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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 Nov 1956

Vol. 46 No. 11

Animal Remedies Bill, 1956—Second Stage.

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

The health of our live stock is of paramount importance to the national economy. It is fortunate, therefore, that there is now on the market a very wide range of economical and proven remedies which, under veterinary guidance, can be used very effectively in the treatment of many of the major live-stock diseases present in this country. That farmers generally are becoming alive to this position and are taking increasing advantage of it is reflected in the marked reduction that has taken place in the losses formerly suffered from such conditions as white scour, contagious abortion and parasitic infestation. There is much ground still to be made up, however, and one of the essentials to further progress is to put an end to the widespread and persistent abuses in connection with the sale of certain alleged animal remedies which are at their best useless and in many cases can be positively harmful and to encourage instead the use of remedies which have a real medicinal value. That is the purpose of this Bill.

The damage caused by these quack medicines goes further than the mere cheating of the purchaser. People who buy them are led away from applying proper remedies or from calling in expert professional advice in exactly those cases where it may be most necessary. Wrong treatment may mean the death of the animal. Sometimes the disease can be of a transmissible nature and irreparable damage may be done to other animals on the farm—perhaps on neighbouring farms—by the lack of proper medicines and attention. Furthermore, the farmer who suffers as a result of using a spurious remedy sold to him under the persuasion of an eloquent salesman will be biased against all veterinary medicine, good or bad.

The existing law does not in practice enable effective measures to be taken to deal with the sale of quack remedies and the present Bill has been drafted accordingly. The Bill envisages two types of control measures. The first of these (set out in Section 5) requires in the case of every commercial animal remedy that the name of the remedy, its composition, the specific remedial property or properties claimed and the name and address of the manufacturer and the packer be disclosed on the container and on any outer wrapper and that advertisements about the remedy should contain the same information. (The disclosure of additional particulars may be required by regulations made after consultation with the Consultative Committee provided for in Section 4.)

The second type of control provided for in Section 7 empowers the Minister, after consultation with the Consultative Committee, to make regulations for the control (including control by licence) of the manufacture, preparation, packing, import or sale of animal remedies. It is intended that this latter provision would be implemented, on the advice of the Consultative Committee, should Section 5 alone be found in practice not to be a complete deterrent to present abuses. It is believed, however, that the obligatory disclosure of the composition etc. of animal remedies should go a long way towards putting an end to the sale of quack products because farmers will know what exactly is being offered for the prices charged and sellers of such products who contravene the provisions of the Bill will be liable to proceedings. At the same time, it should be understood that Section 7 will undoubtedly be put into operation if the Minister, in consultation with the Consultative Committee, at any time considers that this is necessary.

The Consultative Committee provided for in Section 4 has a parallel in the similar committee which functions under the Therapeutic Substances Act, 1932. It will consist of experienced persons who will be in a position to advise the Minister in the making of regulations. It is intended that the committee will include representatives of the Veterinary Council, the Pharmaceutical Society, the Department of Health and the farmers.

Discussions in regard to the proposed legislation have taken place with professional and trade interests concerned and in framing the Bill regard has been had so far as is practicable to their views.

I am sure that everyone will welcome this Bill and congratulate the Minister on introducing it. It will appeal to farmers and lovers of animals and to those who value the welfare of the nation as a whole. Its object is to put down quackery and, with it, loss to farmers —which is obviously something that will command our universal sympathy. But, in eradicating the quack and his quackery, it seems to me that we must be careful not to impose any undue trouble on the respectable purveyors and manufacturers of animal remedies. We cannot, I suppose, apply fully the parable of the wheat and the tares here. You will remember, Sir, how in that case when a farmer reported that there were tares among the wheat and wanted to pull them out, he was given the highest authority for leaving them alone for fear of damaging the good wheat in taking out the tares. We cannot do that here and the analogy is not complete——

The Senator will remember that did not apply to the point of consumption.

