind of speech which Senator O'Reilly made. He asked if the Minister is aware of the seriousness of the position. He must realise that a statement such as that will be interpreted as meaning that there is a very considerable disease in our live stock and that that disease is a danger to the human population as well. I reject that statement absolutely. It is not in accord with the facts. I have heard such a statement made from this side of the House in years gone by and I have always contradicted it.

In the case of older cows which are slaughtered and in which there is evidence of tubercular lesions, we have no evidence as to how far that will have affected the health of the cow, or the milk of the cow, or the meat of the cow.

That information can quite easily be ascertained.

As far as the ordinary population of our country is concerned, we have no evidence of what influence it has in causing disease in human beings or anything like that. There are no statistics available in that respect to which either Senator O'Reilly or myself or anybody else can refer.

Would the Senator, then, be good enough to tell the House what value, if any, a tuberculosis test would be?

I do not know that we can have a debate on that now.

I do not pretend to be an expert, but I have some little practical experience in this matter.

Why should there be slaughter at all?

Senator O'Farrell asks why there should be slaughter. What is the position? If I have an animal which is not well and if I suspect what is the trouble with it—if I can diagnose it myself—I go to the veterinary surgeon and say what I think is wrong with the animal and give an account of the symptoms and I am given something which should be satisfactory. If I am not satisfied, I ask the veterinary surgeon to come out. After watching the cow for a week or two the veterinary surgeon will make up his mind as to what is probably the trouble. The animal may be treated and may not respond. If it does not respond to treatment I am then instructed to go to the county veterinary officer. He comes along and passes judgment. If he decides that the animal is tubercular, then it may be slaughtered.

Why should it be slaughtered if it does not injure human life?

There is a distinction.

If there is, I should be glad to know what it is.

There is a point in the progress of the disease of the animal when it is obvious that the disease is consuming the animal. Then the whole system of the animal becomes affected. It is true that the veterinary officer is rather hesitant and rather cautious about slaughter. That is one point in regard to this Bill on which I should like to have a little light. I agree with Senator O'Reilly in that the county veterinary officer does not like to be held up to ridicule or to have his diagnosis proven incorrect. He would not like to find himself in the position of having decided on the slaughter of an animal only to discover afterwards that the animal was not tubercular but was suffering, perhaps, from some affection of the liver. What happens in the event of the slaughter of an animal? Does the veterinary surgeon there and then decide whether the animal was tubercular or whether portion of it is to be sent to the veterinary college for a test? Suppose my cow is slaughtered. How am I to know that my animal was not actually suffering from tuberculosis?

The veterinary surgeon is an honourable professional man.

He will determine it there on the spot——

He may send the organ away to an appropriate centre if he wishes.

The point is that the test is determined on the spot. I think that might be a weakness. I am not suggesting that the veterinary profession——

The owner can require the veterinary surgeon to send the organ to the Veterinary Research Bureau in Dublin if he wants to.

Nobody is going to suggest that professional gentlemen are going to do other than what is the honourable thing but a man may find himself in very considerable difficulty. He may, after directing the slaughter of what is to the owner a valuable animal, find that his judgment was slightly out. It is a situation in which a man does not like to find himself.

The farmer will get 100 per cent compensation plus £1 to boot for his trouble.

There are animals for which no cash compensation could compensate the farmer. My anxiety is to be absolutely certain that the decision of the veterinary officer is clear and beyond doubt as to what the animal was suffering from. A case like that is one in which there should be some recourse to the intervention of a third party. I think that is something. Of course, if according to the original Act the intestines can be sent to the veterinary college, that is a safeguard. I do not know that there is anything more to be said on that. Senator O'Reilly's points were points that would not strike me from my experience as having any value at all.

The Senator repeated that three times already.

He wants me to remember it.

Senator Hawkins indicated the possibility of passing on disease from dairymen's herds. All dairymen are licensed dairymen and there is a veterinary inspection of the herd as well as of the premises. If there is disease in a herd the fault is with the veterinary inspector. The public are very well safeguarded in that respect and the dairyman is not at fault. With regard to disease in poultry, I do not know whether the Minister has any exact information as to the control he has been able to exercise this year over B.W.D. in our flocks. With the very considerable extension of our poultry flocks, control of this disease is terribly vital and important altogether. The Minister's veterinary service is to be complimented on the steps taken this year to provide vans to go all over the country and check up on the spot the condition of disease in our flocks. I would like to hear from the Minister how far we are getting control over B.W.D. because, undoubtedly, the future of the profitable production of poultry is going to be considerably influenced by that. It is satisfactory to know that we are still immune from the fowl pest that has wrought such havoc in flocks in Britain, and I hope we will continue to keep it beyond our shores.

The aspect of this measure which strikes me as not being very popular with local authorities is the fact that there is an obligation upon us to raise the rate which may go up by 2d. in the £.

½d. in the £ in four consecutive years.

Not more than ½d.?

Not in any one year, but we may do it for four years under the authority of this Bill if it becomes enacted.

We expect it will. This is an extension of existing legislation and is really a temporary measure until the wider scheme which the Minister has suggested he is working out comes into operation. This Bill is necessary, and I think that criticism of the kind we have heard is not serving the interests of the live-stock industry in this country nor making a contribution helpful to the Minister or his veterinary department to grapple with their problem. There is no use in exaggeration that does nobody any good. I think it is important for all of us to examine this problem and study it closely, and if we have any knowledge to give the benefit of that knowledge in such a way that it will really help, but for goodness' sake let us not start a policy of exaggeration which indicates that we are trying to hinder.

I do not think there is need for a great deal of discussion on this Bill. I feel it is on the right lines. A few of the statements which were made were made by people who do not understand the situation. Senator Hawkins spoke of the man who buys a beast in an advanced stage of tuberculosis at a fair, and said that that man did not know and should be compensated. That man is an ass and has no right to try to buy a cow. I was sorry to hear Senator O'Reilly make the statement that so many of our cattle are affected with tuberculosis. Unfortunately, a certain percentage of our cows are affected, but a percentage of cows all over the world are affected with tuberculosis, and as far as our dry stock, bullocks and heifers are concerned, we have the cleanest bill of health of any country in the world. Take the abattoir where the worst of our cattle go for slaughter —only a half of 1 per cent. are affected with tuberculosis, and corporation vets. tell me that that is a very high percentage to quote them at. When I hear Senator O'Reilly talk about the number affected——

Might I intervene at this stage?

