An applicant for a breeding licence for a boar, whether pedigree or non-pedigree, is required to submit the animal for inspection by one of my officers. If a licence is refused, the applicant may appeal within 14 days and request a second inspection by a referee appointed from a panel of nominees of approved pig breeding societies and the National Farmers' Union. Under the Improvement of Livestock (Licensing of Bulls) Act, 1931, and the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1944, the referee's decision is final.
My right hon. Friend will surely agree that his livestock officers are not allowed to approve non-pedigree boars for breeding. In view of that, is it not unfair to put the referee in the position of juror, judge and appeal court?
The referee is at liberty to do exactly what he likes. In fact, the licensing of boars started on 1st April, 1946, and during the eight years the system has been in operation it has worked very satisfactorily.
As I said in reply to my hon. Friend, the Member for Maidstone (Sir A. Bossom), on 31st March, it is my policy to licence only those boars that are pure-bred, whatever their breed. This is because the purpose of licensing is to ensure that boars used for breeding will breed true to type, and this cannot be achieved by the use of cross-bred boars.
As my right hon. Friend has decided to deny to these impure animals the natural right to breed and live, does he not think it would save the farmer from loss and the Ministry from expense if, instead of sending inspectors and then referees to the farms, the position of these unfortunate animals could be made clear from the beginning?
No, Sir, the referee is there to make a decision entirely irrespective of the first inspection which takes place and I am bound, as well as the owner of the boar, by that decision. If he thinks fit, the referee can licence a non-pedigree boar.
How can my right hon. Friend reconcile his statement that his policy is to licence only pedigree boars when he gives the routine for licensing cross-breds?