The annual conference of the Institute of Stock Inspectors held its closing session yesterday. Mr. J. Faulkner (president) again presided.
Mr. Frank Forster (Goulburn), in the course of a paper, advocated the introduction of a radius system of inspecting holdings for rabbit destruction. He was of opinion that such a system would show the central and eastern divisions, and some of the western district, freed from rabbits within the next five years.
The lecturer said that at present the work of destroying rabbits was chiefly carried on by following up reports received, or by investigating complaints lodged, and by patrolling here, there, and everywhere, and dealing with cases in a more or less haphazard way without special regard to the condition of the immediate neighbourhood. Results were thus slow and imperfect. Irritation was caused among owners dealt with. The man who had cleaned his place up was constantly in trouble, and under expense through invasions of rabbits from a careless owner adjoining him.
Mr. Forster considered that It would be an improvement for a P.P. board to select as centres, say, 20 or more properties scattered throughout the district known to be free of rabbits and harbour, and sure of being maintained in that condition, and to concentrate on the lands surrounding each. In that manner, and by radiating out from those fixed centres, a wider and wider area of clean country could be secured, until one zone ran into another, and whole localities of good country were freed from the pest. The plan would introduce method into the work, was quite simple to understand, and would help the owner who had done his part thoroughly. The progress of the work could be watched by everyone, and each would know when his turn came to finally clean up. The system would free an inspector from any suggestion of picking people out for prosecution, and would substitute reason for apparent arbitrary action by boards.
"What I propose," he continued, "is simply following the scientific principle adopted in freeing malaria-infected lands of mosquitoes, and the method of cleaning zones of the cattle tick country in the United Stales. Furthermore, not an extra sixpence is required to put this system into operation. The P.P. boards now have their inspectors, and the legal machinery."
The lecturer added that when unoccupied Crown lands were met with within the radius of any centre, he expected by being able to show a solid progressive plan of working to get some assistance from the Government, By keeping a map of the P.P. district, and hatching in the clean centres with red ink, and progressing as the clean area widened out, the position could be observed at any moment.
In a paper on "The Compulsory Testing of Bulls," Mr. James Cotton (retired inspector of stock) said that it had been proved, and was now admitted, that tuberculosis was hereditary, as well as highly contagious. In the lower animals, as well as in human beings. Tuberculosis could not always be diagnosed by ordinary inspection. As milk from a number of dairies was mixed before being delivered to the public, it was possible for the milk from one dairy to infect the whole supply. The tuberculin test had been proved almost infallible. The lecturer strongly advocated the passing of an Act or regulation by which every bull at dairies should be subjected to the tuberculin test, and a certificate of such test supplied to the owner of the animal.
Mr. T. Freeman (Urana) read a paper on "Bone-chewing Amongst Cattle in Riverina." He said that it was generally considered that bone-chewing was principally found only on country where the soil was deficient in lime. The result of bone-chewing was to produce in the cattle a partial or complete paralysis of the muscles, and of the muscle wall of the stomach and the intestines. There was consequently an inability to grasp food and to chew and swallow it.
There had lately been mortality amongst cattle in the Urana district, said Mr. Freeman, and it was attributed to bone-chewing. The first symptoms were an acute lameness in one or more legs. The animal then became dull and dejected, and later would go down, resting the nose on the ground, and appeared in a semi-conscious condition. Death took place in from two weeks to three weeks from the outset of the disease. Some cattle recovered, and had the appearance of animals recovering from an attack of pleuro.
The Riverina county, concluded the lecturer, was said to be very rich in lime, phosphates, and other bone-forming substances, and that fact tended to disprove the theory that bone-chewing was only found In country deficient in those substances. The Glenfield veterinary station was investigating the matter, and the result of the research work would be awaited with interest.