I think the Senator may not at the moment. He has already had an opportunity of making a speech.

Coming back to Senator O'Reilly's point of having all cattle tuberculin tested, I do not believe that the tuberculin test is altogether perfect. From my experience of it, in many cases a cow may react to the test this week and in three months' time would pass the test all right. I have had experience of cows of that description myself. I had a number of cows, and when my family were young they insisted on having them tuberculin tested. One 900-gallon a year cow reacted and I would not sell that cow. I kept her for feeding pigs. At the time of her next calf I got her tested by the same vet. and it turned out that she passed that test. Is there such a great danger of tuberculosis from the milk of cows affected with tuberculosis? Some years ago the British set up what they call a Royal Commission to test that case and it was found that only less than 2 per cent. of tubercular cows gave tubercular milk. If that is so, I think it knocks the bottom out of Senator O'Reilly's argument.

I do not think there is very much to be said on this Bill. I think it is a great improvement on any Bills we had previously, particularly the compensation in the case of reported cattle which are noticed to be affected with tuberculosis. The principal reason why farmers did not report their cattle was that although they thought, or perhaps knew, a beast to be affected, it was not worth their while. For all they got it was better to slaughter it themselves and put it in a hole. Senator O'Reilly said that a man who sells a beast affected with tuberculosis should be liable to the buyer for compensation. That is the most foolish suggestion anybody could make. After all, if that was the law, when cattle were sent to Birkenhead or Glasgow those people might demand compensation when we would have no means of testing their claim at all. I think this Bill is a great improvement on Diseases of Animals Acts we had in the past and it should be passed without discussion.

Might I intervene?

The Senator may not make a second speech.

I had no intention of intervening in this debate but when I heard the speech of Senator O'Reilly I thought I might speak and when I heard Senator Baxter I felt I had to speak.

About the Bill itself, I want to congratulate the Minister as it is an advance. It is not a very large advance but it is an advance and every advance is worth while. The important point, to my mind, in this Bill is that the Minister is encouraging in this measure as far as possible the early notification of tuberculosis in cattle. The higher compensation is given for the early cases. Even if the cow was not actually tubercular, if it was believed or suspected to be so and slaughtered, the compensation is 100 per cent. Thus, as the disease advances, the compensation falls, as it should fall. This will all tend to encourage early notification and slaughter. That is a definite and worth-while advance.

I agree with Senator O'Reilly that this is only tackling a small portion of the problem and tackling it at a very late stage. Senator O'Reilly suggests the further use of tuberculin testing as a method of diagnosis. Senator Baxter took exception to Senator O'Reilly's remark that there is very considerable disease in our live stock. That statement of Senator O'Reilly's is perfectly true — there is very considerable disease in our live stock. It may be unpleasant to have to confess it but I do not think the ostrich-like attitude of Senator Baxter in refusing to look at an unpleasant fact will bring us any advance. Senator Baxter's whole lack of progressive outlook is shown by the statement he made that we have all probably drunk tuberculous milk and have survived.

I did not say anything of the kind. I said we have drunk milk from animals that have reacted.

Which is a very different cup of tea.

I do not mind saying that we all have drunk milk from animals excreting tubercle bacilli, but Senator Baxter's attitude is a selfish one. There are lots of children who have drunk that milk and have survived, but there are many who have not survived and there are many crippled and deformed because they have drunk it. Anything that tackles those difficulties will be useful and those difficulties, however great, should be faced.

I confess that the Minister is making advances, but I would urge on him still greater advances. I do not say that this rightfully applies here, but I am sure it will be part of his policy. I suggest that a suitable area be taken, one or two counties, and that everything possible be done to build up in those counties a bovine population entirely free from this disease. There is no use in saying it cannot be done. It has been done throughout Canada and in large areas of the United States, so that certain types of tuberculosis occurring in children in this country are simply non-existent there.

May I try to elucidate the obvious difficulties members of the Seanad naturally have about the question of the diagnosis of tuberculosis? The position is that the tuberculin test, if properly performed—you must have the right material and a skilled surgeon to perform it—in the human or animal reveals the fact that that person or animal has suffered from tuberculosis. In the case of human tuberculosis, it does not prove that the person at the time is suffering. I know that I am not suffering, though in my case the test is positive. I am quite sure that Senator Baxter's test is positive, but that he is not suffering. In the animal, you are dealing with something different—a milch cow living under unnatural conditions, with an enormous drain to produce milk in an abnormal quantity, with a short life span, which is a fifth or a sixth of that of a human being. Tuberculosis in human beings is curable. In the great majority of cases it is cured without any specific treatment. Most of us have been infected and have cured ourselves without knowing it, but human beings are not lactating at the high rate at which the cow lactates, so we are not subject to this very unnatural drain to which a cow is subject.

In the cow, when the animal develops tuberculosis, it starts as a very small focus quite undetectable on veterinary examination, but when the tuberculin test becomes positive, it tells us that the cow has been infected. The cow, if put under very good conditions and on very good food and not overmilked, may recover, but that does not happen in the cow usually. It is a fairly rapidly advancing disease. When a cow which gives a positive tuberculin reaction is subjected to heavy milking, in the majority of cases the disease advances and within one or two years it becomes clinically evident.

On what statistical basis does the Senator say that?

I have a very considerable knowledge of this. The Minister is already accused by Senator Baxter of having no statistics at all. I think, if this is looked into, the Minister will find that that is the state of affairs.


The Senator is not stating a fact.

It is up to anyone to dispute the scientific evidence if he pleases.

Surely if the Senator wishes to make a statement founded on scientific fact and challenges contradiction on the statistical information, the least we are entitled to ask of him is that he will give the statistical basis on which he professes to acquire the alleged scientific knowledge, since his alleged fact is pure nonsense.

