At the recent conference in Sydney of Stock Inspectors in New South Wales, Mr. C. J. Woollett of Lismore, was re-elected president. He was unopposed and has held the position for six consecutive years.
In his presidential address to the Stock Inspectors' Institute, Mr. Woollett offered a useful suggestion as a means of lessening the hardship that will be suffered by dairymen should the amount of butter now exported to the United Kingdom be restricted.
Owing to the possibility of restrictions being placed on the quantity of butter imported into England, Mr. Woollett said it appeared to him that the dairying industry was facing a crisis.
Continuing, Mr. Woollett said :— "This may be averted by the delegation now in England. In a few months imports of dairy products into Great Britain wall be limited There will be no sale for quite a large quantity produced in New South Wales if production is kept up, the law of supply and demand will operate and prices must slump. Production of dairy produce must be restricted, and this may be done by milking fewer cows. But what will be done with the cast-off cows, as restrictions are already operating in regard to chilled beef. In Denmark the position was met by the slaughter of the excess stock. It appears that this may be necessary here. It is suggested to produce just sufficient butter to supply the demand which would yield payable prices. This may appear radical, but it would meet the situation."
It is acknowledged by those in a position to know that there is an amount of disease amongst dairy cattle, particularly T.B. and Bangs disease (contagious abortion). When numbers are being reduced it should be those suffering from, these diseases and this can be done by recognised scientific methods. But farmers should not be called upon to bear the whole of the burden. The authorities in U.S.A. decided in 1917 that there was far too much T.B. amongst cattle, and a national scheme for its eradication was undertaken. Since then over 3,000,000 cattle have been destroyed and owners have been compensated. In 1917 4 per cent. of the cattle were infected with T.B., which now has been reduced to less than 1½ per cent. As the disease has been reduced amongst cattle there also has been a remarkable reduction in T.B. cases amongst the American people. There is now only one-third of the number of human deaths from T.B. of animal origin compared with those which occurred in 1917."
"In view of the importance of the subject to human health, that is a good reason why the Treasury should help in work of such national importance. All over the world there is human toll through T.B. of animal origin. No less than 2000 children die annually in England from T.B. of bovine origin.
The work of eradicating Bang's disease is now also being undertaken in U.S.A. Canada is taking similar steps in the eradication of the disease, and there is increased activity in England. Of course, many objections would be taken to the adoption of such a national scheme, but it must come sooner or later. However, there are many owners of herds to whom this scheme will appeal in the event of such a catastrophe overtaking the dairying industry, compelling the radical reduction of production," said Mr. Woollett.
Mr. Woollett said that attention was again directed to the need for legislation to control the preparation and sale of veterinary medicines and biological products. Some, however, were quite satisfactory, but farmers were not in a position to discriminate between a fraud and the genuine article. In Queensland there is a law which compels vendors to state the contents on the label. That gave some idea of the value of its contents. Peddlers also must be licensed, which was a boon to stock owners, because only reputable persons could obtain a license.
The speaker stressed the need for a Pig Branding Act, so that the origin of pigs could be traced. There had been a noteworthy decrease of T.B. amongst pigs where pigs could be followed from bacon factories, but the percentage of diseased pigs sold in public sale yards had been reduced to a very small degree, he added. Mr. Woollett said a great need was a cattle compensation Act which stock owners were requesting, and which apparently they were prepared to pay for as indicated by the activities of farmers' associations.
The members of the Institute were urged to interest as many people as possible in regard to stock medicines and pig branding and to ask each political candidate to use his influence if returned to Parliament. Stock owners would he helping themselves if they requested their parliamentary representative to support the measures.