Control of Bulls for Breeding Bill, 1985: Committee and Final Stages.

Question proposed: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill."

In relation to section 1 — the Minister has partly referred to this in his reply — there is the question of the 15 months bull. I agree with Senator Ellis that that should be nine months. "Certificate in relation to a bull means a certificate issued by an approved organisation certifying that the bull has been entered in a herd book of that organisation, or if the bull is under the age of 15 months, is eligible to be entered in that herd book." I think that should read nine months rather than 15 months. The Minister could easily change that at this stage. It would be better for everybody if it were changed just now.

I did go into this because this was raised privately by the Senator's spokesman in the Dáil and the breed societies apparently have asked for this time because they have to do a fair bit of homework, examinations and that sort of thing. It is more or less to facilitate these people that we are allowing for the 15 months.

Does the Minister not feel that most of the breed societies at the moment issue their certificates within the space of a couple of months of registration? I feel, and I think the other Members of the House feel as well, that nine months is the maximum that should be allowed in view of the fact that there was an old loophole which was used in the 1925 Act where a farmer applied for a licence for a non-pedigree bull, which meant that he could keep him over the summer without being in any danger of prosecution. I feel that this is going to mean that the inferior stock of the breed societies which they may want culled will be allowed under Acts of this Parliament to remain in use for one season.

I register with a pedigree society and if I do not register within two months I will not be able to register any animal, be it male or female. I wonder how the breed societies are going to accept an animal for registration at an age up to 15 months if they have a regulation such as I have experienced.

The final registration very often does take up to 15 months. The Senator is talking about a non-pedigree animal but a non-pedigree will not be registered at all.

I understand what the Minister says but what I am stating here is that the culls of the pedigree breeds will be allowed to roam free for six months, from nine to 15 months. I feel that, with all due respect to whoever drafted this Bill, they should have seen that when it was being drafted. The Minister should now amend the Bill, change it from 15 to nine months in the best interests of the breed societies and of the farmers.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If Senators are talking about amending section 1, I think it will have to be done on Report Stage, if there are amendments to section 1. Maybe the Minister might help me here.

While we may at this stage be on the Committee Stage, it might not be in the best interests of the people whom we are trying to help here and if that is the case, Committee Stage should be left over if the Minister is partial towards giving way to the proposed amendment. He also sees the folly in what could be done by this.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am taking section 1 of the Bill on Committee Stage. I have no amendment before me.

Mr. O'Toole

Surely we are permitted to comment on any section.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Absolutely. I think somebody mentioned an amendment to section 1. I only want to be quite clear what I hear from the Chair.

Mr. O'Toole

The Minister can amend any legislation himself. While we have no amendment submitted, we are querying the section and I want to support previous speakers on the nine to 15 months. I know from my experience in breeding societies that you can have a bull for a considerable length of time and it is hard to identify the age of an animal up to six months. You can have an animal that at two months will look as good as another animal at six months. When an inspector from the breeding societies or from the Department comes to inspect the animal you can give the date of birth but is may not be authentic. It is happening regularly in breeding societies. It is very difficult to identify this irregularity until the animal starts to put up its two permanent teeth. It is only at that stage that it will be seen that a wrong age was given at the outset.

What the Minister is doing now is that if you add on four, five or six months at that given time it is very hard to identify the age of an animal at suckler stage. If you are given an additional four months or five, as happened in many breeding societies, you could end up with a bull that was ineligible and not registered up to 15 months. A wider scope is given and that animal could be in active service long before he would even be deemed at 15 months to be licensed or ineligible. There is a loophole in that system that would give plenty of producers the option of producing a bull that may not have an authentic age and be registered and will not be identified until he puts his two permanent teeth up. That can vary between 13 months to 18 months. There can be a big variation in that regard.

I support Senators Hussey, Kiely and Ellis in that regard. Increasing the limit from nine months to 15 months will give greater latitude to that type of person who will not be giving the exact date of birth either to the breeding society or to the Department of Agriculture inspectors. It is very hard to identify a suck calf. If he is a good one he could give the impression of being six months old. That is widely known among the farming community. You are giving an additional hidden four months in addition to the 15 months so that you could have a 19 months old calf eligible under this Bill. That is why we would like a reduction in the limit to nine months.

I do not agree. My experience of progressive breeding societies is that they like to have quality standards and I think they should be allowed time to implement these standards. That is based on from 12 months to 15 months. The Bill provides that a bull over the age of nine months will be illegal under this pedigree not covered by a permit. The 15 months relates to the type of documentation which will be acceptable as proof of a bull being in the herd book sector. When a breeding society are notified of the birth of a bull calf, he should get a certificate acknowledging notification of the birth. This certificate is evidence of the eligibility for entry into the herd book. When the animal is approved for entry into the herd book, a certificate of registration will be issued by the society. If this certificate is not issued by the time the bull reaches 15 months, he becomes illegal.

Is the Minister not aware that the certificate is automatically issued unless there is a query on it by all breeding societies?

No. They will not.

They are not in a position, unless there is something found to be wrong with the registration or with the date on the certificate of registration, to refuse to issue the certificate. I believe there has been a case in the courts here where a farmer whose registration was refused was later permitted to have the registration allowed.

I am familiar with registering pedigree cattle. This has to be done within two months or else they will not be accepted for registration in the herd book. Once male animals are registered they are accepted into the herd book at the age of two months. They are eligible unless the Minister is insistent that the breeding society do another inspection. I would like to have some clarification on that.

There is not a loophole here. Many of the societies, including the Charolais, Simmental, the Angus and so forth have inspections for registration. My own view is that breeding societies that register young animals register good and bad. This is why we are giving them an opportunity to do it properly.

While some of the societies, especially Angus which is operated more or less under the wing of the Department, may have these inspections, can the Minister guarantee to us that the other breeding societies are inspecting every animal which is registered with them before issuing a certificate? I do not think that is the position.

I do not understand Senator Ellis's point because my experience with breeding societies is that they do carry out their inspections before issuing registrations. You do get confirmation that you have notified the society of the birth of the animal. In due course the inspections are carried out. Inspections in my own part of Clare during the past week were carried out by an official of the Department of Agriculture on behalf of the breeding societies. Whether this is the case everywhere I do not know, I can only speak from my own experience.

In fact, I am positive that this is not the position. There is occasional herd inspection by the breeding societies of various herds but all animals are not inspected.

Under the EC directive it is the function of the breeding societies to do that.