I did not come here to make this speech complete with statistical evidence, which is procurable and with which I shall favour the Minister on a later occasion. My claim is that, in the cow, under the conditions of heavy milking, the disease of tuberculosis very easily advances. A cow is not a danger because it gives a positive reaction. It is only a danger when the disease advances and attacks the udder and she is excreting an enormous number of tuberculous bacilli in her milk.

I urge that, to deal logically with tuberculosis, we must do as those responsible for the health of cows have done in Canada and in the United States, in a number of European countries and in parts of Australia. We must not be entirely ignorant of the scientific basis of the theory. After all, people do not indulge in very heavy expenditure without good reason for doing so. These people have found it worth while to free large areas completely from bovine tuberculosis. They have found it a paying proposition, from the purely agricultural point of view and from the point of view in which I am interested in in particular —they have removed from the children this grave danger of contracting bovine tuberculosis. It may be said: "It cannot be done". I am not urging the Minister to do that now in this Bill. I am sure it has its right place and that with his progressive outlook, he has already envisaged the possibility. I am urging that, as soon as may be practicable, he would try to build up, in quite extensive areas, in isolated areas, a bovine population entirely free from the disease. It has proved possible in Canada and elsewhere.

By what test?

By the tuberculin test. You can have a herd entirely free from tuberculosis by the tuberculin test and, of course, by subsequent veterinary examination. I can tell Senator Baxter that is possible in Canada but he may not believe it.

I know all about what they do in Canada for years, and I do not accept all they say.

I cannot see why business communities such as they have there would indulge in great expense to do that unless they believed it worth while. I do not believe we should be more backward than they, or more inclined to neglect the welfare of the child population than they, and therefore I urge this policy on the Minister.

My reason for speaking is that I have no cows to sell. It seems to me from the speeches made that there is a sad fate staring most of us in the face—if we do not die of tuberculosis, we will die of fright. We have it asserted, and contradicted, that practically the whole of our cattle are affected by tuberculosis. That has been denied, but we do know that some of our cattle are affected and we do know that the milk from these cattle is being sold and we do know that the Minister is taking every possible step under this Bill and under contemplated legislation to wipe out bovine tuberculosis.

I do not think we know that milk is being sold which has been drawn from tubercular cattle.

I am taking the assertion made by previous speakers. Senator Baxter has said that he and I and everybody else have drunk milk from tubercular cows.

Tuberculosis reactors.

The milk itself may not have been tubercular infected, but the cows were. What worries me is that, while the Minister is anxious to see that cows definitely suffering from tuberculosis are slaughtered at the earliest possible moment, it is quite likely that a farmer will keep on hoping that the cow will improve and need not be slaughtered, and need not be sold at less than its market value. In the meantime, a cow definitely suffering from it is being milked and the milk is being consumed by human beings. I do not know whether, in the case of a visit by the veterinary officer on invitation to examine these cows, followed by a decision that a cow is tubercular and ought to be slaughtered, there is any compulsory power in the matter of slaughter, or can a farmer decide that he will keep the cow and can the milk be sent still to the cities and towns for consumption? Are there compulsory powers to slaughter an animal? That is not conveyed in the Bill.

Milk from a tubercular cow could not be sold for human consumption in the country.

A farmer could supply it to his children.

And he could sharpen the carving knife and chop off their heads.

If he is as shrewd as Senator Counihan, he will give it to the pigs and sell the pigs to us.

If he did, ample safeguards would be provided by the Senator's vigilant Minister to see that the pigs did not reach him.

I think that where an animal is tubercular, compensation is desirable and the infection should be diagnosed at the earliest possible stage, and in order to assist in getting rid of the animal as soon as possible the compensation should be as near as possible to the market value. I think it would even be better to adopt the suggestion made and pay full compensation for an animal which had tuberculosis in its early stages, just as for an animal which had not and which was slaughtered. It would be better to run the risk of having to pay a few shillings extra than to let the cow go on until it had to be certified as suffering from tuberculosis, because in the meantime it might do an incalculable amount of harm. I want the Minister to allay our fears, because we have been frightened. Senator Baxter talked about these diseases and the cause of them and I was glad to hear him say that his experience as a farmer bore out our experience as citizens in Dublin, that cows get tuberculosis because of bad housing conditions and bad food—the fact that they live in bovine slums. I am sorry that we cannot as effectively wipe out tuberculosis amongst the human population, but I do not say that the same remedy, slaughter, should be adopted.

We are really dealing with compensation to be paid in respect of cattle condemned, and I would have preferred if some Senator had put down a motion which would give us an opportunity of discussing this matter in a more effective way. I have made inquiries and I believe that a very small percentage— probably not more than 2 per cent.— of cows which react give live tubercle bacilli in their milk. I want to make that statement, because people are very much afraid in this respect. Statements have been made with regard to milk which is not good being fed to pigs. Our system of pig inspection— and I have some experience of it—is based on the Scottish system, which is the most elaborate system in the world, and it is more efficient and effective than the Scottish system. I welcome the Minister's statement that he intends to bring in a comprehensive Bill and I hope, when that is done, that the causes of the disease in many cases will be removed and that the cooperative societies and others supplying skimmed milk to the farmers for feeding cows and pigs, will be induced to pasteurise it, as is being done in many other countries. In that way, we could reduce in great measure the incidence of tuberculosis in our cattle and also in pigs and other animals which use milk as a food. I know that the Minister, in his reply, will remove from the public any fears they may have with regard to food. My chief reason for rising was my anxiety that many of the things said in this debate would give rise to fears in the minds of people which, in my opinion, are entirely groundless.

I approve of the principle of the Bill and I think it is a good idea to increase the compensation in the early stages, because, if the disease is to be tackled at all, it is in the early stages, and especially in the dairying districts, that it should be tackled. I was very interested in Senator Bigger's remarks. We all know that there is more disease amongst dairy cows than we would wish. He has given a very clear explanation of the reason and it is a reason which must stand for all time —that the drain of the milk on the ordinary cow has a tendency to give rise to the disease. That stands to reason. In addition, bad treatment multiplies the chances of the disease spreading, and it explains why dairy cattle are more liable to infection than other cattle.

