In the absence of the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dunn) and the Under-Secretary (Mr. Ross) the annual conference of the Institute of Inspectors of Stock of New South Wales was opened yesterday morning by the chief veterinary surgeon (Mr. M. Henry).
Mr. Henry said he fully recognised the importance of the conference, particularly as it made possible the discussion of their troubles and a sympathetic exchange of views, and he urged the inspectors to obtain as much benefit as possible from this informal exchange of ideas. Referring to border matters, he urged them to give this work their close personal attention, as too much importance could not be attached to the prevention of the spread of disease.
Officers of the association should regard themselves really as disease prevention officers, said the chief veterinary surgeon, during the course of an interesting lecture. The matter of disease prevention in man, animals, and plants, he proceeded, was attracting worldwide attention at present, chiefly from the economic aspect. They wanted to regard themselves as being only one unit in the general forces arrayed against disease, and to remember that action they might like reacted on other countries, whose actions also reacted on New South Wales in the traffic of live stock. There was no doubt that the attention given this matter by the exporting country was vital. Disease prevention should be regarded in the widest possible terms, it too often was only considered in relation to contagious diseases, where it was more spectacular, but in every country, and particularly in Australia, they had to consider disease prevention from the point of view of food deficiency as being equally as important as contagious diseases.
Food deficiency included loss from actual starvation or semi-starvation over a long period. Losses from this obscure disease were due to insufficiency of vitamins. In this State particularly the food deficiency disease was due to the lack of mineral constituents in the soil. They, as disease prevention officers, must look upon themselves as being responsible for pointing out to stockowners the loss from the various forms of food deficiency which might be prevented, as was done in the case of contagious diseases. Their losses from food deficiency were not necessarily mortality losses, but might be economic losses, which were increasing. It was the natural sequence to the manner in which they bad treated their grazing lands. They must leave nothing undone to improve those pastures which lacked mineral constituents, particularly lime and phosphorus. Provision should be made to give their grazing lands periodical holidays, so that they could recuperate.
Addresses were also delivered by Mr. C. L. O'Gormon on "Tuberculin testing," and by Mr. J. Watson, acting-secretary of the stock and brands branch. Several speakers stated that increased interest in testing was being displayed by stockowners.