Diseases of Animals Bill, 1944—Second Stage.

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

This is an amending Bill and therefore, in the first place, does not involve any new principle. It merely amends legislation in existence already. Diseases of animals legislation is based on the Act of 1894, which is referred to as the Principal Act. One thing I want Senators to keep in mind is that in 1894 there was a different conception in regard to dealing with diseases like foot-and-mouth disease, pleuro pneumonia and swine fever. They were dealt with principally by the local authorities. Since that there has been a gradual change over to the idea of dealing more and more with these diseases through the central authority. That is, I should say, the big reason for this Bill, to give the central authority more power to deal with certain diseases but it is really only giving the central authority powers which the local authorities had in the beginning. There are four sections of the Principal Act of 1894 which are being repealed in this Bill, Sections 5, 6, 8 and 9. Sections 5 and 6 deal with cattle plague, a disease which we have not heard of in this country for years. Still it would be a dreadful disease if it should occur and hence the provision to deal with it. Sections 8 and 9 dealt with pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth disease. These are being repealed and all these diseases will be dealt with henceforth under Section 10 of the Principal Act. Section 10 of the Principal Act is really more comprehensive and gives wider powers to the central authority to deal with these outbreaks. It is more suitable under present circumstances. Section 2 and Section 10 together effect the changeover of powers, as it were, from local authorities to the central authority for dealing with these particular diseases.

Section 3 of the Bill deals with compensation. As the law stands at present, compensation is payable in cases of foot-and-mouth disease or of those other disease with which we have to deal, where a direction to have animals slaughtered is given by a veterinary surgeon or an inspector of the Minister. It sometimes happens in the case of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that an inspector gives an order that all the animals on the land are to be slaughtered, but before the order is carried out certain animals may have died. Strictly speaking these animals should not rank for compensation. On the occasion of the last outbreak we did, however, pay compensation in such cases. We did it, if you like, by anex gratia payment without legal authority. That is a matter which is being made right in this Bill under Section 3, so that where an inspector comes along and gives an order for slaughter, compensation will be payable whether the animals die in the meantime or are slaughtered under that order. Another matter arose during the last outbreak, and that is, that in a few cases carcases were discovered in Dublin which were affected with foot-and-mouth disease. They were confiscated, of course, by the veterinary authorities, and again under the present law there was no provision for compensation. That is also dealt with in Section 3. We can in future pay compensation for carcases so confiscated, and, of course, also for carcases that might be in contact with the carcases affected.

Section 4 of the Bill deals with the withholding of compensation. Under the Principal Act, the Minister—the Board of Agriculture it was at that time—has power to withhold compensation where the person is guilty of negligence or of the commission of an offence which might have very serious consequences in the way of spreading the disease. First of all, of course, this Section 4 extends that provision to the cases which are brought in under Section 3, so that the Minister could also withhold compensation for animals that die before the time for slaughter, and could withhold compensation in the case of carcases where there was culpable negligence of any kind on the part of the owner. It also makes rather a big change in the present legislation in this way: the wording of the present legislation, based on the 1894 Act, refers to a person who "did not take precautions in relation to the animals so affected"; we are changing that to the phrase "did not take precautions in relation to the relevant outbreak of disease", because there are cases where a person may have been very particular about his own animals, but may have exposed other people's animals to the disease. For instance, it did happen more than once during the last outbreak that, when a disease was coming near a particular farmer, he shifted his animals during the night to another farm six or seven or ten miles away. He was more than particular about his own animals, but he was not very particular about "the relevant outbreak of disease". He might have created—and in one case at least did create—a whole new centre of disease by shifting his animals in that way. As the law stood, we could not properly withhold compensation in that particular man's case, and we want to make the law right as far as that is concerned.

Section 5 gives power to the inspector to take ground for the burial of animals other than the ground owned by the owner of the animals. We were never actually up against such a case during the last outbreak, but there is no doubt that we would have been up against it if the outbreak had continued to the end of the year. The Orders that were made confined the animals to the land on which they stood at that particular time, and if we had gone on, say, to the end of November, when the eleven months' period was over, the owner of the animals slaughtered in December would have had no right to the land on which those animals were grazing. If the owner of the land resisted, it is questionable whether we had any right to demand that the animals should be buried on that particular land. Therefore we are bringing in a section here to enable the Minister or his inspector, where the land belonging to the owner is not suitable, to take a plot for the purpose of burying any animals slaughtered under the Order.

The next section deals with the seizure of animals at a fair or market. As the law stands, the local authority has power to seize animals at a fair or market. It has power, first of all, to freeze, as it were, that particular market or fair, and power to take over a premises in a village or town in which to isolate those animals. The Minister has no such power as the local authorities have in that regard. This section will give to the Minister the power which local authorities have at the moment to seize those animals and also to take a place in which to quarantine them until it is discovered whether they have the disease and can be dealt with or whether they have not the disease and can be released.

Section 7 deals with penalties. At present a person who commits an offence by way of commission or omission, in not notifying the disease and so on, can be fined by the courts a maximum of £20 or £5 per animal whichever is the greater; that is if he has more than four animals the fine can be more than £20, because it can be up to £5 per animal. If he has committed any offence in the way of shifting carcases, fodder, litter or dung, as is mentioned in the Principal Act, he can be fined an additional £10 per half-ton. That is all being taken out, and there is a maximum penalty of £100 put in, whatever the offence may be. I think that is a much fairer scheme, because it does seem to me that, under the present legislation, a man who shifts a load of straw or dung is very much more severely dealt with than a man who shifts animals, and there should not at any rate be a greater penalty for that than for the shifting of animals. Therefore it will be the same penalty in future.

Section 8 deals with compensation for the owner of ground taken for the disposal of animals by way of burial or for places taken for the detention of animals seized at a fair or market. In this case, as Senators will see, the Minister and the person concerned will try if at all possible to come to some agreement. If they fail to come to an agreement, it goes to arbitration in the ordinary way.

Section 9 deals with finances. It was contemplated in 1894, when this Act was first brought in, that the local authorities would deal with those diseases, and there was a fund there called the General Cattle Diseases Fund. Indeed it is there still. The idea was that all outbreaks of this kind would be dealt with through the Diseases of Animals Fund. That is no longer possible; at least it is no longer thought desirable. Now those outbreaks like foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever, which are the two we have to deal with principally—there are also the other diseases I mentioned, if they should recur, that is cattle plague and pleuro-pneumonia-are dealt with by the central authority, and all expenses, compensation and so on, are paid out of the Exchequer. In return for that, it is only fair that any fines or appropriations should come into the Exchequer and not into the General Cattle Diseases Fund. That is provided for in Section 9. Section 10 deals with the repeals to which I have already referred.

I should like to say one thing further—I mentioned it in the Dáil when speaking there—and that is, that I sympathise with Senators who have to deal with a Bill of this kind, because I know that when I was not in the Government I found that the study and understanding of a Bill of this kind took a good deal of research. It meant looking up the Principal Acts, amending Acts and so on to discover what exactly each clause in a Bill like this meant. I had thought, when bringing in this Bill, of codifying, as it were, the whole lot and bringing in one Bill to deal with the whole matter of diseases of animals. But then I came to the conclusion that it is almost certain that we will have to have more legislation before very long. The committee that is dealing with post-war agriculture has presented a report on veterinary services and on diseases of animals in general and I think it is more than likely that in the implementing of whatever part of that report may be thought advisable by the Government further amendments will be necessary and, if the Bill becomes necessary, and if I am there to introduce it, I do hope it will be possible at that stage to bring in, as it were, a codification of all the Acts dealing with diseases of animals. For the present, therefore, we must only get through as best we can with this amending Bill.