If that is the case we have wasted a lot of valuable time because rather than trying to implement this regulation we are asking the breeding societies to do something which we cannot force them to do. I wonder if this Bill is going to be of any benefit as far as the control of these livestock is concerned.

I do not share the Senator's doubts or fears. I have the utmost confidence in the integrity of the breeding societies.

If the Minister has such confidence in the breeding societies he seems to be protecting their interests very much in this section. If they are so efficient I see no reason why a period of 15 months should be required. The points made are valid. I would ask the Minister to agree to put in the nine months rather than the 15 months.

I would like to facilitate the Senators but I am afraid it is not on. I am sorry.

While I can understand the Minister's problem, that the Bill has gone through the Dáil and to accept the amendment would mean it would have to go back to the Dáil, I believe he is going to find that he will take a prosecution at a later date under this Bill and find that he will not be able to gain a conviction due to this section being used against him. I would ask the Minister to reconsider it now because this legislation will have to be amended at a future date. That is going to be the position.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 2.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

Is there any period of time given to people who have bulls in their possession before they get the permit? I take it they have to apply for the permit to hold a bull. It does not say if there is a period of time given.

Twenty eight days, and 14 days to make an appeal. Once this Bill comes into law they have 18 days to apply for the permit.

If they are not going to admit that they have a non-pedigree unlicensed bull in their possession it is going to take some time before the loose ends are tied up and before we have the situation where everybody who has a bull has a permit and under that permit he is only authorised to keep a pure-bred, pedigree bull. I can see problems in trying to get it moving.

If he has the pure-bred bull he does not need a permit.

I know that. As the Minister knows, many people throughout the country have pure-bred pedigree bulls.

Yes, quite a lot.

Maybe in the Minister's part of the country but not in mine.

There are certificates issued for pedigree bulls. Under this new legislation will it be necessary to have a permit as well as a certificate?

Under section 2 which refers to permits under section 3, it appears that anybody can apply for a permit for any sort of unregistered bull or a non-pedigree bull. Is the Minister not going to put a minimum qualification, that they should be either three-quarters or seven-eighths bred or something like that?

No, that road is so impossible to go down that I did not attempt to go down it. What I am talking about is a good quality, non-pedigree animal. If you are trying to work out the number of eighths I am not going to do that. I am doing this very reluctantly. The bull will have to be inspected by an inspector of my Department. The inspection will have to be paid for by the person concerned. There would be other cases of permits for the fattening of young bulls and that sort of thing.

While I might agree with the Minister in his reluctance, he shares the same concern as many of us in this matter. He mentioned payment of a prescribed fee: I note there is not a stated amount for the cost of the inspection.

That comes under another section.

It may, but——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I will clear section 2 first.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.
Question proposed: "That section 3 stand part of the Bill."

Can the Minister tell us how much the prescribed fee will be for a person seeking a permit and how much will the cost of the inspection be?

I wanted to ask the same questions. I do not know whether the prescribed fee is a fee for the inspection or whether it is a fee to hold a non-licensed bull. The Minister in his Second Stage speech conceded that under section 3 he would allow certain people, owners of 20 suckling cow herds or fewer, to hold a non-registered animal provided that it met the standard of quality which was set down by his Department and on the payment of a fee. He has now said that he would be charging also for the inspection of the animals. While what the Bill is trying to achieve is important we must also legislate for the people in that smaller section of breeding, particularly in the area of suckling animals, so that pedigree would not be vital for smaller animals, particularly in the west and disadvantaged areas. What is the total fee involved? Will there be two separate fees? I welcome the fact that the Minister is allowing certain people to hold non-registered animals under this section which meets a lot of the objections we had.

This section is geared to accommodate small herd owners and people in the disadvantaged areas who because of the expense involved and the remoteness from pedigree bulls would not be in a position to have the service of those bulls without great expense. I believe this section will defeat the purpose of the Bill. It would be far better to subsidise those people in the disadvantaged areas and the small herd owners who cannot afford the service of pedigree bulls. I do not know what the subsidy would cost but it would be better to provide it for the overall good of our national herd so that we can have a good, solid foundation of stock. The west supplies a very large percentage of the store trade to the rest of the country. It is from those areas that the store cattle will be coming. They will be sold to the people in the midlands for fattening. It would be better to subsidise those people and make sure that they have the service of a pedigree bull, as herd owners in the rest of the country have.

On this section I submit it is important that there is a fee but it is also important that the fee should be reasonable so that it would not make the matter prohibitive for many small-holders. I urge the Minister in finalising the fee level not to work it out totally on the basis of the cost of inspection, because the cost of inspection could be significant, particularly in remote country areas. I anticipate that the inspection fee will be a flat rate across the board, whether the bull is being inspected in Kildare, Sneem, or wherever. I urge the Minister that the fee should be of a reasonable, modest nature and perhaps not on a level to take full account of all the costs involved in the inspection process.

Could the Minister tell us if the fee will be the same as under the 1925 Act?

If a subsidy was introduced to help small farmers buy pedigree bulls it would be more beneficial in the long term to the cattle trade and to these farmers than to ask them to pay a fee to license non-pedigree bulls.

The fee was discussed at length in the Dáil. Initially, I thought it would be as high as £50 but I am informed by my Department that where we can — and that would be in most areas — make arrangements covering all the sanitary problems the bulls could be brought to certain marts and we could probably do it for much less. I could envisage a fee of £25 being charged.

Under the Diseases of Animals Act those animals cannot be brought to marts unless they have been tested under the TB and brucellosis regulations, in view of the fact that they are intended for breeding. Therefore, we are talking in terms of imposing on the farmer another £20-odd to have the test carried out. So we are still charging him £50. If we are going to have inspections they should be carried out on the farms rather than indirectly imposing a £50 charge. Not alone that, but we are also taking up the farmer's time in taking them to an inspection centre. As suggested by other Senators and myself, would it not be much better if we deleted section 3 entirely from the Bill and replaced it by a section which would make available a small subsidy to farmers to purchase a pedigree bull?

I would like to support the Senator on this because if we discourage people from applying for permits by making the price prohibitive then we will not get the number of people required to make the scheme effective. As Senator Hussey said, it would be better to subsidise the pedigree bull in these areas rather than make this provision prohibitive. If we have this type of levy plus the cost of testing and bringing them to a centre, we will encourage the use of non-pedigree bulls. I do not like to call them scrub bulls, but that will be the position and we will encourage that type of thing if we have this permanent prohibitive provision involving registration and an exorbitant fee. We will harrass the farmer to get his bull registered and he will then use the other bull because it will be much easier for him. I would go along with Senator Hussey in having a subsidy for a full pedigree bull and there are plenty of pedigree bulls available.