That is quite true but as the Minister will see, I am on his side in what follows. It is quite clear that we must in that case pull out at least some of the tares, but we must—and I think the Minister will agree in this—take care not to damage the good corn in doing so. I suggest that the Bill may, perhaps, in one or two points, cause inconvenience or perhaps harm to the respectable purveyors and manufacturers of animal remedies.

I propose, if there is some support for these views, to put down amendments later and deal with the matter on Committee Stage. But I should like to draw the attention of the House to one or two points at this stage. In the first section, it says that the Act shall come into operation six months after the passing thereof. It has been suggested to me by some of those respectable purveyors and manufacturers of animal remedies that it would be a little hard for them to have to scrap their existing stocks of labels, which may be extensive and expensive, within six months, and that if the Minister would extend the period to one year, he might save them a good deal of expense without, perhaps, unduly harming the implementation of the Bill. I do suggest perhaps that six months is a little drastic. I appreciate that the Bill may not go through very quickly and in that case the manufacturers will have eight, nine or ten months' notice and may not suffer any hardship. But to have to scrap half a year's labels would be a little hard.

Rather more important is a point in the second section. This says—"‘advertisement' includes any notice, poster, pamphlet, circular, label, wrapper or other like document." As the section stands it might be construed to include wholesalers' catalogues. If so, it would mean that in these already bulky wholesalers' catalogues there would have to be included fairly elaborate formulae, which might double or treble these already bulky publications. If the Minister would be good enough to keep that in mind and perhaps make a Government amendment, or accept an amendment from me, to exclude that possibility, I think some people would be grateful. I think it is a reasonable query on this section, the point being that these wholesalers are not in any sense responsible for the formulae and if they have to reprint it in their catalogues it is going to make an enormous publication.

On Section 5, there is another question which I think is worth considering, although I can see it is a somewhat delicate matter of policy, both of public and of business policy. Section 5, sub-section 1, clause (a) says that the appropriate commercial common name of the remedy or, if it contains more than one ingredient, of each ingredient, shall be printed on the wrapper. In many of these remedies there is a passive base which may be water or something else, which is inactive and has no direct action in the remedy and can generally do no harm to the animal. It is suggested by the manufacturers that to have to include this purely passive ingredient is unnecessary. I wonder—I am not skilled in these matters—is that a reasonable suggestion? If it can be shown that these so-called passive ingredients cannot be harmful, it is a reasonable suggestion. I think it would serve if we inserted the word "active" in front of the word "ingredient".

In Section 5, sub-section (1) clause (c) there is another matter, and one which may affect our export trade. It is a fact that some Irish firms manufacture animal remedies for overseas wholesalers. Those overseas wholesalers would rather not have it known that their remedies are manufactured outside their own countries. It might be that if they are compelled, under this Bill, to print "manufactured in Ireland"—which is virtually what it would amount to—they might say "we will not have it manufactured in Ireland at all, we will go to somebody else". That, in our present financial situation, would be a pity.

I would ask the Minister to consider whether we might think of redrafting this clause. I would suggest that where a proprietary remedy is manufactured for and on behalf of a proprietor that the name and address of the proprietor only might be stated. Let me make it quite clear that no one is going to suffer from that. The proprietor will accept full responsibility for the remedy. The ingredients of the remedy will be printed on the outside. It is simply a matter of changing the Bill so that the name of the manufacturer need not also be printed on the label. I suggest that if we alter the Bill in this respect we may save, to a small extent, some of our exports. There is a risk that some of our exports will be cut off, if British manufacturers are virtually compelled to print on their labels "made in Ireland".