I approve the Bill as far as it goes but I am surprised that in this Bill, which is to amend the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, the question of compensation for animals affected with tuberculosis is not brought in. It is difficult to understand why cattle slaughtered by Order of the Government are paid full compensation while cattle slaughtered by order of the local authority get only partial compensation. Any animal suspected of being affected with tuberculosis is supposed to be reported to the Gárda. On receipt of notification, the Gárda send a report to the local authority and the local authority send a vet to inspect the animal and if after examination he finds it suffering from tuberculosis, he orders it to be slaughtered. If after slaughter the animal is found to be affected, the compensation that is paid is only one-quarter of the value. I have been told by a vet with whom I discussed the matter that the Department of Agriculture will not allow the full value of any ordinary beast that is affected with tuberculosis to be reckoned at more than £6 and the owner will get only 30/- for a cow that is slaughtered. If after slaughter it is found not to be affected, he will get the full value plus, I think, a quarter.

I think the best way to illustrate the point I wish to make is to give an example of what happened recently, to my own knowledge. A farmer living in the district where I reside had a cow which showed visible signs of tuberculosis. He notified the Gárda. The vet came and inspected the cow. The cow was slaughtered and the man got from the local authority 30/- compensation. I understand the cow and was giving about three gallons of milk per day. On reporting that cow to the local authority and having it slaughtered the farmer received compensation to the value of one week's milk of that cow. Farmers will not be so very anxious to report cattle which are visibly affected with tuberculosis— although they are supposed to do it— unless reasonable compensation is paid when the animals are ordered to be slaughtered.

I do not wish to delay the House and I am afraid I might be ruled out of order but I want to say that I intend to put in an amendment to the Bill on Committee Stage. I should, however, very much prefer the Minister to look into the matter and draft the amendment with the assistance of his experts. They know better than I what would be suitable. I cannot follow all the legislation that this Bill is supposed to amend and if the Minister will look into it he will save me a considerable amount of trouble.

My reactions to this Bill when I first saw it, and the reactions of the veterinary profession generally were that it was simply patching old clothes. We have ample material for a new suit and we have, I think, the money to pay for it and sufficient coupons. We can see that the Bill is only a post-mortem on the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and that all the amendments are the practical result of the experiences gained during that outbreak. I fear that there has been too much of that mentality in the framing of this amending legislation. It takes a considerable time to understand the meaning of the sections in this Bill, especially, I should say, Section 2. An eminent lawyer who is a member of this House told me that he found it very difficult to understand the meaning of it because certain sections of the 1894 Act are repealed by Section 10 and reinserted in Section 2. It is very difficult to follow that procedure. I think the explanation is that what is removed in Sections 5, 6, 8, 9 and 12 of the Principal Act, by Section 10 of this Bill, remain and are incorporated in Section 2 of this Bill, but they are incorporated only to the extent that this Bill gives the Minister power to make Orders dealing with the particular diseases.

As originally introduced, it was found that the Bill contained considerable defects. I should like at this stage to congratulate the Minister and the officials of his Department for the way in which they met the representations made by the Veterinary Medical Association. We suggested several amendments which were duly incorporated. Senators may like to know the reason for the amendments. One of the principal reasons, as the Minister explained in introducing the amendments, was that local authority officials were utilised in the last outbreak in combating the disease. Actually, we were not officials of the Minister; we were not inspectors of the local authority. We did things in that outbreak which we realised at the time we had practically no legal authority to do. We had to use, you might call it, coercion. To a greater extent it was a system of cajoling people to do what we thought was the right thing and which every reasonable person would think was the right thing to try to combat the scourge that afflicted the city and country during that outbreak. As far as Dublin and district were concerned, the outbreak was discovered in the municipal abattoir by a corporation veterinary inspector. The diagnosis was made there. There was no power in the Minister to pay compensation for the carcases of the animals slaughtered in the corporation abattoir.

That has been rectified in the present Bill, because as the law stood it would mean that for animals which were quite innocently brought to the abattoir, and diagnosed as having the disease, the owner was not entitled to compensation. Naturally he should get compensation by way of anex gratia grant by the Minister for Finance, on the representation, I understand, of the Department and the Minister for Agriculture. The position is being rectified now. An alteration has also been made in the Bill, changing “an inspector of the Minister” to “veterinary inspector.” That means that if we are called upon—and, please God, we will not be called for that purpose—the officials of a local authority will be authorised legally to take part in the offensive against any further outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease.

These amendments were inserted in the Dáil and, on behalf of the profession, I desire to thank the Minister for incorporating them in the Bill. Everybody will appreciate that they are a benefit. I may say now what I said several times outside, that but for the wholehearted co-operation of the municipal staff during the last outbreak, despite all the efforts of the staff of the central authority and officials of the Department, we would not have succeeded in eliminating the disease until all other animals capable of being infected would have got it. That did not happen. The disease was eradicated from Dublin, where the difficulties were 50 times greater than they would be in other parts of the country, through the contact with human subjects. The amendments that have been inserted are very satisfactory, and if ever such an affliction should befall this country again we will be better equipped to attack it.

The section also provides that Orders can be framed for dealing with disease. I should like to express the hope that when Orders are being drafted, there should be the same co-operation with representatives of the veterinary profession. I feel that the Department, as instanced by the framing of this Bill originally, if it did not take the point of view of people outside its own doors would make many mistakes. I mention that for this reason, that the amendments to the Bill were accepted after consultation with veterinary inspectors and members of the veterinary profession outside the Department of Agriculture. In expressing the hope that when framing Orders consultation will again take place I do so because I am very interested in one matter which necessarily will have to be dealt with by Orders.

One great difficulty during the last outbreak concerned the supervision and control of the human subject, generally people who had come into contact with outbreaks of the disease. Senators will appreciate that that was ten times more difficult in the city than in rural areas, because people innocently came into contact with the disease, as well as owners and attendants, through no fault of their own. It would take too long to detail the instances with which we had to deal in connection with people who innocently came into contact with the disease, in order to try to get them and their clothes disinfected. We succeeded in doing so but, having no legal authority, we ran great risks. People were anxious to co-operate and submitted themselves and their clothing for disinfection and fumigation. We spent days and nights at that work. We had to go to their homes to get workmen who had gone from their employment removed to the disinfecting department of the corporation. The great advantage we had in the city was that there was a disinfecting department to which people's clothing could be taken while they were having a bath. In one instance a lady's fur coat, which would cost £60 or £70 had to be disinfected by fumigation. If that coat had been destroyed in the process I do not know what would happen as we were practically acting without any legal authority. A great deal of cajolery had to be tried to get the disease eradicated. I repeat that that helped the Department to get rid of the disease within the city, and without that help the Department of Agriculture would never have succeeded in their efforts. It is, therefore, all to the good that alterations should have been made in the Bill, empowering the Minister to utilise the services of inspectors other than Departmental inspectors.

Turning to the sections of the Bill, Section 3 deals with diseases for which the Act of 1894 was enacted. There is now no such thing as rinderpest in Europe. I do not think we will ever hear of that disease in Ireland again, because veterinary science is so advanced throughout the world that even in Africa rinderpest is fairly well controlled. In our insular position there is no likelihood that we will hear of it again. Regarding sub-section (2), relative to pleuro-pneumonia, I am not sure if there is any such disease in Europe. Thus in Sections 1 and 2 we are dealing practically with two non-existent diseases as far as Europe is concerned. Sub-section (3) deals with foot-and-mouth disease. There I come to a point that I made previously, that the whole atmosphere of the Bill is a foot-and-mouth disease atmosphere. The same phraseology is used to cover each of these sub-sections dealing with rinderpest, pleuro-pneumonia, foot-and-mouth disease and swine fever.

Coming to Section 3 (3), the original Act is amplified to deal with animals that have been directed to be slaughtered and those that died before slaughter took place. In cases of foot-and-mouth disease I think that should never occur. I should like to know if it actually occurred during the last outbreak. Although a fever in the adult animal, foot-and-mouth disease is never so acute that the animal dies suddenly, and if an animal is valued and ordered to be slaughtered, it should not die before slaughter takes place. Otherwise, this would be an admission of delay. There was criticism of the Department on the last occasion because the period between valuation and slaughter was too great; in other words, that there was great delay. The introduction of this clause would indicate that that delay was admitted and that the Government seek to compensate the farmer whose animal is ordered to be slaughtered and dies before slaughter takes place.