I do not want to go down that road at all; I think it would be inoperable. Suddenly everyone would be looking for a subsidised bull and in the interests of everybody it would not be possible to have subsidisation of pure bred bulls. If we did, there would be no point in having the scheme at all because we could tell everybody their bulls would be subsidised. Otherwise we would have a two-tier system of bull licensing.

Senator Ellis is correct in saying that you cannot move animals, particularly animals for breeding, without complying with the tuberculosis and brucellosis regulations. Farmers in this category, and there will not be many of them in this category, should be offered the option of bringing bulls to a centre provided they comply with the regulations, or the bulls could be inspected on the farm — which is the proper place to have the inspection — for a prescribed fee. The fee should not be too high; it should not be a disincentive for people to properly register their bulls. The fee of £25 or £30 as stated by the Minister sounds reasonable. If that is compared with the price of a bull it is still cheap and will probably meet the requirements of the breeder, especially in small herds of 20 cows or under.

I would not go along with Senator Ferris in suggesting that if you give subsidies more than those entitled to them would be getting the subsidies. The same thing could apply to the licensing of these non-pedigree bulls. You might have more bulls being licensed than the 20 acre owners' bulls, more such bulls than is desirable for the improvement of the livestock trade. How will the Department decide on people with under 20 cows? Are they to go on the statistics they have in the TB offices or what? There can be a danger here. More people than is intended could be licensing bulls at a fee which definitely would not be in the interests of producing better livestock when we should be giving a subsidy to enable them to buy pedigree bulls which would definitely be going in the right direction in improving our livestock. Also, if there is licensing, will the inspectors come from the Department or will they be temporary inspectors such as we had before, farmers who are familiar with cattle, conformation and so on? Whilst I am not completely against the Department to ensure that proper bulls will be used the inspections should be carried out by inspectors who would be familiar with the breeding of cattle.

I just want to reaffirm what was stated by a few other Senators and as I said myself a few moments ago, that if the fee is of a reasonable level on the lines the Minister has indicated and the inspections are carried out on the farms involved, this should prove satisfactory. Basically, my concern in this was and is that there should be no question of having to recoup the actual costs of inspection because, if we were to go into that area, we would be talking on a different line. Any subsidy would totally and utterly confuse this sort of situation. The level of cost the Minister has mentioned, coupled with the fact that the animal can be inspected on the farmer's premises, would meet the situation.

For the Senator's information we are talking about exempted areas only, not about abuses right across the board. Nearly all of our bulls are registered pedigree bulls, only in the areas outlined here, and as the Minister said on the islands off the coast. That is the type of area we are talking about. We are totally against non-pedigree animals. We must do something about making it attractive to farmers to get the bull that is going to be inspected by the Department. This is all we are looking for.

When I made the suggestion I stated quite categorically that it would be confined to the disadvantaged areas and we have already established that in order to register this bull and to get the permit for this bull in the disadvantaged areas it is going to cost something in the region of £50 anyway, between inspection fees and if he has to be tested under the bovine TB and brucellosis schemes as well. You are already saddled with a fee of £50 and I think if the Minister were prepared to give a further £50 as a subsidy — make it a £100 subsidy on each bull in those areas — it would not cost a lot of money and it would be better for the overall good of the national herd, which is our main aim under this Bill. As I said previously, the bulk of the store cattle for the rest of the country is coming from that area. For that reason it is important that they would be treated in the same way as the rest of the country; that they would have the service of the same type of bull as in the rest of the country. In the long run it would be better if the purchase of the bull in that area were subsidised.

As I said in my Second Stage speech we are trying to keep the cost of this as low as possible. I do not want to make it too attractive and that is why I am saying that if somebody decides to have the inspection on the farm then of course you would be talking about £50. But remember that we are talking about the exception not the rule and I hope that it would be a very, very small exception. We are talking about foothills. The word "commonages" frightens me because I would hate to delve into what happens in commonages. The actual fee is not decided and it is not being written into regulations. My intention is to keep it as low as possible and as I say, the on-farm inspection which was my own idea because, as was rightly pointed out, you have to add your 30 day testing and all this adds up. On-farm inspection would be £50.

The Minister states that it appears now that the fee will be £50 if it is to be done on the farm. Could the Minister tell us who will carry out the inspection? I understand that it will be an official of his Department. Will it be people such as the gentlemen behind him, who are the leaders in the livestock section, or will it be the local inspectorate who will carry out the inspections?

It will be inspectors from the livestock section of our Department.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Just before we continue, this Chair at times exhausts me but I understand you cannot refer to officials behind the Minister.

I did not mean to be derogatory in my remarks but the officials concerned are the main people in the livestock section of the Department. What I want to extract from the Minister is, will it be the people from Agriculture House or the people from the local offices who will carry out the inspection?

There is no trouble about getting information out of me — it will be the district livestock inspector.

If that is the case, the cost to the Department in many cases of having those inspections carried out will be at least twice to three times the amount they will receive through the inspection fee. Some of those livestock inspectors will have to travel up to 100 miles from their various offices to carry out the inspection and if you multiply that by two, you see the cost to the Department. I believe — and I think that this proves the case for what we were saying earlier — that it would be much more beneficial to pay farmers in the disadvantaged areas a premium as such for the keeping of a pedigree bull. There is a very easy way of offsetting this, I believe, for the Department; if they were to pay those farmers the maximum headage on those bulls' as permitted under the EC regulations, they would be making quite a considerable contribution towards it. It could, in the long term, save the Department money.

I thank the Senator for his contribution. I must say we have our sums pretty well worked out on it and we are confident we can do it for what we say.

Further on section 3, if one of those bulls has been inspected and there is a permit issued and supposing the farmer decides three or four months after the permit has been issued that he wishes to sell that animal to another farmer, will it be necessary for the second farmer to have the animal re-inspected or will the animal carry this permit for his lifetime? Also, will the animal so allowed be tatooed by the Department in the same way as under the old licence scheme?

That type of detail has not really been agreed. If the Senator were to ask what I would like to do I would say the animal should be re-inspected.

While the Minister might be in agreement that he should be re-inspected it means if he is not to be re-inspected we are now bringing into play another type of animal which will be sold for breeding purposes, namely, this so-called permitted animal which will now become a source of trade in the bull business in the same manner as pedigree bulls are traded at the moment.