I do not think the danger of infection of human beings from bovine tuberculosis is at all so real as people think. I remember a German scientist coming to this country many years ago and demonstrating in the course of a lecture that it was not possible to transmit bovine tuberculosis to the human being. I think that has since been contradicted, but in County Limerick and other dairying counties there is considerably more milk drunk by children than in any other part of the country— many times more than is consumed in the cities and towns—and in these places there is no such thing as inspection of milk. The milk is simply produced for the creameries and there is no such thing as inspection or tuberculin testing. It is produced under the most careless conditions and still tuberculosis is very rare amongst the children there. Very rarely do we hear of a case and scarcely ever a case which could be shown to have been caused by drinking milk infected with tuberculosis. It is quite possible that the children in the cities may not have the same powers of resistance to the disease, but the fact remains that young children living in the country who drink a lot of milk are quite healthy.

One reason why the disease should be attacked in the early stages especially in dairying districts is that when the disease develops in a cow the milk from that animal is mixed with that from other cows and the whole lot is brought to the creamery. The separated milk which has been standing for some time is then brought back and fed to the cattle. In that way even a few cows could infect the whole area by spreading the disease amongst all the other cattle. I would suggest that the separated milk should be sterilised or pasteurised. That would mean that the milk would be going pure to the calves and in that way the disease would soon die out or be reduced to a minimum.

It is a good idea to compel farmers to report cases of the disease in the very early stages. Scientists should decide definitely whether the disease is transmitted from the animals to human beings. The disease is a very serious matter from all points of view, but particularly from the point of view of the farming community. I am sure that anything that can be done to remedy the situation will have the wholehearted co-operation of the entire community.

Personally I believe that the more milk is drunk the better but I do not agree with anybody who talks about pasteurisation, whether it is pasteurisation of skimmed milk or pure milk. Milk like wine contains living objects which pasteurisation destroys.

The Minister has spoken of the slaughter of cows believed to be suffering from tuberculosis. Under the scheme the owner is to get 100 per cent of the market price. There are public-spirited farmers who in the interest of the community will report a cow at once. Very often it is a cow giving a heavy yield of six and a half to seven gallons per day and which for that reason is very thin. That cow may be worth anything from 90 guineas to 100 guineas as a pedigree animal.

There is no provision for pedigree cows. The assessor however can make an award on what he considers to be the full market value having regard to all the aspects and if he considers it worth £100 he can give that much.

Senator Bigger has referred to the matter of early notification. Farmers would be encouraged to give the earliest notification if compensation were given on a reasonable basis as distinct from the purely commercial value.

There is another aspect of the case that has not been referred to and that is that very shortly in England and in Scotland there is going to be a very strong drive for tuberculin tested herds. In Scotland at the moment such cattle are being sent into England. That market is still open to us and I think the Minister will be forced very shortly to ensure that all animals leaving this country are tuberculin tested before they are shipped to England. The British Government are going to insist on this.

Surely you are referring to milch cows.

No, I believe that it will apply to all animals, including fat cattle and stores. I have not got the statistics but I understand that in the state of Maryland in America they had secured all tuberculin tested cattle down to 1 per cent. and in the following year the incidence of tuberculosis in human beings went up by 2 per cent.

I hope that this is only the beginning of steps which the Minister will take to co-operate with the Minister for Health in clearing the country absolutely of tuberculous cows. Senator Baxter had said that any farmer would know the tubercular cow by looking at it. I saw a cow belonging to the late Minister for Agriculture, Dr. James Ryan. A test indicated she was suspicious and her milk was not used. A later test proved she was a reactor. If reaction means tuberculosis, Dr. Ryan could have sold that cow and no farmer who might have purchased her would have suspected her. Instead, Dr. Ryan had her slaughtered. Few farmers would have had that public spirit. It seems, therefore, that Senator O'Reilly is correct when he stated that a farmer could purchase a tuberculous beast without recognition of the fact.

Milk and public health are definitely related. Senator Sweetman has no faith in pasteurised milk. I have not had much experience of it but I know the American Army, when in Europe, were ordered not to consume milk unless they were sure it was pasteurised. I saw an American paper with a chart on tuberculosis with the present Minister for Health at Newcastle Sanatorium when he was there, and the chart showed tubercular meningitis before and after milk was pasteurised the chart fell to normal. So that even pasteurisation is important. We should arrive at the stage— and I hope the Minister will aim at it —where every milk supplier will have to have his cattle tuberculin tested. The reason they do not have them done at present is that it costs a guinea each time the beast is tested and they will not go to that expense. The ordinary farmer who is sending milk to the creamery or elsewhere will not go to the expense. Therefore, the State would have to undertake to do it. I think Senator Bigger's suggestion that a few counties should be isolated and that an effort should be made to clear those counties first as an experiment, but I hope that the process will be extended to the whole country because, as Senator Bigger pointed out, it means the health of human beings.

I saw with Professor Boyle, Professor of Agriculture in Cork University, heifers that were sent from Clare by as shrewd a dealer as Senator Counihan or as shrewd a farmer as Senator Baxter. They were bought for the university. There were 75, as far as I remember. They were all beautiful animals which were to be used for milk. Professor Boyle had them tuberculin tested and three out of the 75 reacted. These were eliminated and were not put in for milk. It shows the importance of tuberculin testing, for milk supply at any rate. The present Minister has plenty of energy and plenty of honesty and is anxious to do the best for the country and I hope he will have Senator Bigger's suggestion put into force and that he will have it carried out, not only in a few counties, but throughout the country.

Even though many Senators may not have agreed with Senator O'Reilly's proposal that the full amount of compensation should be paid, every Senator should agree on that. If some poor unfortunate farmer finds that his cow is diseased, he should be paid the amount in full. Otherwise, if he is a poor person, a person who does not sell milk but who uses it for his family, he is not in a position to make up the difference in the price of a new cow.

Seventy-five per cent. of full value.