I do not think that is likely to arise in many cases and I do not think it occurred on the last occasion, but animals did die of the disease which are not covered by the amendment, that is, young calves, which were found dead after drinking milk infected with the virus of foot-and-mouth disease. Such cases did occur, when farmers, quite innocently and not knowing anything about the infection, because it came in milk from the creameries where the milk from infected cows was mixed indiscriminately with milk from other suppliers, fed that milk to calves. These calves became infected, with the result that the following morning they were dead. These are the only cases in which foot-and-mouth disease would be quickly fatal, and these cases, so far as I can see, are not covered by the amendments, although representations were made to have them covered. I still think they could properly be included.

I know that the State or other authority cannot accept, or does not, like to accept, responsibility for valuing an animal already dead from disease, but we have come to the stage, and rightly so, of course, of compensating a man whose animal is slaughtered in an abattoir and found to be infected with the disease. I think it would not involve so many cases—let us hope it will not have to cover any cases—but if we do have an outbreak and such cases arise, it is quite right that a farmer, whose calves are found dead and for which outbreak he cannot be held in any way responsible, should be compensated. It would not involve any large expenditure because a calf to-day is unfortunately of very little value. A pedigree animal might have an enhanced value, but whether it be the calf of to-day's low value or a valuable calf, it is only proper that in relation to attempts to eradicate such a devastating disease as foot-and-mouth disease, the valuation would be allowed. It would involve very little increased expenditure and would make the farming community generally more satisfied. The valuation of animals slaughtered under foot-and-mouth disease Orders or under these measures is the full valuation before the animal became infected so nobody can advance any criticism on that score. There is practically no deduction from the value of the animal before it became infected.

We come then to sub-section (4) which deals with swine fever. The same phraseology is used in each of the four sub-sections, and, in the case of swine fever, the same insertions are made. In the case of swine fever, however, it is quite possible that adult animals would die from the disease without the owner knowing the cause. The suspicion of swine fever would exist and he would report the matter, but, from the time of examination and valuation, it is possible that other animals would die. With swine fever, an animal can die between the time of valuation and the time set for slaughter much more quickly than in the case of foot-and-mouth disease, unless there was some great delay in the latter case, but there is a difference in the valuations applied.

In the case of an animal affected with swine fever, only half the valuation is allowed, while in the case of foot-and-mouth disease, the full value before the animal became infected is allowed. I hope we will continue to have no swine fever in this country. The amazing feature of it is that since the importation of foreign bacon into this country was prohibited, we have had no swine fever. Dublin City was a hot-bed of that disease and special Orders to deal with it had to be made. There is no such thing now as swine fever here. It shows what extraordinary things these virus diseases are.

Bacon was imported into the country containing the virus of swine fever and the question arises as to how it got to the pigs. It was cooked, or semi-cooked, and went on the tables of restaurants, hotels or our homes. It went from there to the swill tub, which is collected from hotels and restaurants by pig feeders and fed to pigs, so that the virus of swine fever, which lived in the bacon coming in, and lived through the cooking, was carried to the pig which consumed the swill from the hotels and restaurants and so the animal became infected, but since the introduction of the prohibition on foreign bacon we have had no swine fever.

The same, unfortunately, does not apply to foot-and-mouth disease, which can be transferred very easily. One of the principal means by which the virus was spread was by contact with humans who carried it on their clothes and boots. The valuation in the case of swine fever, though only half the value of the animal before it became infected, does not really concern us so much and no alterations have been made in this respect. Perhaps the Minister forestalled any criticism in this connection when he said he hoped to have a comprehensive review of the Diseases of Animals Acts. The Act of 1894 is one, I think, of 79 sections and five schedules, so that the amendments to a few sections made here make a very small contribution to the amendments actually required.

Section 4 deals with the question of withholding compensation. I have nothing to say on that. If a person is guilty of neglect so far as animals are concerned or of any offence relative to the outbreak as a whole, I think it is reasonable to give power to the authorities to retain the compensation to be granted. The question of the use of ground other than that on which the animal was at the time, of more suitable ground elsewhere, is also reasonable. As the Minister explained, it has not occurred up to this, but it is very necessary as a safeguard in view of any further outbreak.

In connection with Section 6 I have a point to make which I should like the Minister to note. It only occurred to me on reading over this Bill very carefully since the amendments were inserted. The first part of Section 6 (1) states:—

"Whenever any diseased animal is found by a veterinary inspector in a market, fair, sale yard, or other public place...".

In his explanation of that sub-section the Minister referred to the use of the word "suspected". I think it would be a far better safeguard if it read "diseased or suspected of disease" Again we are dealing with the foot-and-mouth disease mentality. I would put it to Senator Counihan that it has occurred on many occasions that a municipal veterinary inspector in the market found an animal which had symptoms of foot-and-mouth disease. That animal may be the only animal the owner had in the market and there may be no information as to what its previous contacts were. Actually, the diagnosis of foot-and-mouth disease is made when a large number of animals become infected quickly. You will, of course, come across an isolated case of an animal with a lesion having the semblance of foot-and-mouth disease but it may not be foot-and-mouth disease on that account. It may be a type of stomatitis which would mean inflammation of the tongue and mouth. If a veterinary inspector finds an animal or a few animals showing symptoms of a disease that may be foot-and-mouth disease, what happens is that the local authority's inspector contacts the central authority. The central authority is quite convenient to the City of Dublin and the Department's inspectors come on the scene. They have the onus then of declaring whether it is or is not foot-and-mouth disease. I think that if the word "suspected" were put in it would facilitate the local authority's inspector and it would certainly be a help to the central authority's inspector because what would happen in the interval is this. With the facilities available in the Dublin market the whole traffic in animals could be held up until such time as the examination by the Department's inspectors took place without having any scare created. There would be no publication or scare until the investigations were made and the diagnosis confirmed or otherwise. It would get over the difficulty of definitely saying that the animal was diseased.

This section applies to every other disease that is scheduled as well as foot-and-mouth disease, but foot-and-mouth disease is the one which is in all our minds at present in view of the outbreak we had and the fact that another outbreak is an every-day possibility when you have such numerous outbreaks on the other side of the Channel. I think that the outbreaks on the other side of the Channel are caused by the meat of animals which have been affected with foot-and-mouth disease being distributed throughout the country and fed mainly to pigs, because a lot of these outbreaks are amongst pigs. It is probably through contamination of the food supply of pigs that these outbreaks have taken place. However, we are not out of danger, although the sea is between us. There is still great danger of a recurrence of foot-and-mouth disease in this country.

Section 7 deals with penalties and here again we are obsessed with the foot-and-mouth disease mentality. The original Act covers sheep scab amongst other diseases, and from year to year many other diseases have been added to the diseases scheduled under the Act of 1894, so that actually this penalty of £100 would be applicable to offences against any of these Orders. That would look as if the Legislature attached great importance to this question of sheep scab. I regard the question of sheep scab as being very important, because I believe it is one of the disease we should have eliminated long ago out of this country. Unfortunately, we have not succeeded in doing that. A penalty of £100 for failure on the part of an owner to report an outbreak of sheep scab seems enormously high in view of the fact that this year the Dublin Corporation prosecuted a person for having 75 sheep, which meant every animal in his place, affected with sheep scab and he was only fined 1/- per head, or 75/- in all. I think it is worth mentioning this in view of the fact that district justices do not all view the Orders and Acts of the Legislature with the same seriousness. In this case the fine was 75/- for 75 animals, or every animal in the man's place, whereas in another case brought before the District Court in the city a man who had, I think, five sheep in the market affected with sheep scab was fined £15 or, at the rate of £3 per head, so that there is often injustice done to owners of sheep owing to their cases being brought before different district justices.