I understood that once he had a permit he could not sell the bull, that he would have to keep the bull for breeding purposes because there is a great danger that if he can sell the bull the bull could end up in farms larger than 20-cow farms.

That is exactly the point I was going to make. The permit is given to a person initially. The quality of the animal is taken into account and the type of business that the person is carrying on — in other words 20-cows or fewer — will be taken into account in the granting of it. If the man wants to sell it to somebody else, the purchaser must also qualify under both headings. The bull will have qualified under the quality condition because the bull has achieved a certain standard of quality, but the person who is buying the bull must also be in the same category of breeder and for the same purpose as the original owner. Otherwise the whole scheme would be ludicrous. I think Senator Kiely has put his finger on it.

I think he should not be sold as a bull. He should be castrated before he is sold if the owner who got the permit had no further use for him.

My first reaction to that would be that if he was to be sold he would have to be re-inspected. That is something I will be looking at very closely.

We still see the loophole in the Bill which means that he can move. There is nothing in the Bill which states that he cannot move from farmer A to farmer B if farmer B comes within the category. This is going to mean that you are going to have a trade developed in non-pedigree bulls which will mean that many farmers, rather than go to buy a pedigree animal, will buy a registered bull, as he will be known after this.

No, not necessarily. I thought I made this quite clear. Those items and details have not been dealt with. My view is that if the bull is sold, then the new owner would need to get a permit. First of all, somebody having that sort of animal will have to be vetted to see whether or not he is in the 20-cow bracket, whether or not he is supplying milk to a creamery.

The Minister is aware that this would be the position but you will have the case of where farmer A will take him, have him inspected and passed, keep him for three or four months and then sell him to farmer B who may have to wait a number of months for the inspection to be carried out on him. The Minister is shaking his head as if this will not now be the position. Can we take it that there will be a maximum length of time between somebody's application to have one registered and the inspection being carried out?

That has to be.

These are things which are not written into the Bill. The Bill has loopholes in it that it will be very easy for unscrupulous farmers to drive a coach and four through and smile.

I can see difficulties in what the Minister is suggesting. If a farmer buys a bull with a permit from another farmer he will have to get the bull licensed again. I cannot see this operating effectively. The bull should be castrated if he is to be sold.

To see the Munster people rowing in behind each other from both sides of the House indicates that the west is getting the thin end of the wedge here. I know the Minister does not like commonages but I will cite a commonage where a number of farmers have grazing, which is normal practice in the west. A farmer applies for a permit and gets it and he lets his bull onto the commonage with his ten or 15 cows. All the other farmers' cows are on the same commonage. There are no fences.

That is illegal.

Legislation was promised by the Minister of State, Deputy Connaughton for division of commonages. In the event of this legislation not coming — I do not think it will come now — if a number of cows from another herd are served with that permitted bull and the farmer presents them for a headage inspection the following year, is that farmer eligible for headage in this case? There are loopholes by the dozen in that commonage. The west is full of commonages, as the Minister is aware. Commonages are grazed over all the summer period. Whatever may be said about the eradication of TB and brucellosis, this is the position in the west. Is the farmer who has his cows served by this permitted bull, who is a neighbour of the farmer on the commonage, eligible for a headage grant under the headage scheme?

The Senator has shocked me by telling me what is happening in the west.

That is why I said that the Department officials should be down the country.

I said initially in my Second Stage speech that there are a lot of details to be dealt with by way of regulation which will be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Would it not be better to write them into the Bill now rather than bringing in regulations at a later stage? There is a certain weakness in the Bill which will create problems for the people who will be trying to implement this Bill. Would it not be better to put in a subsection stating that all bulls can be kept only by the person who holds the original permit? It should be possible to write a subsection into the Bill which would overcome this problem which has been raised here this evening.

In section 3 (3) the Minister has power at any time to revoke or suspend a permit. If somebody is abusing the permit there is nothing to stop the Minister from revoking it. You cannot legislate for every situation. If you did it would be highly dangerous in this area.

I cannot let this opportunity pass without expressing my amazement at the grazing of commonages in the west. I am deeply perturbed by this as a member of the Animal Health Council. I will have to bring this matter to the attention of the council. There is no way that millions of pounds can be poured into a disease eradication programme if the owners of animals are still grazing them on commonages. This is ludicrous. I hope what the Senator has said is not true. If it is true, the Senator has an obligation to advise the Department where it is happening.

In relation to what Senator Ferris has said, it is important that he should see the form produced for cattle headage annually in the disadvantaged areas which states that commonage is included in the amount of land which a farmer can use to make up the necessary acreage to be paid as grants. It has always been the tradition. We, as legislators, cannot deprive those farmers of the rights which they have had over the years without compensating them. It has not been brought to the notice of the Minister or his Department at any stage that an outbreak of TB was caused by the use of commonage. It is caused by people who do not obey the regulations. It is very unwise of Senator Ferris to express his concern about what has been the practice down the years and will continue to be the practice.

The Minister is leaving the gate wide open in section 3 for the abuse of the permit system. Could he tell the House now what means he intends to use to close the loophole which exists, which means that the animal can be reinspected?

I should like to reply to what Senator Ferris said about being alarmed. I am a member of the Animal Health Council also. The lowest incidence of TB and brucellosis is in County Mayo where commonages exist. For the Senator's information, an animal is not supposed to be tested for TB inside 45 days. This has been the cardinal rule and it has been handed down through the years. It is a 30-day test but you cannot test a TB animal inside 45 days. I should like to inform the Minister and Senator Ferris that the Department of Agriculture have tested in much less than 20 days in County Mayo. That is news for the Minister. The incidence of TB and brucellosis in the commonages is the lowest. There is no need for the Senator to be alarmed.

In response to Senator Ellis, I regret the option is there. I came up with a sensible solution. My first reaction would be that castration of the animal would solve that one. I do not think we should be facilitating that type of programme. If it would make it more difficult it would suit me. That would be in the regulations.

The Minister is facilitating the very poor people whom he does not want to facilitate. With regard to the application for registration, will there be any court of appeal for those who are rejected as there was under the old bull licensing scheme? The Minister does not specify in this Bill that there will be no court of appeal for any bull which may be rejected by an inspector.

The word of our inspectors will be quite clear.

While I might seem to be stubborn with regard to this, the position is that section 3 is totally unworkable in practice without making at least three or four amendments to it.

The word of our livestock inspectors is final. As in any such legislation, the person may appeal to the Minister within 14 days. He may have that appeal considered.