That is not sufficient. Where will he get the other 25 per cent.? Where is it to come from, if the person is poor? I am thinking of the peasant farmer in County Mayo. A £5 note is a big amount of money for him. If what Senator Baxter has said is true, that there is so little of this, the amount involved would be small. I would ask the Minister to be more generous with these people and to give the full 100 per cent.

In connection with the point that was raised by Senator O'Reilly about somebody selling a tubercular cow, I am satisfied that no tenant farmer, particularly in rural areas, will buy a milch cow without asking for a warranty and, if he gets that, he can recover the price of the cow. I am not afraid on that point. I do not agree with Senator O'Reilly in that connection. The person is protected in that case. But, in the other case, we should do everything possible and the Minister should do everything within his power to eradicate tubercular cows. I am not saying that the number is large but I do not agree that it is as small as Senator Baxter thinks it is. Unfortunately, it is not. Whether the number be big or small, the Minister and the Government should take immediate steps to put them out of existence and they should compensate the people who would suffer loss.

On the question of the valuation, I take it that it is a veterinary officer who will value?

Unless the owner desires an umpire, to whom he can have recourse, and, if dissatisfied with the umpire, can appeal to the Minister for the time being.

I am very glad to know that, because some of these veterinary officers may be clever men in their profession but as far as the market value of a cow is concerned they may not have sold a cow in their life and will know very little about the value. I am glad the farmer is protected in that way.

As far as the whole question of veterinary service for small tenant farmers is concerned, I would appeal to the Minister to take up that question at an early date. I know people who cannot afford to pay the veterinary officer, with the result that they have had loss that could be avoided if a veterinary surgeon were at their disposal at a more reasonable price. I would make a final appeal to the Minister to give 100 per cent. of the market value of a cow that has to be destroyed because that will help to put these cows out of existence.

A number of Senators have advocated 100 per cent. compensation. In reply to that, Senator Baxter said that that would encourage certain farmers to have tubercular cows, or to allow tuberculosis to continue.

Yes, that was said.

In view of that statement would it not be desirable to fix some figure in between more than 75 and less than 100 per cent.— perhaps 90 or 95 per cent.? If it is contended that 100 per cent. would make farmers too easy going, and not anxious to get rid of tuberculosis, then what about 90 or 95 per cent.? I agree with those Senators who have stated that for a farmer on a small holding £5—the figure which Senator Tunney mentioned—is a large amount. Many of these farmers have a very low standard of living and a loss of even 25 per cent. of the value of a cow represents a big sacrifice. I would suggest that the Minister would consider some figure in between the 75 per cent. and the 100 per cent. if he considers it unwise for reasons already stated, to give them 100 per cent.

I think perhaps it is necessary in order to restore proportion to our approach to this problem that I would recapitulate my views on a farmer who has a tubercular cow, and well knowing it to be tubercular brings it to the fair with the intention of selling it to his neighbour. I was asked in another place if I would not compensate such a person for any loss he might have sustained by the depreciation of the value of the beast he sold and I said that I certainly would not. I said: "There is such a thing in this world as a moral law. It is not the function of this House to make blackguards into honest men. A farmer who brings a tubercular cow, knowing it to be tubercular, and sells it in a fair is lower and more contemptible than the man who commits murder. I would like that to be recorded. The farmer who sells a tubercular cow in the fair to his neighbour is a low, crawling thing, compared with a man who would go into his neighbour's kitchen and murder his neighbour's child in that kitchen. I am not now talking of the man who makes a mistake. The Deputy was talking of the man who well knowing his cow to be a tubercular cow, rather than suffer the loss of a fraction of its value will bring it to the fair and sell it to his neighbour, hoping his neighbour will not discern what he has perceived. I want to say that the man who does that is a lower creature than the man who goes in and murders his neighbour's child. That man will at least face a jury of his peers and take the consequences of his act, but the man who murders his neighbours child by passing into his possession a tubercular cow well knowing it to be tubercular is a murderer and will answer to the God Who made him some day for what he does." That is my view of any farmer—rich, middling or poor—who, in order to line his own pocket would destroy his neighbour's family without qualification or reservation or excuse.

But Senators may have noticed that I reacted briskly when Senator Bigger came prancing into the fray. This is a country where learning is greatly venerated. Our people instinctively attach to the obiter dicta of a professor in this country a reverence which is, perhaps, unique. Therefore, I suggest to Senators who are professors that they ought to be careful about what they say. Senator Bigger delivers himself oracularly of the declaration that almost all cows which would react to a tuberculin test within 12 months are suffering from clinical tuberculosis which is virtually certain to proceed to a fatal termination. Did you ever hear such raiméis?

On a point of explanation. The records of this House will show what I have said. I think I said within a year or two. I certainly never said anything about months or 12 months.

Very well. I accept the Senator's correction. "Almost all cows which would react to a tuberculin test within a year or two years are suffering from clinical tuberculosis which is virtually certain to proceed to a fatal termination." Where did the Senator get a statistical foundation for that proposition? Is there a record anywhere of any general application of the tuberculin test to a wide number of cattle whose history was subsequently traced, and a record kept of the percentage of those reactors that proved to have clinical tuberculosis thereafter and those that did not, over a period of five years? The Senator makes that declaration just like so many other people who say that there is not room in the one hide for milk and meat. That sounds so true that everyone bows the head respectfully and nobody dares to ask why—because it is a sort of Lése-majesté to ask why.