Now that we are increasing the possible maximum penalty to £100, there may be greater discrepancies in the sentences or in the fines imposed, and if a district justice looks on a case very seriously he could easily fine a person £50 for an outbreak of sheep scab or one of the other diseases, such as swine fever. Another district justice might fine a man perhaps 10/- a head. A person guilty of an offence under the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Order might merit a fine up to £100, but the fact is that there are other diseases of lesser importance included in the same Acts and, if that penalty would apply to them all, we may have comparative injustice done to different defendants in the cases brought to court.

I think the compensation is covered fairly satisfactorily in Section 8. The Bill has been amended in the Dáil, so that if there is any disagreement between the Ministerial side and the owners, there is a system of arbitration. I think that has been satisfactorily dealt with in the other House.

One thing that strikes me, so far as Section 9 is concerned, is that we have this antiquated system of the General Cattle Diseases Fund. There is also the Pleuro-pneumonia Fund, which exists in the Act of 1894. For that reason I think the Minister should be preparing the way to have a general revision of the Diseases of Animals Acts. In the Act of 1894, in so far as it applies to Ireland, there is a clause that says that there is no necessity for a veterinary inspector to be appointed at all. That might have been reasonable enough at the time, because there were very few members of the veterinary profession in this country and it was then possible that people who were not veterinary surgeons could deal with outbreaks of these diseases.

That Act is antiquated in its general application to this country. Section 65, dealing with fines recoverable under the Act, sets out that they shall be applied in so far as a part thereof, not exceeding one-third, may be awarded to the informer and the rest to the Crown, to be applied in aid of the general account of the General Cattle Diseases Fund. The Crown was then in existence in this country, but the extraordinary thing is that this clause was specially framed to deal with the Act as it applied to Ireland. In so far as it applied to England or Scotland, I could not see any trace of the provision dealing with the informer. It is about time, in legislation dealing with technical diseases of animals, or any other diseases, that we should get rid of the phraseology concerning informers. I have no objection to the phraseology still retaining the Crown in all these Acts that we had to adopt on the establishment of the Irish State. The time has arrived for a new suit of clothes instead of all this patchwork legislation.

I should like to deal with the point raised by Senator Counihan in connection with the Tuberculosis Order. Certain kinds of bovine tuberculosis are notifiable under the Diseases of Animals Acts. The valuation as arranged under the Order is the market value of the animal.

The valuation, yes, but what about the compensation?

Mr. O'Donovan

The valuation will be the actual market value of the animal. Only this week we slaughtered an animal which was valued over £30. There is a clause in the Tuberculosis Order which prevents the local authority from slaughtering an animal the valuation of which is over £30. That slaughter is prevented until the consent of the Department of Agriculture is obtained. We had to get the consent of the Department of Agriculture because the animal was valued at over £30. That tears the bottom out of Senator Counihan's argument about valuing a cow for 30/-. If the cow was valued at 30/- that must be all she was worth.

She was valued at £6 and only a quarter of the valuation is allowed to be paid—I am definite on that.

Mr. O'Donovan

Senator Counihan said a veterinary inspector could not value the animal for more than £6 That is not so. He can value the animal, but the valuation must be an agreed valuation. There is a provision dealing with disputes about valuation. If Senator Counihan owns an animal and I have to value it, we have to agree on the valuation and we can agree on a valuation up to £30. If we go over that amount we have to get the consent of the Department. If we disagree on the market value of the animal, an independent valuer may be brought in. All that is provided for, so that the Senator seems to be absolutely misinformed so far as the Tuberculosis Order is concerned.

Now, as regards compensation for the animal, it is paid on thepost mortem findings. It is not just one quarter of the valuation; it is a quarter of the valuation if the animal is found to be infected and advanced, and it is threequarters if the animal, found to be infected, is not advanced. It does not lie with the inspector to tell the person concerned whether the disease is advanced or not. The owner has the right to have his own veterinary surgeon. Naturally, the owner will not be in a position to estimate whether the disease was advanced or not, but he can have his own veterinary surgeon present at the slaughter. He gets full compensation and £1 over if the veterinary surgeon who orders the slaughter is wrong. It is a pretty fair system generally.

The Tuberculosis Order in so far as dealing with the elimination of tuberculosis from cattle is concerned, is absolutely useless. It is a public health Order, but it will never do anything to reduce the incidence of tuberculosis in cattle. It is framed simply to prevent the transference of tuberculosis from the bovine to the human subject. I do not want to go any further into that.

Some of the clauses dealing with whether the disease is advanced or not advanced are sometimes unfair to the owner. Where there are lesions on the pleura and peritoneum, that will make the infected animal advanced, whereas there are other cases where there may be far more tuberculosis in the carcase and it will be classified as not advanced. There are difficulties in that way in so far as interpreting the effect of the Order goes. There is hard luck in some cases.

There is one defect in our present Tuberculosis Order. It was copied word for word from the English Order —we copied it, mistakes and all. I only hope we are departing from the line followed by the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Orders in England. We have taken our own line from our own experience. Since this Bill was introduced, I have seen in a veterinary paper that in England they are up against a problem which we are actually dealing with in this Bill—the question of the carcase of an animal either in contact with foot-and-mouth disease or infected by an infected animal. In mentioning that point, I express the hope that we have reached the stage where we can do things on our own without copying what is being done across the water, whilst always drawing from the experience they have obtained.

I referred to the Tuberculosis Order defect, simply because we copied the phrase, mistakes and all, and it is there in that Order still. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the points raised by Senator Counihan regarding valuation. If an animal has to be valued, it must be at the market value and it is not very easy to say what the market value would be of a cow bought in the market last week, brought to the dairymen's premises and then, after three weeks, found to be affected with tuberculosis of the udder. One must realise that that animal, brought back to the market again, will have lost its bloom and will not be a fresh cow. There is difficulty in agreeing on this, but the Order provides for agreement between the owner and the inspector. Therefore, the Senator, in his remarks about the Tuberculosis Order, was quite misinformed.

This is really the first Bill dealing with animals' diseases of this nature that has come before the Seanad in my time and I hope that I am being of some assistance to the House and to the Minister in raising these points for discussion. The profession has brought several points to the Minister's notice already. Generally, the Bill meets all requirements, in the narrow scope of the amendments which it covers. We are urgently in need of a codification of all these diseases of animals.

I hope the Minister will seriously consider the recommendations of the Post-War Agriculture Committee and I would also request him to publish their Third Interim Report as quickly as possible. That report is now in the hands of the Department of Agriculture for a considerable time. We have asked for it but, naturally, the Minister has replied that it must be placed before members of the Oireachtas before anybody outside the Department may see it.

The veterinary profession can be of the greatest assistance to the farming community in the post-war period and, to this end, they have already given evidence before the Post-War Agriculture Committee, though on what lines the committee has reported on that evidence we will not know until the Third Interim Report is published. The farmer certainly requires the assistance of the veterinary profession in his everyday life and we feel that, by a reorganised system of services, the profession will be able to save the farming community some of the immense losses which they have to bear on account of preventable as well as epizootic diseases. The loss through preventable disease has been estimated at something like £7,000,000 annually, which is a very big sum; and if even half of that loss could be saved, it would mean a lot in the collective revenue of farmers for the year.

After the very long speech from Senator O'Donovan, which was very interesting in parts, I do not propose to hold the House long on this Bill. I realise that the Minister is anxious to get the measure through, and it is the kind of measure on which there can be co-operation. While we hope this measure will not have to be called into use, it is an instrument which one must have ready.

