This is a scheme which is carried on by the Department of Agriculture every year. It was inaugurated during the war at a time when greater production was so necessary. We have a seed branch made up of experts who purchase this grain. This grain, which is high grade, is thoroughly cleaned, and then sold to settlers under certain conditions. We get all the money back with a decent profit every year.
This work is carried on in connection with the accredited herd system, a system introduced within the last few years for cleaning up our purebred herds from tuberculosis. This system has been adopted in the United States, and as we are large sellers of pure-bred cattle to that country, it was necessary for us to clean up our herds in the same way so that we could continue enjoying that market to the south of the line.
Yes. When we introduced the accredited herd system in Canada, we did not anticipate that it would be as popular as it developed. There were so many demands on all sides to have herds tested for tuberculosis and cleaned up under government supervision, that it was necessary for us to get sufficient money through Governor General's warrants to meet the demands for compensation. We
have at the present time about 625 herds under this system, and we expect that before the end of this year the number will easily reach 1,000. We expect in a short time, after we reach the peak in this kind of work, that we shall begin to diminish the amount of compensation from time to time. The amount is still on the increase on account of the number of herds.
enter their herds under certain conditions and place them in the hands of the Government entirely. They have to carry out certain instructions for inspection, destruction of the reactors and as regards the tuberculin test. They lose a considerable amount of money, of course, on account of animals being destroyed, because we do not pay the full value of the destroyed animal. Tuberculosis is a disease that has interested people during the war. It is prevalent to a certain extent in all countries where livestock are maintained, particularly cattle and hogs. We have often had the demand made to us to inaugurate some scheme whereby We should clean up tuberculosis in herds throughout the whole country. That would be impracticable, because in the first place the scheme is too big a one, and in the second place no such scheme could be successful without a huge expenditure of money and a thorough education of the people. By cleaning up the pure-bred herds first, we are getting in the first place herds free from tuberculosis which will naturally increase districts free from tuberculosis later on. That has been the experience in British Columbia in connection with the scheme inaugurated by the Provincial' Government for the eradication of tuberculosis to ensure a pure milk supply. While some persons, in the early stages of this work, were very reluctant to have their herds cleaned up on account of the loss, now in certain districts it is almost impossible to find any breeder, who thinks anything' of himself, who has not had his herd cleaned up and maintained in as healthy a condition as possible.
It is almost an impossibility for a Federal Government to eradicate tuberculosis and pay for diseased animals destroyed throughout the country. The minister would be well advised to follow very strict rules in regard to losses for which compensation is given. Many complaints are prevalent in different quarters throughout the country that some of our-I will not say breeders-but breeders and dealers combined, are taking advantage of the regulations under this appropriation to get remuneration for animals that they have not had very long in their herds and for which they do not deserve to get compensation. The committee is entitled to an explanation from the minister as to the regulations that are in force under the Health cf Animals Branch to prevent breeders or dealers in cattle from buying cattle and putting them into their herds, having them examined and getting more for them in compensation than they could get for them in the open market. This, in some cases that have been brought to the attention of members of this House, seems to be a weakness in the administration of this expenditure. This may not be correct; I am citing it for the benefit of the minister and his department; but if there is any foundation for it, it is certainly something that should be stopped. No person in this country would object to taking every means necessary to prevent tuberculosis from existing in Canadian herds and much more from spreading to herds that are free from the disease. But it is an expensive proposition to do away with that disease by paying people who have diseased animals even a two-thirds valuation for an animal which, in many cases, is worth a great deal more than that. Is allowance made for the valuation of the carcass when compensation is given? We know that animals, if they pass inspection at the abattoir, are permitted to be used for human food. Is that taken into consideration when compensation is given? It is much better for us to pay strict attention to assisting our people in every way in testing their herds and letting them know when cattle are diseased. When
that is done, I do not think any man in this country would maintain diseased cattle in his herd, especially in dairy herds, because every person understands the danger to the human family arising from the use of beef, and more especially milk, the product of infected animals. I make those suggestions to the minister in order that the department may be assisted in carrying on its work. It may not be wise to follow too much the principle of giving compensation, and it would be wise to reduce the compensation per animal.
of any man making any money by way of securing compensation for diseased purebred animals when they are valued by our inspectors and only two-thirds of that valuation is paid. We confine this work entirely to pure-bred herds under the accredited herd system except in some cases where they are mixed herds, and where there are grades on the premises. Under those circumstances we test all the cattle to clean up the farm thoroughly and to afford protection to the pure-bred animals on the farm.
We have a marketing system in connection with our Live Stock Branch, and we keep in very close touch with the prices paid for cattle. This Live Stock Branch furnished at very short intervals to the Health of Animals Branch the prices that pure-bred cattle are bringing in various parts of the country, and our inspectors are strictly instructed to follow these prices as closely and as reasonably as possible. I never saw a district yet in my past experience, and I have had a good many years experience, where you would not find men who had lost their herds who would not try to square themselves in the eyes of the public or try to appear a little more clever than their neighbours and claim that they got more money out of the Government than they could dispose of their herd for in the ordinary way at auction. I have often seen that, but after tracing it up you usually find that it was some man who was inclined to be rather a free talker and careless about what he said. I am very glad the hon. member has brought this to my attention, because it gives me an opportunity to clear it up. If there is anything of that kind going on, there is nobody who wants to know about it sooner than I and the responsible officials of the department.
Yes, $250 for a pure-bred animal, and we pay two-thirds of that. When you remember that pure-bred animals are selling all the way from $75 to $100 for a calf, and up to $10,000 or $15,000, according to the value, for a full grown animal, $250 as a maximum does not seem very high. It would be a great hardship, and would ruin many a man who was starting up in the pure-bred business, if his cattle were destroyed without compensation. While this is a very expensive kind of work, I feel that it is very valuable when we think of the great loss there is throughout the world among tubercular cattle and swine.
I would point out to my hon. friend that if he will have his herds tested he will find that when the Government officials get through he will not be overpaid. I have had some experience, and I know of others who have a good deal of experience, and I can assure him they did not complain that they were overpaid.
when the Estimates for the department were before the committee I asked for certain information with regard to the Health of Animals Branch, and partieu-
12 m. larly with regard to the amount that had been paid out in connection with animals that had been slaughtered under the accredited herd system. My objections did not receive much consideration, and I was finally forced to move that the item should be reduced to what it was the previous year, $1,020,000. That was not a very pleasant task for me. If I may be permitted, I would like to remind the committee that I asked on that occasion what amount had been spent in the past year under the accredited herd system, and if my memory serves me we were told that it was something in the neighbourhood of $22,000, or to be exact $21,827.94, and that 212 animals had been slaughtered. When I received the further Supplementary Estimates for the year ending March 31, 1921, I was surprised to find an item of $300,000 for the Health of Animals Branch, $200,000 of which had been paid out under Governor General's warrant.
I also find that there is an item in the further Supplementary Estimates for 19211922 of $300,000 for the Health of Animals
Branch, so that altogether we are being asked to vote this year almost $1,000,000 of an increase in connection with this matter, and I do not think it is in the interest of good government to permit an item of that amount to go through without some discussion, particularly in view of the fact that those who are vested with authority in enforcing the law in connection with this matter have not, to my mind at least, acquitted themselves in the past in a manner that would justify us in placing this amount at their disposal without a little better understanding as to what their authority is going to be in the future.