There was a comparatively small attendance at the second annual conference of the Stock Inspectors of New South Wales, which opened yesterday morning in the Education Department's building. But this, as was remarked by the Minister for Agriculture In opening the conference, was due to the drought ; several inspectors have found it impossible at such a time to leave their districts.
Papers were read during the day on "Food Digestion by Stock," by the Chief Inspector of Stock, Mr. S. T. D. Symons; on "Sheep," by Mr. J. W. Matthews, sheep and wool expert, and on "The Prevention of Communicable Diseases in Livestock," by Dr. S. Dodd, Lecturer in Veterinary Pathology and Bacteriology at the University. The president of the association, Mr. R. W. Dawson (Goulburn) was in the chair.
Mr. Dunn emphasised the importance, both of the Acts the stock inspectors administered and of their administration. Without allowing a settler to drive a horse and cart through any Act, he should be assisted in every way possible. Mr. Dunn impressed the importance of promptness in dealing with all questions submitted by the department. Delays of even a few days might mean pounds to the men concerned. The bill amending the Pastures Protection Act would be brought before Parliament at an early date.
The Minister is to meet representatives of the association today, to discuss its request that the basic wage be made applicable to stock inspectors.
Stock Inspectors, said Mr. Symons, should bear in mind the drought and its causes, and act at all times as advisers in recommending the conservation of water and food, and the greater development of fodder crops. "To the public generally," said he, "I wish to advocate vigorous and persistent propaganda, in the hope that the Australian Governments may realise the necessity of a continuous policy, in times of drought and of plenty. In the direction of improved railway facilities, comprehensive schemes of water conservation, and better roads, with the object of assisting to the utmost primary production."
Mr. Matthews emphasised the fact that breeders should study the locality in which they were situated, rather than attempt to follow all the vagaries of the market. In breeding dual-purpose sheep, Lincolns and Border Leicesters were, in New South Wales, the best breeds to cross with the merino, the Border Leicester being tho best throughout the agricultural area. But to obtain an early lamb a second cross was desirable, using the Dorset Horn or Southdown as a sire.
Dr. Dodd spoke of the assistance the Inspectors might give in diagnosing in case of illness among stock, and in suggesting means of preventing disease. The two principal causes preventing the farmers from giving prompt information in case of disease among their stock were:—(1) Fear lest their farms might be quarantined; and (2) fear lest their stock might be prejudiced in the market. They must be taught that the withholding of essential information in such cases did not pay. In the case of most of this State's stock diseases quarantine was not essential. And in any case the existence of a disease among stock could not possibly be kept secret long. If the disease was not such as might endanger his neighbor's stock, there was, of course, nothing to prevent a farmer from taking any course he chose. But In that case he must not complain of lack of proper assistance from the Government.
Dr. Dodd went on to refer to the need for subsidising research, and to the strange fact that, few of those who made their living from the land had given money for this purpose. He referred to the tendency among many farmers to become the prey of quacks. They had a kind of superstitious respect for anything in a bottle, especially if it was represented as a cure for everything! Advertisements he had seen would be laughable but for the harm they might do. And in the case of scientific remedies, vaccines, for instance, the general treatment of the animal must be looked to if he was to do well.
Conference expressed its sympathy with the pastoral, agricultural, and dairying communities during the drought; and urged the Government to do its utmost to help them. It then adjourned until 10 o'clock this morning.