I hope the Minister will take in the points made by Senator O'Donovan and try to incorporate them in the Bill. It seems to me important that every possible case of compensation should be covered by the Bill. The Senator makes a point with regard to a young calf, fed on milk, that has been contaminated, and if a death from that cause is not covered, it seems important that it should be. In the effort to eradicate disease, no one should feel aggrieved by having sustained losses he may not be compensated for, while others have received compensation. I would like to have heard Senator O'Donovan tell us whether there is any problem with regard to diagnosis in the case of an animal like that, but I would not like to bring him to his feet again.

The Minister has referred to the necessity for codification of the law regarding these diseases generally. One cannot read this Bill without realising the difficulties of the layman in trying to discover exactly what the law is. In fact, I put it to the House that even lawyers will have to do a great deal of research in order to find out exactly what this Bill purports to do. I hope that, at a very early date, the Minister will codify all the law dealing with this problem, of veterinary disease.

The Minister has indicated that he has the recommendations of the Post-War Agriculture Committee on the problem of veterinary diseases in general, and Senator O'Donovan has pressed that he ought to publish their report. I urge him not alone to publish the third report, but to set about implementing it. I think its implementation is much more important, indeed. It is required very badly and the least possible time should be lost in putting it into operation. Perhaps the Minister would tell us the speed at which he is travelling towards that end, as we are concerned about the future of our live stock. These diseases are our greatest difficulty and greatest handicap to-day and are most depressing in the development of our live stock. They are problems which should be tackled through a better-planned scheme than there is operating at the moment. The Minister, perhaps, may have something more to say on that point.

There is one other point. Senator O'Donovan, in passing, referred to foot-and-mouth disease across the water. Hardly a week passes that one does not see announcements of two and perhaps more outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in England. We here must feel rather perturbed about these continuous outbreaks. We are perturbed at all times to know exactly what precautions are being taken to safeguard us from this invasion, the most insidious that we could possibly have to fight. We noticed recently that more vigorous steps have been taken, I presume, by the public health authorities in conjunction with the Minister's Department, to safeguard this country against the possibility of people from the other side who may have had contact with the disease coming in here unless they are thoroughly disinfected. One hears rather disquieting suggestions on this head. I have no knowledge of what the position is, but I have been told on more than one occasion that the disinfection carried out is a rather cursory performance. The Minister, I think, ought to tell us what exactly the situation is in that regard.

The precautions we take, no matter how vigorous, could not be too thorough in order to safeguard ourselves from the possibility of further outbreaks of this disease in the country. Quite clearly, whatever Senator O'Donovan may know of the possibilities of danger in regard to the importation of meat from the Continent of America to Britain months or years ago, we, at all events, know that there is constant contact with the Continent of Europe without the possibility of disinfection of people in course of transport and so on. In view of that, one can visualise the difficulties of the British people in trying to control a situation of that sort. We here cannot afford to be slipshod. We can have no sympathy with people crossing over here who want to scamp the operation of decontamination. I hope the Minister will be able to give some reassurance to the House on these points.

The subject before the House is not one that I, personally, am acquainted with. I have listened to the very learned explanation given by Senator O'Donovan. Arising out of what he said one or two points have occurred to me which it may be useful to put before the House. I should like to know how it is that there can be such a great variation in the valuation of animals. Senator O'Donovan said that in one case an animal was valued at £30. Senator Counihan, in another case, gave a valuation of £6. There is very great difference between these two valuations, and it is difficult for the ordinary layman to understand how it occurs. It may be that the valuation is influenced by the parts of the body that may be used. I am not going to enter into that. Perhaps Senator O'Donovan, at a later stage, will tell the House if the valuation depends on the nature of the disease. I take it that Senator Counihan's idea is that the disease should be dealt with at an early stage: that farmers and stockholders should be encouraged to report these cases early so that preventive measures might be taken. Perhaps if that idea were acted on, there would not be the great variation in value that we have been told about, ranging from £30 to £6.

Senator O'Donovan has welcomed this Bill on behalf of the veterinary profession. I welcome it on behalf of the legal profession, because legislation by reference gives more and more work to lawyers and involves more people who require legislation to be interpreted for them. It would be impossible to interpret this Bill without having a well-equipped law library containing not only the necessary statutes but also the necessary books relating to the interpretation of statutes. As a matter of interest, I went through my statutes, and I found, first of all, that the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, was a consolidating Act itself. It was an Act passed to consolidate the Contagious Diseases of Animals Acts from 1878 to 1893. Only a year elapsed before the British Legislature thought it necessary to consolidate those Contagious Diseases of Animals Acts. Now 50 years have elapsed since the principal Act referred to in this Bill—the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894—was enacted, and since then it has been amended at least ten times. It was first amended in the year 1896— Sections 24 and 26 of it. It was again amended in 1903 for the purpose of the compulsory adoption of remedies for sheep scab when further Orders were made under it. It was next amended in the year 1909. That was what I might call a pleasant surprise for the members of Senator O'Donovan's profession, because under that amending Act a veterinary surgeon, or veterinary practitioner, was entitled to a fee not exceeding 2/6 for every notification of a diseased animal.

In 1911, for the first time, poultry were brought within the ambit of the Diseases of Animals Acts. The 1911 Act was passed to enable Orders to be made under the Diseases of Animals Acts for protecting live poultry from unnecessary suffering and for other purposes connected therewith. There was a further amending Act in 1914, in connection with the general cattle diseases fund. The next Act which bears on this was the Agricultural Act of 1931 which transferred the administration of these Acts from the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland to the Minister for Agriculture. Then there was the Diseases of Animals Act, 1932, which amended Section 71 of the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, dealing with the amount to be levied for the purposes of the said section. The next Act was the Poultry Diseases Act, 1934, which was an Act to extend the Diseases of Animals Acts to poultry and to poultry eggs, and to make provision for other matters connected therewith. The next was the Diseases of Animals Act, 1935, which was an Act passed to amend the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, in relation to the slaughter of animals affected with disease, and the last Act passed before this Bill was introduced was the Diseases of Animals Act, 1938. That was an Act to amend the Diseases of Animals Acts, and the Poultry Diseases Act of 1934, by the insertion of the words "ducks and geese" in the definition of poultry since these words had been omitted from the Act of 1934. I now come to this Bill. It would be impossible for a country solicitor, a local authority or the rural community to appreciate their responsibilities and liabilities under the Bill which is now being enacted without full and proper advice as to the effects of previous legislation. It may be said that this Bill was introduced as the aftermath of the foot-and-mouth disease. Section 6, which was referred to by Senator O'Donovan, states:—

"Whenever any diseased animal is found by a veterinary inspector in a market, fair, sale yard, or other public place, it shall be lawful for the inspector to cause to be seized any animal (whether it is or is not diseased or suspected of being diseased) in such market, fair, sale yard, or other place and to cause such animal to be placed and kept in isolation...."

What is the meaning of the word "diseased" there? A veterinary surgeon who is not a lawyer and who may not know the meaning of the word "diseased," within the meaning of the Act, may seize an animal which is not diseased within the meaning of the Act. Under Section 59 of the Act of 1894, "diseased" means "affected with disease," and the word "disease" means "cattle plague (that is to say, rinderpest or the disease commonly called cattle plague) contagious pleuro-pneumonia of cattle (in this Act called pleuro-pneumonia), foot-and-mouth disease, sheep pox, sheep scab, swine fever (that is to say, the disease known as typhoid fever of swine, soldier purples, red disease, hog cholera or swine plague)." This Bill contains no definition of the word "disease" and, therefore, a veterinary surgeon, while presumably knowing the law, may not know its application and may use in a wrong case what I might describe as the rather arbitrary powers given by the Bill. Therefore, I say the necessity for qualification and definition was never more important than it is to-day. Every amending Act is another square peg in a round hole, because, as Senator O'Donovan justly remarked, the fine of £100 introduced by this Bill may apply to sheep scab and to some alleged suffering of live poultry, as well as to offences in respect of foot-and-mouth disease. In a consolidating Act, every type of diseases of animals would be put in its proper perspective.