The Minister has possibly answered my question when he says that the farmer is open to appeal to the Minister within 14 days. If he is to appeal to the Minister will the Minister be the arbitrator or will a senior official of his Department be the arbitrator?

In that case I imagine it would not be the Minister or any Minister of State. It would be the senior officials from our Department.

That proves my point. In this case there will be a court of appeal made up of senior inspectors which will mean that our famous bull will get a further lease of active duty while this appeal is in progress. This means that the regulation as proposed will be unworkable.

Much as it would give the bull a lot of pleasure in that moonlight period, section 3 says you can only have a bull for that purpose if the Minister so wishes to give you a permit. There is no question of giving you a permit and looking at the situation afterwards to see whether the bull comes up to certain standards. The Senator is reading a lot of problems into the section. This is an important section for small breeders. I am not sure if there are 100 of them in the country.

We are making an impossible task out of it with the number of people who are likely to qualify in 20-cow herds or fewer who are suckling and not sending milk to the creamery. If the Minister has any statistics about the number of people involved in this we should like to have them. The number of representations made to all of us from Sneem and disadvantaged areas indicates that in those areas it is an important section to have in the Bill. Now that we have agreed to have it included and as workable as possible we hope it will not be abused. If they start abusing this category they are only codding themselves because they are leaving themselves open to prosecution, or going against the spirit of the Bill which tried to include a section that would facilitate small breeders in an area which could not afford a pure-bred animal and for which a pure-bred animal was unnecessary for the breeding of beef.

I asked the Minister earlier was it proposed to have the animals, which have been inspected and passed, tattood with some type of ear tattoo. I do not think the Minister replied. The number of farmers who would qualify under the regulation as amended of under 20 cows with an average herd size of 5.6 would be in the thousands rather than in the hundreds as suggested by Senator Ferris.

The Senator is in the region of detail. I hope that the ear tags are adequate and that we will not have to have any further tagging or marking.

What will happen if the tag is lost?

In that case he contacts the veterinary surgeon and has the animal retagged and informs the VRO.

There has to be some sort of indelible mark placed on those animals because the same one could appear at 50 different places. There is no way you can control it unless there is some sort of indelible mark, let it be by means of a tattoo or otherwise. Using ear tags makes a laugh of it. We all know that the percentage of animals which lose ear tags is very high due to the type of tag being used, the tamper-proof tag.

I do not see any problem.

I feel it is a major problem. If the Minister is not prepared to do as was previously done under the 1925 Act, where those which passed had a shamrock tattood on their ear and those which failed had a larger R implanted on their ear, we are doing a disservice to the Department officials who will carry out the inspection because the animal which they inspect may not be the animal which is released with the livestock concerned. There is nothing to stop a farmer saying that the animal, as passed by the inspector, is this animal which has lost its tag and he may replace it with anything. We must close this loophole if we are to go anywhere as far as the regulation is concerned. The only way of closing it is by means of the tattoo.

Initially I thought it might be necessary to freeze-brand the animal with a large letter or whatever and in that way you would get over the the Senators problem. However, I was informed by the people in the Department that that was not essential. If the Senator believes that some form of marking would be necessary I do not see any problem.

Can we take it from the Minister that he will use the tattooing system rather than the freeze-branding system? The reason I say that is if an animal is freeze-branded and at some stage afterwards it is castrated it will then carry the Nazi sign of a freeze brand for the rest of its life.

Even the Nazi sign is clear.

The meat factory inspectors do not look for what is in their ears. Therefore, to freeze-brand them rather than to tattoo them would be doing a grave injustice to the farmer who might later steer them.

I will look at it.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 4.
Question proposed: "That section 4 stand part of the Bill."

Does section 4 deal with the detection of non-registered bulls? Are inspectors of the Department and members of the Garda Síochána——

To clear the air once and for all on that, the gardaí are used only if our inspectors are having problems in gaining access.

To make this legislation effective and to ensure that there is proper detection, does the Minister think there are enough personnel in the Department to carry out these inspections?

With regard to the inspection, who would be in a position to state if the animal has been castrated? Will a veterinary surgeon be taken along to examine those animals, or will it be the word of the farmer against the word of the inspector or the gardaí as the case may be?

On the question of making up our minds, normally it would be a matter for inspectors. This bears a question mark.

I do not think section 4 states anything about a veterinary surgeon being brought to examine the animal. The reason I state that is that you could take a prosecution against a farmer and take him into court and the farmer might take in his veterinary surgeon who might possibly have dealt with the animal one day prior to the inspector having arrived, and take the inspector for a walk, to put it mildly. If there is to be any query with regard to whether the animal has been castrated it is necessary that the inspector carrying out the inspection of those animals should be accompanied by a veterinary surgeon.

I agree with Senator Ellis in this regard because I think a visual assessment of an animal is not authentic enough. You would have to have a clinical inspection of the animal in a pen where he can be clinically examined either by a veterinary officer or by somebody who knows because it is very hard to detect an animal from a visual assessment. It is very important to have a clinical examination of the animal.

An inspector means any person authorised by the Minister. In the event of any doubt, our inspectors can call in the services of one of our veterinary surgeons. There is no problem there.

I note the Minister is willing to accept that a veterinary surgeon should be taken in to carry out a full examination.

Not in every case.

Where necessary when the question is raised by the farmer. In that case who will be responsible for the penning of the animal for inspection by the veterinary surgeon? Will it be the Department's inspector, the gardaí or the farmer?

The farmer.

It does not state in the Bill that it will be the farmer's responsibility to have the animal housed for the inspector or the veterinary surgeon to carry out the necessary inspection.

If the Senator looks at any legislation he will see that there are not all these details in it. The type of Bill the Senator is talking about would be nearly as big as the Encyclopaedia Britannica if we were to put everything he suggests into it. Anything we want done can be done by way of a simple regulation.

The regulations will be as big as the Book of Kells. There are many loopholes in this Bill. Every section has a loophole in it which will be exploited by the barristers to make the Department look foolish which is the one thing we do not want to see happening. We believe that when legislation is passed by this House it should be as foolproof as possible. It is important that the Bill should close all those loopholes because we all know that out on the street there are the best of legal brains who will be only too glad to pick holes in this Bill.

It is almost an identical pattern of the 1925 Act.

We know how many cases were lost under that Act.

That is a legal job.

If the Minister looks up the number of prosecutions which were lost under that Act he will see that they are quite sizeable. The fines proposed in this Bill, which we will get to later, will encourage farmers to employ the best legal brains rather than have some of the fines as proposed imposed on them.

