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Orders of the Day — MILK AND DAIRIES (AMENDMENT) BILL [Lords.]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 19th July 1922.

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Photo of Hon. Rupert Guinness Hon. Rupert Guinness , Southend-on-Sea

As the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Shorediteh (Dr. Addison), has referred to me, I should say that I support this measure wholeheartedly, and I think the right hon. Gentleman is mistaken in regard to Clause 5. If there be a few people who do take advantage of milking obviously tuberculous animals and selling that milk, I do not see why the farmers should not come under this Clause. If there be any who do sell milk from animals that are obviously tuberculous, they should be stopped and have heavy penalties put upon them, and I say that, not only from the public health point of view, but because I think it will help considerably to relieve the minds of those people who are thinking about tuberculous milk. You cannot expect people to buy large quantities of milk when that milk is dirty, and when they cannot tell which is clean and which is not; but to protect them from the worst stories that are now going about as to the methods of some farmers—I believe they are very few indeed—will do some good and something to produce more milk and get more people to drink it. On the other hand, I am glad it is not put on the whole community of farmers to find out whether or not the milk is tuberculous, and as to finding out whether or not your cows are tuberculous, it is almost hopeless. It is very likely that 50 per cent. of the cows would react to the test. They might not give tuberculous milk, but they do react to the test, and I think there is a point which hon. Members should have in their minds when considering this matter, that a cow that has got tuberculosis, and has not got it in the udder, very often gives tubercle in its excreta, and that that tubercle can be kept out of the milk if the milk be cleanly handled. Therefore a great deal of good can be done if you can get milk cleanly handled. You will reduce the number of tubercle in the milk enormously, in my opinion, but it must be a matter of opinion until we have tried it, and I believe this Bill will do a great deal in that direction. It will give time for the very education that the right hon. Member for Shoreditch wants. The public are already beginning to think already our numbers of Grade A certified producers- -I am the Chairman of their Council— are gradually increasing. The amount of milk that is being sold of those present qualities is increasing very fast, but of course it is a tiny drop in the ocean. Still, it is increasing, and every day we hear of supplies going to new towns, and it is very encouraging. The fact that the public are beginning to think of the necessity of this subject being taken up is better, I think, than the large number of inspectors that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Shoreditch would have appointed. We may have to have them later, but we shall only get good work out of them when the public really want the article in large quantities, and I am convinced that the magnitude of this Bill is admirable for the circumstances of the moment.