There is one other point I should like to put forward. It is that on the whole of Section 5 as a general principle I hope that the Minister will accept that we do not want to cause the reputable manufacturers and purveyors of animal remedies any undue trouble. If we can save them trouble without doing any harm to the buyers of the remedy and the animals concerned I am sure he will be prepared to meet us. It would save the manufacturers a certain amount of trouble if he would grant that the provisions of Clause 5 should not arise in the case of a substance or preparation to which monographs are accorded in any of the following publications: The Irish Pharmacopoeia, The British Pharmaceutical Codex and The British Veterinary Codex. Any substance or preparation which appears in these publications is sure not to be a quack medicine. It is sure to be a respectable preparation. Possibly the Bill might be drafted so that a reference might be made to the relative page or passage in one of these publications.

It seems to me that if we can save the manufacturers trouble on this point, we should try to do so. If I receive any support for these matters, I will raise them again on the Committee Stage. The general principle is that in putting down the quack, we must not inflict any side blow on the honest people who have been providing good and honest remedies for the animals in Ireland for many years. There is a certain risk in that, in pulling out the tares from the wheat field, we may do some damage to the wheat. So I ask the Minister to see that the wheat suffers as little as possible.

Ní raibh fhios agam go raibh an oiread san rudaí i bhfuirm leigheasanna i gcóir stoic á gcur ar an margadh is a dúirt an tAire. Más ceart an méid a dúirt sé, d'fhéadfaí ana-chuid díobhála a dhéanamh. Mar gheall air sin, cuirim fáilte roimh an mBille seo. Ní dóigh liom go mbeidh éinne ag cur ina choinne.

Is é an trioblóid atá ann i gcónaí nuair a bhíonn fadhb mar seo le réiteach nach féidir an fhadhb a réiteach gan cur isteach ar dhaoine áirithe. Sin é an deacracht atá ann i gcónaí nuair a bhíonn Bille den tsórt seo á phlé againn; ach sé is ceart a dhéanamh i gcónaí ná maitheas a dhéanamh don chuid is mó de na daoine, cé go gcuireann sé san isteach ar an mbeagán.

As I have said already in Irish, I think we should welcome this Bill because I believe sincerely that it is an effort to overtake certain abuses that have been taking place in the country for some years past, abuses connected with the sale and distribution of animal medicines; but while I welcome the Bill, I find it difficult to understand how these abuses have reached the proportions to which the Minister has referred in his speech, as, candidly, I was not aware that there was such wholesale quackery taking place in the country in this matter. The difficulty in all these cases is, as Senator Stanford has pointed out, that, in order to detect and catch the evil-doer, sometimes the genuine manufacturer and seller of these compounds has to suffer. I suppose that, in the nature of things, there is no real remedy for that.

At the same time, it is only right and proper to point out to the Minister that certain abuses could creep in in connection with the administration of this measure. Unfortunately, the more controls there are in matters of this kind, the more likely it is that there will be interference with people's legitimate business. I suppose it would be necessary to have certain inspectors, or supervisors, or whatever one would like to call them, appointed from time to time to administer this measure.

I must say I am a little confused in my mind about the Minister's observations in the Dáil on this Bill. For instance, in Volume 160, at column 126, referring to those people who hold out certain remedies for the abolition of abortion in cattle, the Minister said: "No ‘cure' for these conditions is known to veterinary science." He was referring to a product which he said "was sold at 2/9 per small bottle and was suggested as a cure for abortion and sterility in cattle". But at a later stage in his speech the Minister made use of these words, at column 127: "for example, strain 19 vaccine is a sure preventive of contagious abortion...."

The difference between prophylaxis and therapeutics.

The question is: what does the Minister mean? Does he mean in the one case simply abortion, and did he want to convey that there was no cure for it, and in the other case contagious abortion?

I was trying to distinguish between therapeutics and prophylaxis.

I see. In any case, this apparent inconsistency aside, we all welcome the Bill, and I hope that it fulfils the desire of the Minister and his Department and of all of us to crush out these abuses by way of quackery that have been taking place.