While the Minister said that this was an amending Bill, he did not say, so far as I remember, why it was an amending Bill. We must only infer that it is so as a result of the experience of the Minister and his Department during the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Under Section 3 (3), the Minister will pay compensation for animals which were directed to be slaughtered but died before slaughter. He told us that such payments were made during the comparatively recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. This Bill is not retrospective, and I wonder what the Comptroller and Auditor-General had to say as regards those payments. I suppose they have already been explained to him. If such payments were made, there is no reason why the Minister should not face the situation and introduce some section or subsection to validate those payments. Section 9 of the Bill provides that the Minister

"may pay from the General Cattle Diseases Fund into or for the benefit of the Exchequer at such time and in such manner as the Minister for Finance may direct any sum paid into that fund as a result of a prosecution under the Principal Act for an offence to which this section applies."

This section applies to an offence related to foot-and-mouth disease which was committed

"after the 20th day of January, 1941, and before the passing of this Act."

The Minister gave no explanation as to why he has inserted the 20th January, 1941, in this Bill. As I am not in the cattle trade, and am not a veterinary surgeon, I cannot say what significance the date, 20th January, 1941, has.

Mr. O'Donovan

It has great significance.

I am sure the Minister will tell us that. I think that Section 6 places unlimited powers in the hands of veterinary inspectors. A veterinary inspector may go into the Dublin Cattle Market and, if he finds a diseased animal, within the meaning of the Act of 1894, he has power to put all the animals in the market into isolation. The Minister has not said how such animal is to live while in isolation. Who is to feed him or how long is he to be kept there? The Bill provides that the isolated animal may be removed as soon as circumstances permit, but circumstances may require the animal to be detained in isolation for a considerable time, while the veterinary inspector may have been quite wrong and the alarm may have been a false one. The section, as it stands, is more satisfactory from the point of view of the public than the amendment suggested by Senator O'Donovan. Under that amendment, a veterinary inspector, if he suspected disease in one animal, would have power to isolate the whole cattle market. That might be very good as regards the prevention of disease but the owners of the other cattle in the market should have some rights. We are all living in the midst of suspected disease, and animals move and have their being amongst other animals suspected of disease. Therefore, I say that Section 6 should be so drafted as to ensure that its application will arise only in certain, definite cases. I should like the Minister to say what compensation, if any, will be given to the owner of cattle which have been isolated. It might happen that a farmer or cattle dealer would have sold his cattle in the Dublin market for export and the isolation of those cattle might result in their missing the boat and missing the market on the other side. The isolation of those cattle may mean a substantial loss to the owner of the cattle. I say, therefore, that this is a section of the Bill which requires very careful consideration.

Now as far as the Bill itself, as a whole, is concerned, I do not find very much difficulty with it from the legal point of view, because I have considered all the other Acts in connection with it, but I can only repeat that 50 years have elapsed since the Diseases of Animals Act of 1894 and that, as Senator O'Donovan has pointed out, that was a rather archaic Act; that also it was an Act primarily concerned with England, Scotland and Wales, and that Ireland only came in through the back door, so to speak. With regard to the provisions relating to Ireland, under that Act, I think that there are at least about 14 sections, which would require a lawyer to interpret, having regard to the remaining sections of the Act. In particular, Section 65 of that Act says that:—

"for the purposes of the execution of the Act in Ireland the powers by the Act conferred on the Board of Agriculture shall be vested in the Lord Lieutenant acting by the advice of the Privy Council."

Now the Irish Free State was set up in 1922, and 22 years have elapsed since then. This an agricultural country, and I say that legislation dealing with agricultural matters should be written in plain language—language which the people in rural districts can understand—because if you bring in a Bill, or pass an Act, enlarging a fine from £20 to £100 for an offence, it can easily be the case that the person concerned may not be aware, in the first instance, that he has committed any offence, since the provision dealing with the matter may be hidden away in some Act which he has never seen or heard of. At the same time, it must be remembered that that does not exempt him from the penalty of the fine. I think, therefore, that in fairness to people who are liable to penalties in such cases, the provisions involving penalties in these Acts should be put down in black and white so that the ordinary person can understand them. I hold that these provisions should be put in plain language and made accessible to every person in the State. Now the various Diseases of Animals Acts, from 1894 to 1938, are not accessible to these people. A person cannot go down to the Government Publications Sales Office and purchase a copy of the Act of 1903, dealing with sheep scab: he will have to write over to the Stationery Office in London to get this Act. Accordingly, I say that our Government has a duty to the people of this country to ensure that not only every Bill introduced by the Government here, once it becomes an Act, should be available to the people of this country but also that our own people should not be required to write abroad in order to procure copies of Acts that are amended, such as the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894.

I have very little further to say. The Minister has told us that the post-war emergency committee has already reported on the matter of veterinary services in connection with diseases of animals. We do not know what their report is, and the Minister says that it will probably involve the introduction of further legislation, under which the recommendations in the report will be implemented, and that a Consolidation Bill will be introduced. Now, the findings of that report may be implemented in five or, perhaps, ten years' time, and some portions of it may never be implemented. Accordingly, I suggest that even now, before this report comes up for consideration, the Minister should, at all events, lay the ground for the immediate introduction of a Consolidation Bill. There are several grounds for the introduction of such a Bill, and there is certainly sufficient ground for its introduction now, for when the report of the commission comes to be dealt with, it will only mean one additional Act to the Consolidation Act. I say, therefore, that, while I know very little about animals or their diseases, I do claim to know something about the various Acts relating to these matters, and this is the reason for my observations on this Bill.

I only wish to rise for a few moments in order to welcome Senator Ryan to the ranks of those of us who, time after time, for many years now, have appealed against legislation by reference. I have been doing so for over 20 years now, and particularly I have objected to legislation by reference where old and somewhat obsolete English Acts of Parliament were concerned. It was quite evident, when our State was being established over 20 years ago, that we should have to take over a large body of what had been British law and incorporate it in our own legislation, but it should have been the definite aim by all Parties here to choose the earliest opportunity of bringing in a Bill which would embody all the matters that were relevant in regard to the particular matter concerned, and which would be complete in itself. After that, no doubt, there would have to be some minor amendments by way of reference, but I think it should definitely be Government policy in every case to choose the first opportunity of bringing in a comprehensive Bill, covering all the relevant sections of previous Acts, dealing with the matter concerned, so as to make the legislation easier of comprehension, if not, perhaps, for the lawyers, at least for the ordinary people in the country. I am not saying that this applies necessarily to this Act only. My view is that it applies to most of the Acts that have been passed during the last 20 years here. In my innocence, I thought that that suggestion might have a stronger appeal to the present Government than to the previous Government, since I thought that they had less excuse than their predecessors, who had held office for ten years; but they have carried out exactly the same policy, and I hope that it is not too late now to ask for a change of policy in that regard. Again I wish to say that I am particularly glad that Senator Ryan has joined the ranks of those of us who have been appealing for so many years for something in that line being done.

I do not want to turn the Diseases of Animals Bill into a debate on the question of Parliamentary draftsmanship, but since the matter has been introduced, and as I am a lawyer, I wish to make a few remarks in that connection. I disagree with Senator Ryan that Bills of this kind are good for the legal profession. They are not. Nothing of this kind that brings the law into disrepute is good for the legal profession, and the fact that no ordinary person, and only a few solicitors and a mere handful of lawyers, can make their way through the jungle of statutes and come out safely on the other side of the jungle, should be proof that anything of this kind is not good for the legal profession. An eminent judge recently pointed out that whereas the ordinary inhabitants of the jungle were able to find their way through the jungle paths, the officials responsible for the overgrowth of the trees and brushwood, afflicting the legislation of the Department concerned, had now got to the stage in which they were losing their own way. There is actually no necessity for this kind of thing. When, at the start of this State, we took over a body of legislation from the British, it was a bad beginning not to have made some effort at consolidation, but since then we have allowed that jungle, if I may call it so, of legislation to reach to an extraordinary growth and a monstrous fruition.

