Having regard to the fact that I was assured, when I asked a question on this matter, that it would not stop the supply of poultry food, as other arrangements had been made, can the hon. Gentleman give an explanation?
That undoubtedly is the case. When the Government decided to raise the rate of extraction, it was in order to provide shipping space for more vital military purposes. Because of that fact my noble Friend can hold out no hope for the time being of altering the decision which has been come to.
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether the new poultry reduction scheme originated with his Department; whether it was submitted before notification to any organisation closely identified with the poultry industry; and whether he will give the names of such bodies and the nature of their comments on the proposal?
A revision of the scheme for rationing feeding-stuffs for domestic poultry was necessitated by the exigencies of the supply position. The method of effecting the reduction was worked out in my right hon. Friend's Department in consultation with other Departments concerned. The decision to put the revised scheme into operation was made after the Domestic Poultry Keepers' Council and the Scottish Gardens and Allotments Committee had been given an opportunity of expressing their views on it.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in view of the serious loss by this new Order to individuals who were encouraged to keep poultry, and also to the public in the loss of eggs, any inquiry has been made as to the substitutes which would be available in order to take the place of the reduction in balancer meal which would enable the wholesale slaughter of valuable fowls to be reduced?
What I asked was whether the public can be told what substitutes are available which would enable them to keep some of their valuable fowls which would otherwise be slaughtered. Will inquiries be made as to whether it is not possible to get some substitute for this balancer meal?
All kinds of foods suitable for this purpose are pretty well known to commercial and domestic poultry keepers, and quite an army of leaflets has been circulated giving the information for which the hon. Member asks.
Was any consideration given to the possibility of rationing commercial poultry breeders on egg production in the same way that cows are rationed on milk production, or is that impracticable?
The hon. Lady is perhaps not aware that commercial poultry keepers have already suffered a succession of cuts, and there is also a further cut on 1st September, which means that rations will only be provided to commercial poultry keepers on the basis of one-eighth of the number of birds kept in 1939.