The first thing that commends this to us is this principle of labelling what we are either getting or giving. In 1912, a book was published that caused a tremendous sensation. It was entitled "Secret Remedies: What They Cost and What They Contain". People found in it that many of the remedies they had been taking for a long time and giving to their unfortunate elderly relatives and children were beneficial in that they did not harm, but nothing else. It led to a considerable amount of revision of the attitude people took to these things. I am extremely glad the Minister has done the same thing for the dumb animals.

The dumb animal's position was not quite the same as that of the human, because, if a worthless remedy was given to a human, he could at least say that it was not making him feel any better or that it was making him worse, whereas, with the farm animal, it might be hours or days before it could be known and the animal could not tell his symptoms to the veterinary surgeon. To insist that one will know exactly what one is getting by means of the information on the label is a very important step towards general enlightenment. I should like it extended to many of the things we encounter. If we knew how much nourishment and calories several of our so-called foodstuffs contain, it might surprise some people.

There are two points which I should like to bring to the notice of the Minister. The first is that, I am not quite clear why, under Section 3, he leaves out dogs. He has the escape in the application of the Act that he may apply it to particular animals, but I still am not quite happy as to why the dog should be left out. An extraordinary number of preparations are advertised for doing all sorts of things to dogs. I, personally, should like to know what some of them contain. Short of actually analysing them oneself, I think it would be very desirable to make manufacturers tell why certain preparations are so good for Fido and whether there is anything in the thing at all.

The second point concerns the most important part of the Bill, namely, this question of the consultative committee in Section 4. No provision is made for a representative of the veterinary profession or the Irish Veterinary Council on that committee. Presumably, if such a representative were to be brought in, he would be brought in under sub-section (2): persons whom the Minister considers to have experience or special knowledge in relation to or to be representative of persons engaged in— what?—engaged in the manufacture, packing, distribution, sale or use of animal remedies. I consider it quite conceivable that a member of the veterinary profession might not qualify under "sale or use". The word that is troubling me is "use". We all know the use of aspirins, but only a person who has had medical training knows the effects and knows the dosage and what the effect of giving too much may be. If it is the intention of the Minister to invoke the technical skill of the profession, I think that would be achieved by substituting for "sale or use" the expression "sale or effects" of animal remedies. Otherwise, I should like to see the sub-section so reworded as to include the actual representative of the profession. I think he should be statutorily represented. These are just the two points which I wished to make on this very interesting and progressive measure.

Everyone appreciates the Minister's paternal regard for the farmers generally in seeking to protect them from the activities of the purveyors of useless remedies. I think a good deal of his solicitude is unnecessary. I do not think there is any very widespread use or purchase of remedies that are totally worthless or ineffective. In the main, farmers are a hard-headed type of people and certainly they do not part with their money easily. Generally, they will not purchase a particular remedy, except on the advice of a veterinary surgeon or a good unofficial local horse or cow doctor. As a result of long experience, some of those people have acquired a good deal of knowledge which is not without value. Therefore, I think that, in passing this Bill, the Minister and the House will, to a great extent, be seeking to protect the farmer from something which does not represent a very serious menace. Anyhow, as the Bill is before the House, I assume it will be accepted. Its effect will not be very far-reaching.

As far as the farming community is concerned, and as far as the points raised by Senator Stanford are concerned, the Bill may have a serious effect, unless it is modified in certain ways, upon people who are legitimately manufacturing remedies. I might say, in passing, that while, in the main, farmers are hard-headed and good business people, they are not likely to be imposed upon to any serious extent. It is rather remarkable that animals such as dogs and cats have been excluded from the operations of this Bill. I think people who own those animals are often very simple-minded and are more easily imposed upon than the average farmer in regard to his live stock. It may happen that, if a certain number of people engaged in producing worthless animal remedies are put out of action as a result of this Bill, they may concentrate all their energies upon the unfortunate domestic animals such as dogs and cats which are excluded from this Bill. For that reason, I am at a loss to know why that exclusion was made.

