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Glen Innes Examiner, Saturday 28 March 1931, page 8



Red Rag for Bot Flies


"Old-Time Superstition"


Taking as his subject "Quack Veterinary Medicines," the president of the Stock Inspectors' Institute (Dr. C. J. Woollett) at this week's conference said that, as fortunes had been made out of stock licks, he felt convinced that stockowners spent uselessly very large sums of money on "cure all" and "shotgun" medicines hawked about the country, especially in dairying districts. If it were not for the gullibility of many stock owners it would not be possible for the pedlars of veterinary medicines to sell their goods.

"Farmers do not seem to appreciate the value of simple remedies," he declared. "In the case of the need for a mild cartharic, the use of a cheap mixture of Epsom salts, common salt, treacle, and milk is overlooked for some proprietary and mysterious mixture which costs perhaps four or five times more than the ingredients mentioned. There is a good deal of 'old-time' superstition still existing in regard to animal ailments and diseases, and until these false ideas are removed by education the farmer will prove an easy victim to the medicine pedlar or traveller, who can tell a good story about the wonderful therapeutic value of his drenches, blisters and plasters."

In some districts, continued Mr. Woollett, he had seen horses with red rag tied round their necks. The owners had told him that this was a preventive measure against the attack of bot fly. It had been stated that the origin of this false idea was that a hawker had bought heavily of red twill, and owing to a change in fashion at that time was unable to sell it. On another occasion, when discussing the disease of Blackleg, a man told him that the disease never occurred among calves where a billy goat ran with them. Seeing that the disease was caused by an organism, it was difficult to see the relationship between the goat and the disease. The use of garlic as a preventive of this disease was considered satisfactory by many.

Mr. Max Henry, chief veterinary surgeon, said that it was not too much a question of what was in the lick, as what was the most suitable for the stock affected. To do the work thoroughly, it was essential to look into each case of deficiency, and if symptoms were showing, to inspect the grazing property and find what was wrong. Cattle displayed intelligence in the selection of grasses. In South Africa an interesting test was made when a number of grasses were put down. It was found that the cattle, selected the grass possessing the greatest amount of phosphate.


The tiny bow found on the inside of men's hats is a relic of the time when hats were made in but few sizes, so that a drawstring was inserted in the lining to make it adjustable to the head.


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