When I first came to this House I hesitated about engaging Senator Bigger in an argument. I felt that one should always think twice before taking him on. But imagine a man in his position delivering himself of that allegation to anybody of a scientific mind. It is pure tripe. It has no relation to the truth. It is just shooting off the mouth. I do not mind Senators doing that when it is not going to do grievous injury to the country where they are getting their living. Everybody in this House—poor, rich, distinguished or insignificant—is ultimately getting a living out of the farmers of this country and those who are getting it, as we all are, ought to think twice before we strike down the people out of whom we are living. Nobody is more vigilant or deeply concerned than I am about the problem of bovine tuberculosis infection in children. God knows, I have every reason for it. All belonging to me have been deeply engaged in the effort to control it and to correct it. It makes me all the more exasperated when I hear people shooting off their mouth and making a difficult and troublesome task which must be done more difficult and more complicated to grapple with than it already is. Nobody wants to deny the incidence of tuberculosis in cattle in this country. We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to be ashamed of. The incidence of reactors to the tuberculin test is relatively high. It is common knowledge that a very large number of cattle who react to the tuberculin test never develop clinical tuberculosis. It is common knowledge to all, but the most wooden-headed, that there can be tuberculosis foci in a cow's carcase and that if you are milking her till the cows come home her milk would constitute no greater source of danger than if she were proved to be a non-reactor to the tuberculin test 444 times in a lifetime. To attempt over-simplification of these things is pernicious but to get up on your hind legs in order to look down on the ignorant Irishry—"Really, it is high time that the ignorant people of this country realised the position and what was being done in Maryland and here, there and everywhere..."—and that if we were not a lot of ignorant people we would have done it a long time ago. That just makes me go to the limit of my patience.

What an insult to suggest that we should be determined to take measures to protect our own children and that we should not neglect, through ignorance or reluctance, to face a public duty which has been undertaken by the people of Canada, of the United States and the people of here, there and everywhere. That—from the very people who, manifestly, from their own conversation, have not the faintest notion of the considerations that are operating upon our mind. There is the difficulty of attempting to eliminate tuberculosis on the basis of a test when you know the test is not by any means a proven infallibility. It is one thing to say that in an excess of solicitude —to rush out and, if you have 40 per cent. reactors in the country to slaughter all reactive animals. If it was certainly true that every cow that reacted was capable of giving bovine tuberculosis to a baby I would come to Oireachtas Éireann for leave to go out and do that thing to-morrow because the life of one woman's child is to her worth all the cattle in Ireland.

I hope that the Senator will always feel that. I wish I was satisfied that everybody in the world shared the Senator's solicitude about his neighbour's child. I have no doubt that the Senator genuinely does, but I think he would agree with me that a good many people in the world would say: "Tut, tut, tut, tut, let us not be sentimental." But I say it and I mean it: if conviction could be carried to my mind that the cow which is a reactor to the tuberculin test was going to communicate tuberculosis to the first child that came in contact with its milk and that there was no means of preventing it, at whatever cost, I believe Oireachtas Éireann would have to take steps forthwith to eliminate every such beast in the country; but such a suggestion is fantastic, ludicrous, idiotic and irresponsible and, coming from people who are supposed to be authorities, it is disgusting.

I am sorry to intervene again, but I did not make any such remark.

The Senator is not the only person who spoke in this House. There is ample protection which, I entirely agree, must be rigorously enforced, unless and until we can satisfy ourselves that the source of our milk supply is clear of tuberculosis. In my opinion, until we can satisfy ourselves that there is not any cow suffering from any form of tuberculosis in the herds supplying our milk for human consumption, we must aim at giving universal pasteurisation pending the higher perfection of having a milk supply so certainly sure of being free from all infection as would justify passing it for human consumption without a previous pasteurisation. Let us, however, remember what we are up against when we talk of our liquid milk supply. Suppose you satisfy yourself beyond all doubt that there is not a cow in the herds which supply milk for human consumption suffering from tuberculosis, are you sure that there are not any dairy maids coughing into it? Now where are you going to stop? Is it the Minister for Health's and my duty to leave the milk pure on the lintel of the door because the girl of the house may have tuberculosis and she may cough the germ into it? Am I to be told that I am to go into every house and examine everyone in the house? Where am I to stop in my solicitude?

At the cows.

If I stop at the cows, I may do very wrong. I must go to the milk deliverer in the back street who puts the milk into a dirty bottle out of a dirty can and takes a cap out of his pocket and sticks it on the bottle with a dirty thumb.

I agree that it is a matter for the Minister for Health.

I said the Minister for Health and I. Where are we to stop? I think we should stop at the threshold of the home. But remember that the mother who gives that milk to her child is not safe because that milk may become the vehicle of typhoid, tuberculosis, and more than one form of food poisoning from the time I leave it at the door, or rather the time when it is left on the door under my supervision, and the time the child gets it. These problems are not as simple as they look and the fools who think that they are are the people who play havoc with their well-intentioned maunderings. Everybody here believes that no expense is too great to wipe out tuberculosis among cattle.

I can see my way to deal with clinical tuberculosis; I can see my way to deal with more than that and I say to every veterinary officer in this country: "If you suspect that bovine tuberculosis is there, deem it to be there. Do not be afraid that anybody may say: ‘That fellow is ould maidish to kill a whole lot of cattle that we have to pay 100 per cent. for and £1 to boot'." I have told them if any local authority says that: "Tell them from me I asked you to do it. As long as you in good faith believe a cow to be suffering from tuberculosis, although the regulations say that to justify slaughter the cow must have a chronic cough and show evidence of emaciation, give her a punch in the side and make her cough. If that does not make her cough, give her a pinch of snuff and that cough is good enough for me for you to take her out for slaughter." Whether that cow has tuberculosis or not, the farmer will get 100 per cent. of its total value and £1 to boot if she has not and 75 per cent. if she has. Let him go and buy a cow to replace the one that has been slaughtered, but no one must condemn the vet who has excelled in caution. It would be far better that a dozen cows not suffering from tuberculosis should be slaughtered than that one should contaminate a human being. On a much lower level, one affected cow could go into the byre and affect three or four more cows before the vet comes to destroy that emaciated cow, only to come back a few months later to destroy a couple more. Let us get out of the habit of acting at times when our heads are as soft as our hearts. It is so easy to be maudlin about these affairs and so easy to do desperate damage if a maudlin well-intentioned busybody flounders around desiring to do benefaction to everybody. But, in fact, he raises powerful vested interests in this country who may greatly increase the difficulty of those who are resolved to proceed inexorably to the real end we have in view. I do not see any way round the question of tuberculin tested cattle. All tuberculin tested cattle do not develop clinical bovine tuberculosis. That is one of many problems.