I do not accept that. This section deals with the right of an inspector or a member of the Garda Síochána to come and ask the owner of an animal to produce a permit. If the farmer denies that he has an animal that fits this description and that he has not a permit — of course the Department will know if he has a permit — the Minister has confirmed that the inspector has the power to actually send for a veterinary officer of the Department. It would be an obligation on the person having charge of the animal to make the animal available if there was any doubt in the inspector's mind. No inspector will turn up at the farm of a person the Department know has an animal which is included in his herd test and they will know if the farmer has an exemption certificate for the animal. It is only in the event of information being received by the Department to the contrary, that this section will come into play. It is a most reasonable section. Somebody has the right to walk in and ask if the farmer has a permit, the same as somebody can arrive and ask if you have a television licence.

I agree with Senator Ferris that anybody can come in and ask. We talked earlier about what Senator O'Toole mentioned about commonage. Who will then be responsible for the rounding up of the animal? The farmer can make the animal available to the Department's inspector anywhere on his land. It does not specify that the farmer must round up the animal. In many cases these animals could be very dangerous.

It could take two days.

The Minister should tell us what regulation he intends to make with regard to who will be responsible for the penning of those animals for inspection.

I am making it quite clear that, when our inspector calls to the farm, the farmer will be asked to have his bull penned in such a way as to be examined by the inspector.

Suppose the man says the animal is not his when the Department inspector arrives, and if the animal has no tag by which you can identify who it belongs to, who then is responsible for the rounding up and the impounding of the animal?

I know the Senator is having great fun at my expense.

I do not think we are having great fun here, but it is only fair to tease this out because many people outside might think this legislation has very little importance. It is legislation which, as Senator Howard said earlier, will affect the quality of the livestock in this country for the next ten years.

If the farmer says he does not own the bull then — and this is in another section of the Bill — as the owner of the land on which the bull is found he would be expected to inform our inspector who owns the bull.

If you do not know who owns something it is very hard to tell any inspector who owns it.

The person in charge of the land is responsible.

Where you have five tenants in charge of a commonage and an inspector arrives and there is a particular bull on that commonage, how can he identify the owner?

What I have been told this evening about commonages, despite the low incidence of tuberculosis, has quite shocked me. We were concerned about bringing bulls to a central area because as, Senator Ellis rightly pointed out, there could be a health hazard. But, in the name of goodness, how are we to legislate in a situation where all herds are topsy-turvy and everyway? I have no facile answer to Senator O'Toole's question.

Is the Minister aware that such a commonage exists?

I am aware now.

Only now? He had better speak to the other Minister of State who comes from the west.

There is money available for the division of those commonages. Perhaps that could be looked at.

That is in section 5.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 5.
Question proposed: "That section 5 stand part of the Bill."

Regarding the inspection of bulls, for what purpose is the inspector entitled to go in and inspect bulls to see that they are properly maintained? As we know, there are often cases where animals are kept in very bad conditions, not fed properly and so on. Has the inspector the power to go in and inspect an animal and take the permit from the farmer if he is not maintaining that animal in proper conditions?

We initiated legislation here last year which gave the right to a member of the Garda Síochána to enter any premises or land to ensure that livestock were being looked after properly. It is also an EC requirement as I understand it. I was even dubious about its operability but the fact is that there is legislation there already which allows a member of the Garda Síochána or, indeed, a Department inspector to enter onto land or houses used for livestock at any time, that is, the Protection of Animals Act. That can be used in conjunction with this Bill if necessary.

Now that Senator Ferris has taken over the functions of Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, perhaps we could have a reply from the Minister himself.

In actual fact, in this case the only function of our inspector would be to see if the bull was a particular farmer's animal. It has nothing to do with his health. As was pointed out already regarding the protection of animals, there is other legislation concerning the conditions and the health of the animals.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 6.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

On section 6 — and I suggested this on Second Stage — could 28 days not be changed to seven, shortening the length of time which would allow these animals to remain undealt with?

Again, this is something I would like to agree to. I am informed that in order to be reasonable and in order to have the animal slaughtered and so on, we would have to allow 28 days.

What was the length of time under the old 1925 regulation? How many days?

Under the 1925 Act it was seven days and this was considered to be quite hard on farmers.

That is the reason I asked the question, I knew it was seven days when I was asking the question. But 28 days seems an unusually long time to allow an unauthorised bull to roam the country. I felt that the period of seven days as specified in the 1925 Act was much more reasonable than what is being proposed here. While some people may say that seven days is a bit harsh, an acceptable length of time might be 14 days. This section allows the farmer 28 days before he takes any action. He gets away under this section because he has 28 days to deal with this problem without being penalised. That is wrong.

If Senator Hussey does not mind if I make another comment, on legislation you try to make a comment to the best of your ability and from your knowledge of what has happened. If the Senator has forgotten the Act that is all right, but I remembered that it was there and allowed people to enter onto premises.

I do not know if my colleagues on the other side of the House have come to grips with the new scheme for arranging testing on animals. It is fairly complicated and was a subject of controversy for some time between the Department and the veterinary profession. There is no problem if somebody decides to castrate the animal but he may decide to have the animal slaughtered. He may arrange to send the animal to a factory — unless he wants to send it in on permit — and perhaps he would get a better market for it if it was TB tested. You must give at least two weeks' notice to a veterinary surgeon before you can arrange testing, so you would need almost three weeks notice before you could arrange a test and have the results of the test read, and then some number of days to get the animal to the factory of your choice. Make it a very short period and you will make it a penal situation.

If somebody has an unregistered bull on his property he either agrees to castrate it or slaughter it, or he is liable to be fined. You can legislate in as penal a way as you like in this area but taking into account the trading situation now with animals going to a factory some reasonable period should be allowed to comply with the new regulations. When the 1925 Act was in force there was no tuberculosis eradication scheme. There was no requirement. You could just decide to move your animal to any factory you liked or sell it, castrated or otherwise, to your neighbour down the road. In this situation, it is entirely different. If we are to give the owner of the animal the opportunity to get it to the best place possible and to get the greatest amount of money for it, we cannot be unreasonable. I know the Senator's concern and I share it. The Minister does not want this unregistered animal to be available for all sorts of pleasurable activities in the meantime. I presume by the time we detected it, it had done a certain amount of damage anyway and one more cow was in calf.