If you wanted to see an example of how not to draft Bills, I could give a selection from those that have been passed in the last few years. I notice that in the Report of the Vocational Commission, the commissioners were kind enough to suggest that the lawyers, in their spare time and without any remuneration, might undertake the offhand job of codifying the whole law of the country. That is an impossibility, but a step can be taken towards it and the first practical step that could be taken would be to endeavour to make each Bill something in the nature of a Consolidation Bill. Steps have been taken in that direction. The new Arterial Drainage Bill is a step in that direction. The Bill which will be shortly coming before us dealing with mental diseases and mental hospitals is another step in that direction. I should like to recommend to the Minister for Agriculture the excellent example which has been set by his Ministerialconfreres in these two Bills. I am aware that I am now perilously near talking entirely off the subject before the House, but seeing that the matter has been introduced, I really could not let the opportunity pass without saying how strongly I agree with Senator Ryan and Senator Douglas on this matter. It is really serious.

I did not hear the whole of Senator Ryan's speech but I am quite sure that if I had, I would agree with it in the main. One reads of the 1894 Act and Orders made thereunder and we know that power is given to local authorities to make Orders. We have, therefore, to search not alone for Orders made by the Department but also for Orders made by the local authorities in order to ascertain what is the law in regard to sheep scab and kindred matters. I think it is a pity that all these Acts and Orders were not codified long ago. I imagine that a codifying Bill could be brought in that would be adequate to deal with any emergency that might arise in future. It could show the powers given local authorities by the Minister —powers about the removal of animals, manure, hay, straw and other articles, and the prescribed penalties for contravention of these Orders.

Senator O'Donovan thinks that a penalty of £100 is too much in cases of prosecution for sheep scab. I do not think any fine could be too much in cases of that kind because sheep scab is a very serious disease. If sheep become affected with scab, it is nearly impossible to put sheep on the same land for a period of three years afterwards. The disease spreads like wildfire all over the country and I, therefore, think that a penalty of £100 is not too much. Of course, that is the maximum penalty and a fine as low as 1/- can be imposed. I would be glad if, even before the Committee Stage of this Bill were reached, something could be done to codify the law on this subject.

I intervene only to break the spate of legal argument by professional lawyers. I can say with Fintan Lalor that I am not a lawyer but I have had the experience of endeavouring in certain circumstances to read Bills much worse than this Bill and of attempting to relate one set of statutes and enactments, rules and regulations, including Emergency Powers Orders, to other legislation and of finding that the maze was one which I was unable to get through. The point I want to make is that all these statutes affect the lives and the pockets of ordinary citizens. They impose penalties for offences created under these statutes. These penalties are imposed by the courts on the plea that it is everybody's duty to know the law. I think we have had the experience in this House that even Ministers do not always know the law as formulated in Bills which they bring before the House. When they are asked what are the implications of these Bills they sometimes find themselves up against a difficulty. That applies even to those of them who are lawyers, not merely to those who are not trained lawyers. I should like to urge on the Minister for Agriculture that he should set his Department to the task of codifying the law relating to the activities of that Department. I do not say that it can be done immediately. It would be a very long job, no doubt, but there should be some assurance from the Minister that he is alive to the need for this work and that he is taking the necessary steps to see that codification is brought about at the first opportunity.

We had an unexpectedly interesting debate on this Bill. We started off on the rather low plane of sheep scab and we ended on the high plane of the theory and foundation of legislation in general—a thing I was not prepared for, I may say. However, it is interesting to hear lawyers disinterestedly talking about law, not from the point of view, as one Senator said, of what they might make out of it, but altruistically talking on behalf of the man in the street, that he might understand the law, which, I think, is a very commendable thing. I should like to assure Senator Duffy that no Minister can possibly, as things stand, give an assured interpretation of a clause in any Bill he may bring in, because that is the function of the courts, and the courts may not agree with the Minister's view. Therefore, the Minister can only say to the best of his ability what is the object of any Bill which is brought before the Seanad. I would not undertake to interpret in this House a clause of any Bill. After hearing some lawyers here express their opinions, I would prefer to confine myself to such things as sheep scab, foot-and-mouth disease and such matters. I should like to say, however, in regard to the consolidation of the laws, that the Government has decided to go ahead with it. There is, as a matter of fact, at least one set of laws from my own Department with the draftsman at the moment. The laws dealing with fisheries will come before Parliament in a consolidated form—I think that is the correct term, not "codification".

That is right.

I think they will be ready early in spring. I hope many others will follow on the same lines. We had considerable difficulty, I might say, in deciding the procedure to be adopted. Various ways were suggested. I think we shall have again to go into the matter of how they will be presented, whether they will be presented in a certified form, simply saying: "This is the law as certified by eminent lawyers." I do not know yet in what way the matter will be dealt with, but at any rate the first set is being prepared. To come back to the discussion on this Bill, Senator Counihan raised the point about compensation. Before he ended he said he was afraid he might be ruled out of order. With all due respect to the Chairman, I think if he had read the 1894 Act he would have ruled him out of order, because tuberculosis is not mentioned in that Act at all, and, this being an amending Bill, Senator Counihan was very lucky to get away with it.

He always does. He speaks about fat cattle and tuberculosis on all occasions.

Another Senator found it hard to understand the difference between the cattle spoken of by Senator Counihan and by Senator O'Donovan, but I think that was simple enough, because cows vary in value; one may fetch £6 and another £30. The value taken is the market value, the amount the cow would fetch on a free sale, that is on the appearance of the cow without a veterinary certificate that she is tubercular. If it is shown that she has advanced tuberculosis on slaughter, only a quarter of that value would be paid; if she is affected, but the disease is not advanced, threequarters of the value would be paid; if she is not affected, that is if the inspector has made a mistake, then the full value is paid, plus £1, I think. The matter does not come up for review here, but this whole question of tuberculosis in cattle will come up at a later stage.

With regard to the post-war agriculture committee's report, that report will be published, I hope, in the near future. It will not, I assure Senator Ryan, take four or five years. I think it will be published in the course of a few months. In fact, it is only the present delays in printing that will hold it up.

I was referring to the implementation of it.

The implementation of it —to whatever extent the Government decides to implement it—I think will follow in very quick time. We can afford to wait for that implementation and for the legislation that will be necessary before we think of consolidation in regard to this particular code of the legislation. Senator O'Donovan mentioned a number of points. I am quite prepared to give an undertaking with regard to his first point, that the veterinary profession should be consulted before we make the necessary Orders under this Bill if it becomes an Act. Senator O'Donovan said that he did not see the necessity for legislating for the payment of compensation for animals that might die before there was time to slaughter them. I think there is such a necessity. As a matter of fact the Senator himself mentioned that calves die very rapidly after drinking infected milk; so do young pigs, I believe. All young animals are inclined to die very quickly from this disease. If an inspector comes along and finds some diseased animals in a place, he may return the same evening or the next morning and find that some calves or young pigs have died. Again, it may happen that a beast which is suffering from the disease is bought at a fair before showing any signs of the disease, and if that beast is put in amongst a herd the herd will inevitably develop the disease, but the beast that brought it in may not be noticeable amongst the rest. Sometimes one beast is not very noticeable to the person who is looking after the cattle, and by the time the other animals become infected that beast may be on the point of death. There are many cases, therefore, where it may be necessary to pay for a beast that has died before there is time to deal with the herd by slaughter. Senator O'Donovan said we should have included other classes. He mentioned this class, calves and so on, that might be infected by milk. Of course they are almost certain to come under some compensation clause or other. Apart from that, we can always pay compensationex gratia, as we did during the last outbreak.