Of course, when I came to examine this and consulted my veterinary staff, I said to them: "This system of waiting until a cow becomes emaciated or has a chronic cough is suicidal. While that cow is waiting to get emaciated enough to be killed under the regulations, she is effectively infecting two or three cows." What about authorising a veterinary surgeon to destroy a beast if she is a reactor? The problem is how you would justify that. We have no reason to believe that half the cows that react would ever develop clinical bovine tuberculosis. How can you go out and massacre as condemned cattle every beast that would react while any statistical material you have, which is not much, would suggest that not 20 per cent. would ever develop clinical bovine tuberculosis? If you try to do that, the only result will be that you will range up a wall of resentment and opposition in this country that will prevent you from doing the things we can do. It was to overcome that dilemma that I said to the veterinary officers: "Very well, we have to go another way about it." We have to say to the county veterinary officers: "To blazes with the cough and the emaciation; if you believe the beast is tuberculous, dispose of it and we will get around the problem of the absence of the chronic cough and the emaciation."

Is there anything we can do beyond that, which is calculated to achieve our purpose without precipitating a situation in which we will not carry the public with us? Let us not get into our heads, whatever position we occupy in the public life of this country, that we are the lords and masters of the people. We are not. Our function in Seanad Éireann, in Dáil Éireann, in the Oireachtas and in the Cabinet, is to interpret the wishes of the people, to do what we believe to be right and, if we find ourselves at hopeless variance with the people, then to stand aside and let them choose other representatives if, on matters of fundamental principle, we can no longer reconcile our conduct with the people's wish.

If we want to get the authority and the will of the people behind us to do the things we know are necessary, we will not get it by going out and telling them they have got to do it. We must bring them with us and get their assent. We must try and lay the case before them in a form which may involve some simplification but which will command the assent of the average reasonable man. You will not get the assent of the average reasonable man to any such deft proposition as that we are to slaughter every such beast in this country that reacts to the tuberculin test. My aim is—and I do not despair of achieving it—to keep up the pressure on clinical tuberculosis, until the sight of a beast with emaciation or chronic cough will become unknown in this country.

If veterinary science advances a step further to make the tuberculin test less delicate than it now is, if we can get some test which would. give us the signal of early clinical tuberculosis, in the commonly accepted sense of that word, we will have made great progress.

Suppose that our parents ordained that the precautions requisite should be taken in respect of every one of us and that all the community should be submitted to whatever is the corresponding test in human beings to the tuberculin test in cows, how many of us in this room to-day would not have spent two years in a sanatorium? I found a most beautiful tubercular lesion in the apex of my left leg when I was X-rayed for spinal rheumatism recently. Thanks to the mercy of God's Providence, it was not found 20 years ago or I might have been spending two years of my life on my back in a sanatorium. Is it worth it? Let us be practical about this. The theory is that every person with a tuberculous lesion should be put to bed in a sanatorium for two years and yet on the most conservative basis, though that is prudent, is it practical politics? Would the Senator consider it the proper thing to do to-morrow? He will agree with me that once a test reveals the presence of clinical tuberculosis, where there is a high probability of deterioration if it is left untreated and a very low probability of its being overcome if it is left, there should be available to every creature in this State, no matter how poor, how low or how insignificant, just as good a chance of shaking the disease off as there is to anyone.

In exactly the same way, show me a way in which I can discern, in its early stages, a form of clinical tuberculosis with a degree of certainty that there is danger of deterioration, danger to the consumer of milk, danger of death, and I will come to Oireachtas Eireann for any power necessary to authorise me to proceed with elimination of that type of beast. But do not suggest that, unless I ask the Dáil to order that every beast in the country who reacts to tuberculin test must be slaughtered, I am failing to do so for a mercenary reason, and am sending to death a neighbour's child in order to save money, if I do not proceed to act now. Do not tell me that I am accepting the standards of lowly, peasant, ignorant peoples, inferior to those in Canada or elsewhere—because, despite the decorum of the Seanad, I am damned if I will listen to that kind of tripe in silence.

Some Senator desired a more full expose of the veterinary services already available and regretted that the Minister confined himself to these problems. He made a great mistake if he imagined that the veterinary services are confined to the topics to which I thought it proper to refer to-day, but I may be allowed to give these few statistical details, in part answer to the queries that were addressed to me. One Senator inquired as to number of units now available to deal with bacillary white diarrhoea in fowl. This time 15 months ago, we had none; then we had ten, and now we have 20. We feel that we have equipment now to cover effectively every supply farm in Ireland. If the expanding fowl situation should require further units, they will be trained and provided, but we propose to see what 20 units will cater for. If 30 or 40 become necessary, they will be provided; but while we resolve to provide all that is necessary efficiently to complete the task, it would be a mistake, I think, to waste public money on ostentation.

Senator O'Reilly makes a good, rousing speech, not caring very much whether his observations are coherent or not. He said I paid less respectful attention to what he said in Carrick-on-Shannon. I felt like murmuring: "Et tu, Brute", as I think he asked me at Carrick-on-Shannon to make good veterinary provision for the residents of Mohill.

What happened Caesar?

He was murdered by somebody who suffered under the illusion that he was morally superior to his neighbours, an illusion which is not peculiar to Rome. I think I can claim that the moment the veterinary insufficiencies of County Leitrim were brought to my attention, they were repaired within three weeks. I think I remember the Senator saying that he and his forebears had made representations in regard to these insufficiencies for the previous 15 or 20 years.

I am afraid I did not say that, but somebody else did.

Perhaps it was some aged man. What had gone unremedied for a generation in Leitrim, I was happy to put to rights, at the Senator's instance, in three weeks after he met me at Carrick-on-Shannon. Why he should therefore rebuke me for being slow-footed and laggard in my exertions surprises me.

I am afraid the Minister took the wrong view.

I am happy to hear that.

I should be very sorry to criticise the Minister for any good he has done and I would not do it. I quite honestly advocated the tuberculin test. The Minister stated something with which I did not agree and I based my argument here on what he said, although I did not accept it.

