Conference deliberations of the Institute of Inspectors of Stock of New South Wales were continued yesterday.
Dr. H. R. Seddon (Director of Veterinary Research, Glenfield), delivered a lecture entitled "Poisonous Plants." He said many plants commonly believed to be harmless had been found to be poisonous. On the other hand, many plants popularly thought to be poisonous had been found lo be harmless. It was proposed to publish shortly lists of various classes of poisonous and non-poisonous plants, and stock inspectors would be asked to furnish information as to their distribution in their districts, and to forward specimens for general distribution. He dealt in detail with several plants which were classed as poisonous.
Mr. C. J. Woollett (Warialda), in his presidential address, said it was a great sign of progress that inspection of meat in the country had become a political question. At the next State election they, as stock inspectors, could exercise their civic rights by submitting questions to each candidate and supporting those who favoured immediate reform in that regard. Recently a mob of old fat cows was bought by a meat company and killed at its works, where there was a qualified meat inspector. Although, he was assured, not one animal showed clinical symptoms of disease, about 80 per cent. were found on post mortem to be diseased. The company declined to buy any more of the mob, and the balance, 500, were sold in the country, except a few that were sent to Sydney.
Sales of sheep licks, he added, had reached colossal proportions, and the use of many of them was a waste of money. Legislation was required to compel vendors to state the contents on a label. If there were such legislation, many licks would soon be off the market. Unless the ingredients of a lick were compounded to make up for soil deficiency it was almost useless. The line of investigation to provide a lick for wool growth did not come within that category. In view of high production costs, stock owners should be advised of the need for revising their ideas on the utility of licks. One owner-manager in his district, who had over 28,000 sheep, spent £310 In licks in 1927-28, £227 in 1928-29. and for nine months of 1929-30 spent £110 on Liverpool salt alone. He now considered that licks, as at present on the market, except salt, were unnecessary on his country. Apart from the country growing salsolaceous herbages, there were many sheep owners who did not provide licks or even salt for their sheep and their sheep looked as well, and did as well, as the sheep belonging to nearby neighbours who provided expensive licks as a routine practice. There seemed no certainty that salt as a lick was essential, unless it was deficient in the soil. Many people reasoned by analogy that because salt was necessary in food for human beings to ward off disease, the same thing applied to stock.
In the present depression, he concluded, each member, for the sake of the general weal, should "pull his full weight" and see that his subordinates earned their wages, avoided waste, and on all occasions gave preference to Australian and British goods.
In a paper on "The Tragedy of the Mongrel." Mr. F. F. Forster (Goulburn), a vice-president, advocated that mongrel stock should be prevented from propagating its species. The carrying of low-grade live stock, he said, was prevalent among small owners, but they did not by any means hold a monopoly. Sheep were being sold for less money than one pound of wool brought a few years ago, and even more striking was the fact that thousands of sheep were being sold at less than the price per pound a Yass breeder received for his wool sold only a few weeks ago. Until quite recently anything that stood up and ate grass and looked woolly was valuable. Now it was correctly assessed at boiling down price.
The only cause for worry was the over-supply of poor-quality sheep bringing down the price of good lines forced on the market by the dry season. If the present depression ridded the land of all mongrel flocks it would be something for which to be thankful. Harbouring shoddy stock was dear at any cost. There were signs of awakening interest in the subject, which was as important as disease control. One of the surest ways of climbing out of the present slump would be to stock quality goods on every farm and station.
The conference adjourned until today.