That brings me to a point that was mentioned by Senator Ryan, as to whether we had any observations from the Comptroller and Auditor-General with regard to those payments made during the last outbreak. I think that where anex gratia payment is made by any Department with the approval of the Minister for Finance—of course it cannot be done without his approval —and where the Estimate comes before the Dáil, the Comptroller and Auditor-General does not interfere because he takes it that everything is in order. That procedure was adopted in this particular case. Therefore, everything was perfectly in order. I think it is better that we should leave certain rather unusual cases which may arise in regard to those various diseases to be dealt with by ex gratia payments. We did, for instance, make ex gratia payments during a recent outbreak of anthrax. We brought in an Estimate to the Dáil afterwards, and everything was fixed up in that way. I think it is better to adopt that method.

I now come to another point with regard to funds. There was for many years, back to 1894, a fund called the general cattle diseases fund, and a part of that was called the pleuro-pneumonia fund. The pleuro-pneumonia fund was wound up in 1928. Since then there has been only the fund called the general cattle diseases fund. Out of that certain diseases are financed, that is diseases which are controlled by the local authorities, like sheep scab. The diseases which are controlled by the central authority, like foot-and-mouth disease, are not financed out of the general cattle diseases fund; they are financed from the Exchequer. Senators will see clauses in this Bill appropriating to the Exchequer any fines and so on that may arise in connection with diseases like foot-and-mouth disease. That, I think, is quite fair; if the Exchequer pays out in the case of any particular disease, then if there are any appropriations from that outbreak the Exchequer should have them. The general cattle diseases fund is made up partly from a general rate and partly from a grant from the Exchequer. It is out of that fund that the local authorities finance their schemes in regard to any diseases that may arise. In the case of any diseases which we deal with centrally, we do not take anything out of that fund, nor do we put anything into it either.

Senator O'Donovan made a point about Section 6, and Senator Ryan also spoke a good deal about that section. There was a point made by Senator O'Donovan which I should like to have examined. I do not know whether it is covered by the principal Act in any way; if not, it is possible that some amendment should be brought in. Senator O'Donovan made the point that it refers to a diseased animal, but does not refer to an animal suspected of disease. I think he very properly made the point that an inspector might require the power to say: "I suspect that animal of disease. Therefore I must isolate that animal, and, in fact, all the animals in this particular place." I think Senator Ryan was more or less arguing against that. He thought we were giving the inspectors far too much power.

Whatever the theory may be with regard to respect for the law, the sanctity of the law, the sanctity of the rights of the individual, and so on, I am afraid that in dealing with a disease like foot-and-mouth disease we will have to give the inspectors a great deal of power. They must act quickly if they suspect the existence of the disease. The cause of our big trouble in regard to the disastrous outbreak in 1941 was the fact that there was a certain number of diseased animals at a fair on two occasions. Were it not for those two fairs, that outbreak would not have been 10 per cent. of what it was.

In these particular cases, of course, they were not detected, so that I cannot say the inspectors had not the power, but suppose at a market an inspector were to suspect a beast of being affected with disease, if he could not act on that suspicion I think it might lead to a terrible outbreak because these animals would be scattered over the countryside and some would be railed to the seaports. One does not know where the disease would be spread from that particular market if the inspector had not power to act quickly and decisively and to say that he would not allow any beast to leave that fair but was going to isolate all of them. If an amendment is necessary to Section 6, I think we will have to face the fact that we are going to give the inspector very full powers.

With regard to the penalty, I do not think there is very much in the point made by Senator O'Donovan. If I knew more about the law I could, perhaps, mention many cases where very severe penalties are prescribed. Some of those who transgress may transgress in a very serious way. Others may transgress not in a serious way at all but the same maximum penalty is there and the court decides whether the maximum penalty should be imposed or whether there should be a very small part of the maximum penalty imposed. It is the same in this case. For instance, in connection with some of our regulations under the poultry diseases one could not imagine any judge inflicting a penalty of £100 because the person would not make £100, probably, in many years on the poultry and, therefore, in that case, the penalty will have to be very much smaller. It is a matter for the judge and I think we will have to leave it at that.

When Senator O'Donovan was talking about the publication of the report received from the committee on post-war agriculture, Senator Baxter said that we should not only publish but implement it.

We do not know what it is.

Exactly. The Senator does not know what it is. I have read it and I should say that in all probability the greater part of it will be implemented, because it is, in my opinion, a very good report. Some of it can be implemented in the very near future, and other parts will not be implemented for some time.

Senator Baxter raised a point about people returning from Great Britain, where there is a rather general outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at the moment. The precautions taken here are very strict. Not only the public health authorities but the veterinary authorities are at every port of landing, both by sea and air, and anybody coming in who has had any contact with markets or fairs or farms on the other side, or who is likely to be in contact with animals in any way, is disinfected. I cannot give the exact details, but I am satisfied, because I have been assured that the disinfection is quite effective and there is no reason whatever for saying it is done in a slipshod manner. It is not. It is done very thoroughly and effectively. I may say that that has been the practice always. Whenever there is an outbreak in Great Britain these precautions are taken here. Cattle dealers and people connected with the cattle trade who are going across voluntarily come and have themselves disinfected. Some of them, as a matter of fact, make it a practice to change their clothes before leaving the other side so as to be doubtly sure. They come back in different clothes and still they are disinfected when they arrive. On the other hand, buyers coming from the other side to our markets have a change of clothes when they arrive. I am not saying that it is done in all cases, but in most cases they have a change of clothes in whatever hotel they stay and they change when they arrive. They leave off that suit before they leave and go back in another suit. So that those connected with the cattle trade, both on this side and on the other side, co-operate in every way. They try to have themselves disinfected and to prevent any spread of disease.

As Senator Ryan pointed out, we are going back to 1894. He quoted a very long list of Acts that were passed since that. I notice that the 1894 Act does not repeal all the Acts that were passed before that. In some of the sections it says: "with the exception of clause so and so". So that it was not really a thorough consolidation. I hope that whenever we are dealing with this point we will have better consolidation and have the legislation up to date.

I think Senator Ryan is right when he says that when I was introducing the Bill I did not say why the amendments are necessary. I did not. I assumed that the Seanad would conclude why the amendments were necessary. I did point out what the purpose of the various clauses was, what the present law is, and what these amendments are designed to do. I meant to convey to the Seanad at any rate that in my opinion the changes were for the better and would make things work more smoothly than they have worked up to the moment.

The 20th January, 1941, is an important date as far as diseases of animals are concerned. It is the date of the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 1941 and that date is put in there in order that nobody may escape from the net as far as the fines and so on that were inflicted in connection with the outbreak in 1941 are concerned.

I agree, of course, that legislation should be written in plain language. Senator Ryan advocated that. But it is very hard to get lawyers to use plain language and all we can do is to go on trying. On various occasions I have accepted amendments from members of the Dáil and Seanad and when I referred them to the lawyers, they were astounded that I should say I would agree to them. Of course, they then drafted for me what the Deputy or the Senator meant to say and what the Deputy or Senator put in three or four words the lawyers put into a page or more and said: "That is what he meant." I think, however, that what the landholder or the farmer wants to know is what are the notifiable diseases. If he is going to suffer a penalty for not notifying, it is only fair that he should know what are the notifiable diseases. We do a good deal of advertising and publicising and we try to bring the matter to the notice of farmers as far as we possibly can. When there is an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or sheep scab the place is practically covered with posters pointing out to the farmers that it is a notifiable disease and that failure to notify is an offence and we mention the penalty. We usually give some information as to how the particular disease may be detected. I think we cannot do better than that. We bring to his attention what the notifiable disease is and what the penalty is if he fails to do his duty. Of course, in due course he finds out the position about compensation and so on.

We have had a very interesting debate. There were a few points raised which I should like to look into, and if I find that the points are not covered by the Principal Act or some other Act, it may be necessary to ask the Seanad to make some slight amendments on another stage.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 17th January, 1945.