The Minister may say that those animals have no connection with agriculture or with productive industry generally. We must remember that at the present time he is endeavouring to secure the enactment of legislation governing the greyhound industry. That is an admission on his part that dogs are of some importance in the national economy.

The Minister would be well advised to give some attention to the points raised by Senator Stanford. In our zeal to protect the user of these remedies, we may inflict hardship on some people who are producing worthwhile remedies. Here is a point worth considering. It may be that, in animal remedies, a very expensive ingredient is blended with a very considerable quantity of water. It may be necessary that it should be so blended in order to make a proper mixture or in order to be safe for utilisation or administration. I can see that it might lower the value of that remedy in the eyes of the purchaser if the percentage of water were mentioned. What should be mentioned, of course, is the exact quantity of the various ingredients, that is to say, so many ounces or so many grains of the particular medicine. If that is mentioned, I think it is sufficient and it is not desirable to obstruct or impede in any way the people who are giving useful service. I think the Minister will appreciate that.

As far as the farmers generally are concerned—and I am speaking as a farmer and as one acquainted with agricultural conditions generally— there is very little real reliance placed by farmers on proprietary remedies. To a great extent farmers are guided by their local veterinary surgeon, by their local pharmaceutical or veterinary chemist, by the advice from agricultural instructors and by the advice from experienced stock owners, rather than by any showy advertisement or notice in the Press or in some publication.

This Bill may be necessary and it is acceptable, in the main. The principle is right, that we should expect purveyors of such remedies to publish the name and the composition of the remedy; but if there are abuses, I think it will be found that the second portion of the Bill—Section 7, which provides for regulations licensing manufacturers—might be even more effective than the publication of the composition of the mixture. I think that would be found as a result of experience.

There is just one point which strikes me. The Minister or some members of the House may regard it as amusing. In the past certainly, I have known many people to place a great reliance on alcoholic beverages as animal remedies. Stout or ale was very frequently recommended for animal diseases. I do not know how this will be affected by the operation of this Bill. If they are being purchased as animal remedies, must the ingredients and contents be published on the outside of the bottle?

Senator Stanford has referred to Section 5. I would suggest there might be a provision in the Bill giving the Minister power to exempt from Section 5 goods intended for export. I think there is a good deal in what Senator Stanford says, that as the section stands it would apply to manufacturers manufacturing for export and might interfere with their business.

On Section 5 (1) (a), I do not quite understand the wording "appropriate commercial common name" and "appropriate scientific name". It seems to me that if one said "the commercial common name", one would seem to convey as much as if one said "the appropriate commercial common name". I simply do not understand the expression. The same words are used as regards the scientific name, "the appropriate scientific name" and there is a definition given of what is meant by that, but there is no definition of the other.

"Bread soda" for "sodium bicarbonate".

If it is not the appropriate common name, why is it also not the appropriate commercial common name?

Ask the parliamentary draftsman.

The real point that occurs to me in connection with it is that if an article had some purely fancy name, if you gave that fancy name, you would be giving the appropriate commercial common name. I think the Minister ought to consider that.

In Section 2, the definition of "advertisement" does not relate to something that is neither manufactured nor for use in the State. It seems to me that the words "nor for use in the State" are probably intended to mean "nor imported into the State". It raises the question as to what happens in the case of perfectly proper farm publications that may be brought in here in which there are advertisements which do not conform to this Bill. Are the people who sell these thereupon liable to penalties? It is only a small point, but it seems to me that it requires some consideration.

I do not want to say very much on this Bill. It seems to me to be a very good one. While agreeing with a good deal of what Senator Stanford has said, I should like nevertheless to put a query about two of the points he made in relation to Section 5. He suggested that perhaps the requirement to state the quantity and the name of the passive ingredient might be unnecessary. It seems to me that the buyer of these remedies has a right to know how much passive ingredient there is.

And what it is.

