The annual conference of the Institute of Stock Inspectors was continued yesterday. Mr. J. Faulkner (president) again presided.
It was proposed by Mr. W. J. Smith (Young) that the P.P. Act should be amended to provide that any person intending to purchase or obtain cyanide of potassium should obtain from the officer-in-charge of police a certificate setting out the purposes for which the poison was to be used, and that no one should sell or supply cyanide of potassium unless the person requiring it was in possession of a certificate signed by the officer-in-charge of police. It was contended that stock owners suffered heavy losses last year by reason of the indiscriminate use of cyanide for poisoning rabbits, opposums, etc. It should be made a serious offence to be found in possession of cyanide of potassium without authority.
Mr. Watson (stock branch) said that the branch had consulted with the Chief Secretary's Department, which administered the Poisons Act, and it had been decided to remove cyanide of potassium from Part 2 of the Act, and to place it in Part 1. It would thus be made more difficult to procure the poison.
Mr. C. O. Furness (Bathurst) said that in the Tenterfield district last year, when stock was at a high price, the loss through the indiscriminate use of cyanide was £22,000. The motion was agreed to unanimously.
On the motion of Mr. W. J. Smith (Young) it was resolved that Section 44 of the Act should be amended to provide for wire-netting fences of 42 inches in width, instead of 36 inches, and of a mesh of 1¼ inch in lieu of 1½ inch. It was contended that 36 x 1½ netting was not rabbit-proof.
Mr. F. T. Yeoman (Narrandera) moved, and it was decided, that the eradication of noxious weeds should be vested in P.P. boards. He said that the boards could not be given too much power to deal with the pests, and he advocated the stoppage of the movement of all sheep infested with Bathurst burr.
At the suggestion of Mr. G. J. O'Neill (Condobolin), it was decided to urge that State forests not under lease should be liable for the destruction of rabbits. He said that many State forests were breeding grounds for rabbits, and the Forestry Department should be compelled to destroy the pest.
Mr. V. L. Nevell (Milparinka) moved that the regulations be amended to allow owners to use the head and neck of sheep for temporary brands. It was stated that the motion was the outcome of recent correspondence between P.P. boards regarding prosecutions connected with the use of raddle as a drafting mark. The head and neck were not prescribed by the Act as branding positions for pitch, tar, paint, or pigment.
After discussion, the motion was rejected.
It was resolved that the control of public watering places should be in the hands of the P.P. boards.
It was decided, on the motion of Mr. J. Kenny (Glen Innes), that the incoming council of the institute should proceed with a superannuation scheme for stock inspectors. It was stated that the matter had been under consideration for three years, but nothing definite had been done. The scheme had been held up pending a decision regarding the abolition of P.P. boards.
Mr. W. N. Rees (Moss Vale) read a paper on "Noxious growth in isolated centres." He said that a very serious menace threatened clean lands, including high-priced freehold dairying and cultivated farms, by the neglect of owners or occupiers to take stops to check the growths, which were either wind or water borne, to adjoining lands. Along the roadside at Picton, Camden, Shellharbour, and Kiama were examples of prickly pear infested areas. There were practically on the outskirts of Sydney hundreds of acres of prickly pear flourishing unchecked and entirely isolated by hundreds of miles of clean country from the heavily-infested areas of the State. Notices by the Crown to destroy the pear had been treated with contempt. Blackberry and lantana were also allowed to grow unchecked. Rabbit destruction was impossible where the noxious weeds had been allowed to flourish. P.P. boards were powerless in the matter to deal with the noxious weeds, and the question should be faced irrespective of cost. Private owners, shires, municipalities, P.P. boards, and the Forestry Commission should be compelled to eradicate the prickly pear. The owners of private lands who had failed to comply with notices to eradicate should have inflicted upon them the proscribed penalty. Owners of high priced land should not have to practically abandon the land owing to the pear.
Mr. HA Copeland (Moree) said that the Prickly Pear Commission had plotted out the whole State, and he understood that the isolated patches of pear would be first dealt with. The liberation of the cochineal insect on pear land had already resulted In much good.
On the motion of Mr. F. F. Forster (Goulburn) it was decided to request the Minister to move to have the maximum penalty inflicted in cases where owners or occupiers failed to eradicate prickly pear.