I agree with 28 days. We cannot be too harsh on this one because, for the reasons given, you have to have the detection date. The animal can be castrated any day after that detection date when he gets noticed. Then it is up to the farmer to use the 28 days. A veterinary surgeon will be available for castration and on to the factory. That is all right, but where an animal has to be castrated and then offered for sale it is different. It is not necessary to offer it for sale even though you do castrate it. It is not eligible and will not be penalised. I spoke about commonages. It takes a number of days to get animals back to the place where you can deal with them. By the time the farmer gets a veterinary surgeon, that will require 28 days. It will also give the Department official time for an inspection. Possibly the bull will be castrated in seven days in most cases but 28 days are necessary. What is in the Bill is reasonable.

I do not think 28 days are necessary. Seven days are enough. I was surprised to hear Senator Ferris saying the bull could fetch a better price by testing him and sending him to a mart. What is the point in sending him to a mart? He will be sold as a bull for breeding in another farm. Is that what Senator Ferris is promoting?

I never mentioned "mart".

Where else would he go? What would he have to be tested for otherwise? There are only one of two things that could be done to that bull, that is, slaughter him or castrate him and that can be done in seven days.

I would like to inform Senator Ferris that it is not necessary to have an animal tested to have him taken to a factory.

You have to get a permit.

You do not. I am afraid Senator Ferris needs to be better versed on the subject. You can take an animal direct from a farm to a factory for immediate slaughter provided you have a card for him and that the animal's tag is correct. You do not need to have it tested before you take it. I am surprised that somebody who is a member of the Animal Health Council is not aware of that. Getting away from that, I am inclined to agree with Senator Kiely on 28 days as the number of days suggested. How many days after the 28 days will it be before the inspector will call again to the farm to see if the animal has been dealt with?

Twenty-eight days as suggested to us by the Attorney General's Office is a fair and reasonable number of days to give the person a chance to have that animal delivered into a factory. In fairness I think it is the number of days that should stand.

Will the Department's inspectors reinspect the animal within seven days of the 28 days, or within 14 days of the 28 days, or within 365 days of the 28 days?

The simple answer to that is that we are not going to tell anybody how many days. We can call any time we like for that matter. There is no point in writing and saying that the inspector is coming on the seventh day. That would be a matter for the discretion of our inspectors.

I do not mean that. What I want to know is will the Department reinspect that animal within X number of days — the Minister does not have to specify this — following the termination of the 28 day period allowed for treating the animal or for having it slaughtered?

For the edification of Senator Kiely and Senator Ellis, I wanted to ensure that the number of days was correct and would allow a person to have the animal castrated and sold if necessary in a mart under a test. There is nothing wrong with that. I am sorry Senator Kiely misrepresented what I was saying, but he said I was talking about selling bulls in the mart. He said I was now suggesting that. I want a farmer to have the constitutional right to sell his animal if it passes a test in a mart or is castrated. This allows him to have him castrated and/or slaughtered. The other question of sending an animal direct to the factory is a well-known requirement in the scheme anyway.

It would be our intention that that inspection would be done as quickly as possible.

What we are talking about is getting the animal castrated or slaughtered within seven days or, if the Minister thinks that is too short, he might amend it to 14 days. I think 28 days is too long altogether.

Twenty-eight days it is.

I wanted to ask the Minister something. Certain farmers are going into this bull breeding for slaughter.

There is an exemption.

Is there an exemption to cover a farmer who produces this bull beef for slaughter under the Bill?

Section 6 (4) gives the Department official the right to castrate the animal or to slaughter it on the farm. Can I take it that that is the position?

The right is there.

You are leaving yourself very open here again. Suppose the wrong animal is castrated? Suppose the animal which is castrated turns out to be quite valuable at a later stage? You would then be in trouble. You have the right to instruct the farmer to have it done, but you do not have the right to carry it out without getting the consent of the farmer to do it.

The Minister has the right to do it. This is in the legislation under subsection (4). Any person authorised in that behalf by the Minister may enter any premises in which the bull may be or may reasonably be believed to be. He may castrate it or, as the case may be, he may have the bull slaughtered.

Subsection (4) also gives the right to the Department to have the animal taken away from the farm and slaughtered. If that is the case and that is done, who would be paid for the animal by the abbatoir concerned? Would it be the Department or would it be the farmer? If the animal is sold at a lower price than the farmer reckons he may be worth, who will pay the balance?

In the event of that happening, any cost involved would be recouped by our Department. Obviously, the farmer gets paid for his animal but he will have to pay the cost of slaughter.

The Minister states that the farmer will be paid. But the farmer, as we all know, can make his own price when it comes to selling one of those animals to a factory. Who will be responsible for making the price in this case? Will it be the farmer who owns the animal, or will it be the Department official concerned? As I said earlier that if this is the case the way could be left open for the farmer to seek compensation for what he believes to be the true value of the animal and what may be received from the factory or the abbatoir.

I fail to see why Senator Ellis is so concerned about this farmer anyway, because he is breaking the law. He is one of the people that he spoke out against in his Second Stage speech. I cannot see why he is getting so worried. He has broken the law. We are attempting, as we are in every other conceivable way, to get him to do the things that he should do. Even at this late stage if he refuses to co-operate the only option left is to have this animal taken into the factory and have it slaughtered.

While I know all of us, including the Minister, are worried about the well-being of the national herd, and that this animal which we refer to is a menace, as are all of those which are even permitted are a menace to the livestock of this country, I believe that we as legislators are duty bound to see to it that we pass good legislation, not legislation like some of the mickey mouse legislation that has been passed in this House in the past couple of years.

There is one point that has been overlooked as regards to the 28 days. It is aligned to what has been said here. The question that has been asked by our colleagues across the House is, "Why should a person want to kill an animal within 28 days or sell it at a livestock mart?" The answer is very clear. First, the animal may not be fit for selling to a factory. Secondly, he has to go through the testing process etc., to get to a sale situation in a livestock market. One may say that once the animal has been castrated why does he want to sell him? Ordinary husbandry would dictate that a man who has suckler cows and other female animals does not want this sort of one-time bull floating around. Those persons across the House that understand livestock quite well would understand that clearly also. Quite frankly, I believe that this 28 days coupled with what has been discussed now, are very closely aligned. They work not to an unduly favourable degree in favour of the client but are equitably and fairly designed to give every opportunity to the person to dispose of his animal, with options available to him.

I do not think that is right at all. The time is for castrating or slaughtering an animal. Who wants an animal that is castrated? They have all the time in the world to get him tested. I think that an animal should be castrated or slaughtered straightaway, and 28 days is too long to get a farmer to do that. It gives him liberty to use the bull.