The Senator must have been suffering from some tinnitus in the ear. The real source of tuberculosis amongst cattle in this country is, as I think Senator Counihan said, very largely inadequate winter feeding, because, unhappily, our people have a most deplorable tradition of allowing their cattle very nearly to die of starvation and it is a regular, common phrase in the whole dairying industry: "Did the cows not come out to the grass in great fettle? Of course, it was a soft winter," the presumption being that, if the Lord Almighty did not provide the wherewithal to keep them alive at the butt of the ditch, they would get it nowhere else. There is that deplorable tradition that our people have the idea that, if a cow is amply provided for with abundant grass from March until October, she ought pretty nearly to live on her own fat, with the result that you get, particularly in the calving cow, a very low condition which undoubtedly is conducive to tubercular infection.

The remedy for that is not the purchase of expensive feeding-stuffs but simply to ensile grass, and that can be done in a hole in the ground. There is no expense, no equipment wanted and no investment of capital. If they will dig a pit silo, put the grass into it and pile the clay on top, they will have for the feeding of their cattle a better food than any imported concentrate whencesoever they bring it and whatever they pay for it. If they are not able to do it and if they will only be good enough to let me know, I will be happy to send a man down so that he may do it for them, so that he may show them how to do it and stay with them until I have satisfied myself that they all know how to do it for evermore—with molasses or without molasses, with A.I.V. or without A.I.V. plain or in any other way they want to make it. We have a most versatile body of instructors in the Department and we are looking for people to ask them to come. I propose to put an outpost in every three parishes in Ireland, so that the people will become familiar with them moving about and so that we will get over their seeming reluctance to call upon their salaried servants to do the work. So far as their salaried servants are concerned, we want to go and our only difficulty is that we cannot find enough people to ask us to do for them the things we could do, if they would permit us to serve them. One of the most important things is to learn how to make grass ensilage and replace imported concentrated feeding-stuffs.

There is another vital consideration and we have some statistics to support it. Fifty per cent. of the calves which die in this country from natural causes every winter—I am omitting the calf factories because they used to take their toll one day—die from lack of feeding, because it is true to say that husk is a disease of hunger. Husk is a parasitic disease, but the universal experience is that if you bring a calf suffering from the husk parasite in, keep him in and feed him oats and milk, his own constitution will overcome the parasite. If the calf is moribund when you bring him in, he will not come back to life, but nobody need miss the husky calf. You can detect hoose at a very early stage if a young calf is coughing painfully. Bring him in and keep him in and that is where 90 per cent. of them go wrong—they bring them in at night and let them out in the day. Bring him in and keep him in; give him milk and oats and he will shake off the parasite. That one gesture without the intervention of vet, or anybody else will prevent 50 per cent. of the calf mortality every winter. For stomach worms, for fluke, we have specifics, and not a single beast need die if every calf, as a precautionary measure, is treated in July or August for stomach worms and fluke. They are two specific remedies, and, if repeated a second time during the year, not a single calf need die. If those three simple precautions could be taken 85 per cent. of all the calves that die each winter could be reared.

Here, in my opinion, is one of the really effective contributions we are going to be able to make right now to the ultimate elimination of tuberculosis, that is, under the farm buildings scheme, to bring home to our people the knowledge that, in North Dakota, where the temperature can fall to 40 below zero, cattle have been milked in open and heated sheds side by side and to date no difference in the milk yield has been discerned. If we could get our people to substitute for the traditional pattern of cowshed, the dark, four-walled shed with the dirty cobbled floor and inadequate window, a three-walled milking shed with the back wall directed towards the prevailing rainy wind, and to milk their cattle and feed their cattle always under shelter in the open, I do not think there is any more effective measure we could take for the reduction of the incidence of tuberculosis amongst cattle.

What would happen when you have snow from the east and it fills up?

You would bring out a hot-water bottle and sit them on it. One way in which we in public life can make our contribution to this matter, and I appeal to Senators to help me, is when talking to the farmers, to try and convince them that there is nothing old-maidish, fussy or silly in sending for the veterinary surgeon if a cow coughs. There is the cough which we all get to know caused by a grain going against the cow's breath and which will be ignored. The wise man knows there is a difference between the tuberculous cough and the other kinds. There is the type of man who will not send for the vet., but surely the one thing a sensible man will do when a cough develops is to send for the county vet. By doing that he would give valuable help to us in our efforts to eradicate tuberculosis. If you can persuade him that it is not old-maidish, silly or stupid to do this and that he is doing a sensible thing it will go a long way to contributing to the desperate problem confronting us.

I am not sorry to have had this chance of saying a few words about the views of this Government on tuberculosis and of saying how bitterly I would resent any suggestion that this Government would withhold anything on monetary grounds which would put in jeopardy the life of the child of any person, rich or poor, in order to save the money.

That said I now commend this modest measure for your favourable consideration and ask for your approval.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take the remaining Stages to-day.
Bill passed through Committee and reported without amendment.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

Before returning the Bill to the Dáil I would say I welcome the Minister's announcement that he is going to increase the veterinary services. However, having listened to part of the discussion I have changed my mind and I have concluded that it is not necessary to increase our veterinary services at all because we have had such a very elementary lesson on the care of stock for the last half-hour, and I think as a result there is no need to go to the expense of more vets, in the country.

The Minister in the course of his closing statement made reference to the farm buildings scheme, and I am glad he appreciates the importance of this scheme. I hope he and the officers of his Department will make every effort to push forward that scheme which has been held in abeyance for the last 12 months.

I furnish myself with the best information at my disposal to answer any queries that may be addressed to me. Senator Hawkins has tried to be impudent. I do not mind him cutting capers in Skibbereen because I can deal with him there, but I feel it is wrong that when a Minister comes prepared to deal with the matters that are raised he should be derided in his efforts.

I have no doubt about the sincerity of the Minister, but I cannot agree with him when he says that it is his desire that no money be spared to deal with tuberculosis. I am satisfied that there are certain poor farmers unable to replace a cow which the Minister is leaving longer in existence because he is not giving the full 100 per cent. market value of the animal. The Minister could change that situation by Order and I appeal to him to do so.

Is it right for a Minister to refer to a Senator as being impudent?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

That does not require any ruling.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be returned to the Dáil.