And the quantity. If he is buying something that he regards as a good remedy and finds that 99.9 per cent. of it is water, although that may be necessary, as Senator Cogan says, I think it is an interesting fact and one that he ought to know, no matter how harmless the water may be. Therefore, I think this provision is a good one.

Secondly, it was suggested by Senator Stanford also that if the formula already appears and was a reputable formula and appeared in the pharmacopoeia, it should not be necessary to give the formula explicitly on the bottle. But again, in relation to particulars, I think it is better for the buyer to be able to see clearly on the bottle just what the ingredients are. I do not think there would be enough said by referring to page so and so of the pharmacopoeia, because it might not be available. It would be, in fact, a way of concealing the simplicity and the cheapness of remedies when a person is paying good money for them.

In Section 6, I think the Minister is very bold. He is asking that, in any particulars to be given in relation to the sale of a remedy by way of advertisement and so on, it shall be an offence if such an advertisement is likely to convey a false or misleading indication or impression of the composition—"composition" is all right—or remedial value of such a remedy. If an advertisement gives you a false impression, or might give a false impression of the remedial value of a remedy, then the person issuing that advertisement is committing an offence under the Act. In other words, the Minister is actually asking advertisers to tell the truth.

This is a very new principle to introduce into advertising. As I say, I think the Minister is very bold. I wonder if he considered the full implications of making every advertisement of every animal remedy the truth and nothing but the truth, and in not giving a false or misleading impression about their remedial values. Where, in other words, will this Bill end, if we are to ask that of advertisements? I take it no such restriction applies to political Party advertisements or savings advertisements.

Or those who go up to the temple to pray.

I take it that this is an admirably high ideal, but is to be taken more as a distant prospect, as the Minister indicates, rather than as a practical proposition for everyday life? It would be embarrassing to admit what quantity of a political advertisement was passive inducement, not to be taken at its face value and certainly not doing any good. Has he thought of applying this to human remedies? Are advertisements there bound to give a true impression, not a false impression, about their effectiveness? My impression of such advertisements is that such remedies only do us good if we read and believe the advertisements. Consequently, it seems to me a very high principle, this insistence that advertisements tell the truth. I wonder has the Minister considered all its implications. Not long ago the Minister introduced a Bill making it quite clear that if we insisted on the correct date of our eggs being told, it would not be easy to sell them on distant markets and in fact making it easier to conceal their age for distant markets. He insists on the principle of telling the truth, but I wonder can it be demanded and can the Minister see himself implementing this, that animal remedy advertisements give the truth and nothing but the truth.

I have nothing much to say on this Bill, except that I was approached by some members of the trade and I understand that all reputable chemists and manufacturers of chemical products for animal feeding in this country very much welcome the Bill. It seems the most important thing in this Bill is the condition being insisted upon that in future an exact designation be given of a remedy and that the buyer will be in a position to know what the remedy is supposed to do, and what it contains to effect a cure of whatever it purports to cure. Everybody seems to welcome the labelling demanded in this Bill and the trade itself welcome the labelling because reputable people are not afraid to tell the nature of the goods they sell. It is felt, however, that there are in the Bill some slightly unreasonable requirements which are carried a bit further than is absolutely really necessary. The Minister is a business man himself and he will realise what is really wanted in this case is a reasonable description of the remedy that is being sold, but it should not be necessary to go into finicky detail. I am informed by the trade that there are one or two little adjustments which could be made to certain sections of the Bill which will avoid unnecessary expense.

In this matter of labelling of goods, there is a lot of intermixture between the owner of the product and the person who actually makes the product up. The manufacturing chemists would have a great confusion of labels and be put to great expense and trouble to comply strictly with the letter of the Bill, and I merely say on the Committee Stage I propose to put down one or two amendments. Actually, the points have already been raised by Senator Stanford and the Minister at that time should favourably consider the recommendations made by the trade, recommendations made in the full spirit of co-operation, and a desire to fulfil all the necessary requirements of the Bill.