I do not know why Senator Kiely adopts that attitude in this case because, as Senator Hourigan has said, normal management of the herd would indicate that even if you had the animal castrated it might be in the herd owner's interest to sell him. It is not the kind of animal that he would like to have around the place, especially if he was a recently castrated animal. The important thing also is that this is an option in the section. The person can, in fact, apply if he is detected as having a non-registered or a non-permitted animal. The Senator should read the section so that he will know what he is talking about. To have him registered is one of the options. The other options are to castrate him, sell him or slaughter him. The Minister has the power to do either if the farmer is not cooperative. I think this is a reasonable section.

We know the 28 days are there. It is clear from the Minister that they are going to be there. But suppose on the 28th day the farmer concerned makes an application to the Department for a permit for this animal, how long more — and I raised this earlier — will it be until the inspection is carried out on that animal by a Department official? Are we going to see a case of where, like the adjournment of the court which is often used as the method of preventing the evil day in certain cases, the farmer here can have a number of adjournments by means of using the Bill as it stands?

I cannot see where this selling comes into it because I do not see anything in any section about selling the animal; it is about slaughtering and castrating and they can do that within seven days and for that matter within 14 days as I have already suggested. There is nothing about selling an animal in this legislation.

Before we agree section 6, can the Minister tell us that he will do something in the regulations which will be brought in for the implementation of this Bill to close some of the loopholes which we have pointed out to him in the first six sections of this Bill?

Before the Minister finishes, what about the bull being for slaughter? The Minister was about to answer that.

Again, the types of animals that would be covered are bulls kept for research purposes by universities and by An Foras Talúntais. There are about 30 such enterprises in the country at the moment. The permit should cover an enterprise rather than an individual bull. In the case of beef suckler herds, as defined by the scheme of premiums for maintaining suckler cows, that is the exception that we have been talking about.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 7.
Question proposed: "That section 7 stand part of the Bill."

Section 7 refers to correspondence addressed to a person by name, by delivering it to that person or leaving it at the address where that person is normally resident. Suppose the person concerned happened to be in hospital, who is then responsible for the correspondence on arrival? If there is nobody at the house and if somebody's post is put through the door and nobody is living in the house, one is in an awkward position. The person may not be resident. I do not know how the Minister is going to get over that.

It is an abnormal situation that the house would not be open even though the person would be out of it. Whoever would be running the farm in that instance could be responsible for accepting such correspondence.

That was fine if it was being sent by registered post. But it is not stated here that it will be delivered by registered post. We know that if it was to be sent by registered post it would be automatically returned where there was nobody to sign for it. Could we take it that the Minister in fixing the regulations will make it mandatory on the Department to send it by registered post to the person whom they feel is responsible?

I do not think there is any need for registered post. In all cases the mail is attended to by somebody.

This may seem very funny. Suppose somebody might happen to be in jail——

For a previous bull offence.

Yes, that is exactly what I was going to state. Suppose one was serving a sentence. Who would then be responsible for accepting the letter and who would be responsible for dealing with the problem?

If I could just speak on that point. Obviously, if there is no response from such a depot, then we will do a follow-up. If in the follow-up there is found to be a genuine problem then I do not think it will present a difficulty.

When are you going to have the follow-up, Minister?

You have the 28 day incubation period before the Department would go to seek to see whether or not the animal has been dealt with. Allowing for the normal course of events, it could take anything from seven to 14 days for the Department inspector to call allowing a situation where this animal has been allowed to roam in excess of 40 odd days. In the most extraordinary situation that has been envisaged you will have a problem of a delay but, thanks be to goodness, you will not have that many people in jail, I hope, nor will you have that many people with their houses unattended. If such a problem does arise, and I have no doubt that in the past we have seen rather extraordinary things, these things are ususlly dealt with in a humane manner by our Department.

They may be dealt with in section 7 (c) which does not preclude the use of registered post. It just says prepaid post; even registered post is prepaid. I take your point.

I do not think the Department send out any letters without paying the postage on them, so we can understand that it is prepaid postage. What I was trying to determine from the Minister is whether he would give us a commitment that all notices of this kind would be sent by registered post.

If there would be a problem there, I would certainly be prepared to look at it in the light of ongoing problems and I would think on it.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 8.
Question proposed: "That section 8 stand part of the Bill".

Under subsection (4) I see that the summary conviction means a sum not exceeding £500. We can take it that the Minister would be suggesting to justices that they would stay in the lower figures rather than in the higher figures. I notice as well that it does not state that there will be the extra punishment which was in previous schemes where farmers lost grants which might be available to them under the lifestock section. I do not think that is included in section 8.

We do not make any recommendations through other Ministries. It is not our intention really to relate this to the loss of grants.

The only incentive to farmers not to keep those bulls will be the fines as proposed by the courts, which are quite substantial. What happens when you meet a lenient justice who treats it all as a load of rubbish and decides that he is going to fine the farmer £5? Is it not going to defeat the total purpose of the Bill which is the improvement of our livestock.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 9.
Question proposed: "That section 9 stand part of the Bill".

On section 9 which deals with the alteration of the certificates, who will be responsible for giving evidence in that case? Is it the breeding society?

I would imagine we would call upon anybody whom we would regard as necessary to prove our case, including the breeding societies.

If necessary the Minister will summon the secretary of a breeding society. What happens where the breeding society may be registered outside the country? Who will then be responsible for giving the evidence on behalf of the Minister, when he is not in a position to serve a summons outside the country?

Every breeding society have their representative within the State. We can call on their representative within the State.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 10 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass".

I think we have highlighted the fact that this is a weak Bill in certain respects, particularly in relation to sections 3 4, 6 and, indeed, section 7. The points that we raised on this side of the House should be taken into consideration by the Minister.

I agree that the points made in both Houses will be taken into consideration by me and by our Department and will be dealt with by way of regulation. I have given that undertaking to both Houses.

Could the Minister tell us when he proposes to bring in the Act officially?

I would hope, and I am getting co-operation here this evening, that we would have the Act in operation for the 1985-86 breeding season.

Could the Minister give us a specific date? Is he talking about 1 January 1986, or is he talking about——

I would be talking in terms of as near as possible to 1 January 1986.

While the Minister may hope to bring it in on 1 January 1986, he can take it that it will not become effective until 1 January 1989 due to the regulation in section 3. Section 3 will allow the farmer to do as he likes until 1989.

Question put and agreed to.