Reference to the meat supply of country towns was made by Mr. C. J. Woollett, of Warialda (president) at the annual conference of the Institute of Stock Inspectors in Sydney last year and his comment aroused considerable discussion. Further reference to this subject was made by Mr. Woollett in his report to this year's conference, which was held in Sydney this week. Some good had resulted from his statements last year, (Mr. Woollett added). Many councils had tightened up the inspection of slaughter yards, meat inspection was now part of the training of constables when they joined the force, and the police were being encouraged to learn something of this technical work.
If a few members of the association (proceeded Mr. Woollett) took much more interest in the matter, increased efficiency would result. He had met with departmental opposition and that was difficult to understand.
Referring to research work that was being carried out, Mr. Woollett said that the subject of sheep licks was receiving attention.
The sales of licks 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 this were done many licks now on the market would soon be off it. One contained a quantity of silica (sand). In his opinion unless the ingredients of a lick were compounded to make up for soil deficiency, they were almost worthless—he did not refer to a lick for wool growth. In view of the high costs of production they should advise stock owners to revise their ideas on the utility of licks.
Apart from those on country growing salsolaceous herbages, there were numbers of sheep owners that did not provide licks or even salt, nevertheless their sheep looked as well, and did as well as the sheep belonging to nearby neighbors who provided expensive licks as a routine practice. There seemed to be be no certainty that salt as a lick was essential, unless there was a deficiency in the soil.
When opening the conference on Tuesday, the N.S.W. Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Thorby) said that the government would not place any barriers in the way of a complete scheme of superannuation for stock Inspectors, but it was useless to ask the Government to bear additional burdens at present.
The senior veterinary officer (Mr. C. J. Anderson) said that although he did not wish to scare anybody, it was nevertheless time to take serious action when it was realised that fifty per cent of the flocks were infected by caseous lymphadenitis, Stock Inspectors should make every effort to encourage the use of the preventive methods recommended by the department.
The election of officers resulted as follows:—President, Mr. C. J. Woollett (Warialda) ; vice-presidents, Messrs, C. W. Sabine (Grafton), and F. F. Forster (Goulburn); honorary treasurer, Mr. C. J. Woollett (Warialda) ; council, Messrs. C. R. Brett (Walgett), H. Copeland (Moree), L. W. Devlin (Casino), C. L. G. Fielder (Dubbo), G. A. Kennedy (Tenterfield) , E. A. Lucas (Holbrook), F. J. Madden (Tamworth), E. J. Quinn (Coonamble), F. H. Whyte (Wagga), and F. T. Yeoman (Narrandera) ; auditor, Mr. J. A. Baillie (North Sydney).
The meeting decided to endeavor to secure a more uniform holiday leave when the existing award expired.
In the interests of economical and efficient working of the Stock Diseases Act, it was decided to recommend that an inspector, on quarantining any stock and returning it to another P.P. district from which it came (in most instances for the purpose of being offered for auction sale), obtain acceptance of quarantine and forward a duplicate to the inspector to whose district the stock is returning. If possible.
The Minister for Agriculture is to be asked to appoint an appeals committee, consisting of the Under-Secretary, the president of the Institute of Stock Inspectors, and another officer of the stock branch.
It was decided lo recommend each inspector to ask his board to establish a museum for noxious weeds and diseased specimens.
In a paper on "The Tragedy of the Mongrel," Mr. F. F. Forster (Goulburn), a vice-president, advocated that mongrel flock 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 1-lb. of wool bought a few years ago, and even more striking was the fact that thousands of sheep were being sold at less then the price per lb. a Yass breeder received for his wool sold only a few weeks ago. Until 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.