As a farmer, I welcome this Bill, as every farmer in Ireland will welcome it. I think it is long overdue and that it is a sincere effort to put an end to abuses which are widespread. Senator Kissane says he believes it is not a wise Bill, and, as Senator Cogan believes that this is true, he must have lost contact with the farmers in this country.

I am living in an enlightened county.

I myself happen to have bought from a salesman a cod-liver oil compound which was supposed to be for pigs and calves. I paid 35/- per gallon and I found it was 80 per cent. water and less than 20 per cent. cod-liver oil, and while I had paid 35/- a gallon, cod-liver oil itself could be bought at 15/- a gallon. In connection with this same compound, there were at least ten cases in Mullingar court, and, though the farmers proved the remedy was 80 per cent. water, and though the Justice agreed they were right, the farmers had to pay for it and pay through the nose.

In another case, a neighbour of mine, a first class farmer, though Senator Cogan may state the people in my county are soft, was offered a compound by a salesman which was supposed to supply mineral deficiencies in cattle, pigs and racehorses. This neighbour of mine paid the salesman a cheque for £30 for half a ton, and I defy contradiction on this. Rumours went around and when the compound arrived at Mullingar station, the farmer had it examined and it was found to contain 90 per cent. of fox sand. It is a well known fact that a certain gentleman in Dublin had samples of this compound and sold them all over the country, even up to Donegal, and there were prosecutions about it, but at the same time the farmers had to pay for it. I welcome this Bill, because people should be prevented from making exaggerated claims in respect of animal remedies. No one wants to interfere with a genuine, reputable compounder of medicine who has nothing to fear from this Bill. The Minister is to be congratulated on introducing this Bill.

Mr. Douglas

I should like to join with the other Senators in congratulating the Minister. I am a little perturbed about one point, that is, the omission of dogs from Section 3 of the Bill. It appears to me that dogs, and if I might also add cats, are domestic animals which are kept by a large portion of the population in this country——

If the Senator indicates at any stage of the Bill that he desires one or other to be added, they will.

Mr. Douglas

I would prefer to see them included in the Bill.

I appreciate the spirit in which the Bill has been received by the House and particularly the spirit in which Senator McGuire intervened in the debate. It is a great help to a Minister when a Deputy or a Senator draws his attention to a certain flaw in the Bill and invites the Minister to repair that omission or flaw. I should be most grateful to the Senator for his assistance in repairing any error that may seem to be in the text of the Bill. I imagine that Senator Stanford was really referring to the matters to which Senator McGuire referred and, perhaps, it would assist the Senators if I refer briefly to the points mentioned.

The only reason there is not a period of 12 months instead of six months in the Bill is that I think the Bill is overdue. I do not want, if I can help it, to postpone its operation for 12 months. I consented to postponing its operation for six months to meet the situation of those who had stocks of labelled merchandise on hands, so that they might dispose of this merchandise in conformity with the law. It is not a matter of principle. I should prefer to leave the six months in, for, by the time the Bill is through, persons with stocks will have had in effect nine months since the Bill was drafted and I do not apprehend they will be put to any serious inconvenience.

Secondly, there was the matter relating to the definition section where it was apprehended that a document published by the manufacturers of such remedies might include the whole list addressed exclusively to wholesalers. I am advised it does not and it certainly is not intended to do. I will have the matter examined by the parliamentary draftsman, and, if anything is necessary, it will be done. Senators will sympathise with me that the mysteries of the parliamentary drafts-man's office are quite beyond us all. We tell him what we want to do and he very often chooses words to do it whereby he bewilders, but if we seek to simplify his phraseology we often discover to our astonishment that we have done the exact opposite of what we desired to do. We would all be well advised to accept whatever wording the parliamentary draftsman advises us achieves our purpose.

I do not agree with Senator Stanford that what he calls the passive base of a compound remedy does not require description. There are many bases other than spring water. The compound may have a bland and inoffensive base like chalk, but, unfortunately, sometimes unscrupulous manufacturers may employ an inert material which can still be gravely deleterious to a ruminant. Therefore, I think it is a useful thing to require him to describe it. I cannot imagine its doing harm to anybody if he has put in an honest base. Chalk or water will frighten nobody, but the knowledge that he must faithfully describe the base will deter him from using something of doubtful safety. All this Bill seeks to do is to ensure that the farmer will know what he is buying.

I do not seek to fix its value. I was asked to do that in another place and I said I preferred not. The purpose of this Bill is to ensure that information will be provided, leaving it to the farmer to choose whether he wishes to pay for it or not. With regard to the point in relation to the manufacture of a proprietary remedy, a firm domiciled abroad which has a small market for the particular product and which does not think the market large enough to set up a plant for themselves like to get another established manufacturer to make it for them and do not want the other manufacturer's name on their product. It is a matter of business pride that they were themselves making it here. I do not think it really matters a fiddle-de-dee but if it is a matter upon which the Senators hold strong views I would be prepared——

It sometimes happens that these firms are in competition with themselves.

I rejoice in Senator McGuire's informed franchise. Even such absurdities as that exist, but if, in the Senators' judgment, that is a foible which we should kick out in a legislative way—I, like him, have had some experience of business—I would be much influenced by his views. If the Senator considers this should be done, I would be much influenced by what they would recommend with regard to this section when we come to the Committee Stage.

With regard to the suggestion by Senator Stanford that substances or preparations to which monographs are accorded in the Irish Pharmacopoeia, the British Pharmaceutical Codex or the British Veterinary Codex, should be exempted, if it means anything, which I very much doubt, it really is a proposal that we should exempt the pharmaceutical chemist from the obligation of writing on the label of a bottle he shakes up for a farmer in the shop the description of its constituents whereby the farmer would be invited to judge the value of the mixture. To that proposition, I would not agree. I think the pharmaceutical chemist shaking up a bottle ad hoc ought to have the same obligation as a patent medicine manufacturer to write on the label substantially the constituents. Maybe I am wrong in so interpreting the Bill, but I think that is what it means, and, if anyone can explain it to me better, I shall be much obliged.

Senator Cox made the point that Section 2 might apply to an important publication. That is to say, if a publication, printed abroad, offered for sale in Ireland a preparation manufactured here and failed to declare its contents, it would commit an offence. I think that is so, but the contingency is so remote as to make it almost unnecessary to provide against it. If the Senator takes a different view, I would have no difficulty in meeting him in that regard.

Senator Fearon referred to leaving out dogs and he was followed by Senator Douglas. I think the matter was also mentioned by Senator Cogan. I should mention that the only reason dogs were left out was that, when we were drafting the Bill, we wanted it to apply to farm animals but we took power under the Bill to include other categories of animals. However, if Senators Fearon, Douglas and Cogan would feel happier to insert dogs or, indeed, cats in the Statute, by amendment, I would have no objection.

I can reassure Senator Fearon that even though the wording of the Bill may appear to create an obligation on the Minister to preclude members of the veterinary profession, as I stated in the other House and as I now say in the Seanad it was intended that one member at least of the Advisory Council would be a member of the veterinary profession. If Senator Fearon considers it desirable to propose an amendment, I would, of course, consider it.

I think that covers all the points which have been raised, except one raised by Senator Sheehy Skeffington who asked me if I really meant to ask the manufacturers of these drugs to tell the truth and he deplored the fact that politicians did not tell the truth. It suddenly occurred to me while he was speaking that he was also a politician and when I saw him striking his breast and heard him saying that it was a pity that all politicians did not speak the truth, I thought of the man who went up to the temple to pray and I ventured to interrupt him to recall to his mind the distressing story of that most virtuous man.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, November 21st.
Business suspended at 6 o'clock and resumed at 7 o'clock.