Wednesday, 17 June 1953
Seanad Éireann Debate
 This motion was placed on the Order Paper in the first week of March. A considerable period of the year has gone by since and to some extent the urgency of the motion is negatived for this year. However, I propose to deal with the motion on the lines indicated in the text and refer first to my reason for asking at the time that, as a matter of urgency, the Seanad should request the Government to do these things. My approach to the matter is entirely personal and is the result of the experience I had as a veterinary officer inspecting carcases after slaughter during that period in February when I, with others, were appalled by the prevalence of warbles and the damage caused to carcases, and especially to hides, so early in the year, in the month of February. Nobody could look at that damage without feeling that one should do everything possible to bring it to the notice of anybody and everybody who could do anything to secure a solution of the problem.
That is my introduction to indicate why I put the motion down as a matter of urgency then and I hope that, regarding it still as a matter of urgency even in June, the result of the debate will be to impress on the Minister and the Government the need for taking all possible steps to mitigate the damage which this infestation is causing to our cattle and consequently to the whole economy of the country.
I believe that the early prevalence of the warble in the hides this year and the consequent damage being so disastrous is due to the fact that we had a very mild winter after a very satisfactory summer for the country and for the people generally. It was a warm, dry summer and this fly was laying eggs on cattle, consequently there was a considerable increase in the infection of cattle. With the mild winter following and the warble developing prematurely, so to speak, we had so early this year this extraordinary prevalence of it in the hides. Again, it was this extraordinary prevalence and the damage being done which prompted me to put down this motion and by the efforts of the members of the Seanad to convince people in  authority that it is a matter of vital necessity that some steps should be taken as quickly as possible to mitigate this damage.
For this discussion I suppose it would be necessary to give a short summary of the life history of the warble fly to show how he causes this damage to the unfortunate cattle whose hides he invades. There are two kinds of warble flies but I do not think that is material to this debate as, in fact, the results are the same and the damage they cause is equally extensive. Every Senator, be he city man or country man, will probably at some stage have seen cattle gadding in the summer and early autumn. Those members of the farming community will appreciate that it causes extensive irritation to cattle and a loss of progress in flesh and general effectiveness of the animal, whether it be for the production of meat or for the production of milk.
Gadding is caused by the buzzing of the warble fly in the vicinity of cattle. The fly does not sting or bite; it simply lays its eggs mainly on the legs and the quarters of the cattle. It is a curious thing that cattle are by nature apparently cognisant of the fact that this buzzing insect is an enemy which is going to affect him. The herds or individual animals will run wildly over fences into obstructions often causing serious injury to themselves in the wild rush to evade the striking of this fly.
The fly does seem to have some aversion to water because you will see cattle standing in a river or running towards water to stand in it. Normally that should not affect the fly in striking unless the water reaches beyond the parts of the animal's body in which lays its eggs, the hocks and thighs. Yet they can stand quite comfortably in water of a low depth, so it seems definite that the insect does not like to fly over water or in the vicinity of water. Naturally the instinct of the animal is to seek refuge by standing in water or in another place of refuge, the shade of trees. The warble fly likes to remain in the warm sunny atmosphere.
The warble fly has struck with disastrous results in the past year; the little  grub that hatches out penetrates the skin and during the autumn and winter travels along by various routes until he finally gets to the predilection site which is along the back and loins of the animal. Every man who is used to the country or has seen any cattle will know that he can see in the late spring and early summer these big lumps, numerous warbles, on the backs of cattle, resulting from the grub that has developed from the eggs which the fly has laid during the previous gadding period.
That is the life history of the warble fly from the time it lays the eggs to the time when these repulsive larvae develop on the animal's back. As it develops it requires to get a breathing opening. It bores through the skin on the inside till it punctures completely through it and when this breathing hole has been made in the skin of the animal you will see on the animal's back nodules of pus and dried serum. People may think that this is terrible cruelty to the animals. Naturally we cannot record how cruel this is or how much pain the animal feels. The pain is not so much for the animal, but it certainly must be great discomfort apart from the other effect which it has in destroying the tissue of the back. I think the actual pain is not so great, because we know that the skin of the animal is not so sensitive. You know how animals can be beaten by sticks and pricked with the goads used in driving them. But people not accustomed to cattle would feel that the poor animal must have suffered intense pain by these numerous lesions along its back.
That is the history. The fly lays its eggs, develops the grub, and the grub gets out on the back and causes this destruction which is the subject matter of our discussion now. Having grown to full size it pushes its way through this puncture of the skin and falls on to the ground, be it grass, road or something else. One would think that there is such a chance of its dropping in the wrong place that the number of larvae that would subsequently develop into warble flies should be very small, but there is such  a big number of larvæ that even a comparatively small percentage developing will provide numerous flies to carry on the generations from year to year.
I have brought specimens which I displayed in the anteroom during the day, and any Senator who has not seen them yet might examine them and see the damage caused to the hides. In this bottle I have specimens of the larvæ of these warbles, repulsive looking things, and one visual examination of these things might create an impression on Senators' minds that they would not forget when they come in contact with the problem during the years to come.
When the grub falls to the ground, in a short time, estimated to be something like two months, it develops into an adult fly and the process starts again. The fact that we have so many warbles affecting so many cattle to such an extensive extent this year indicates that they must be getting prevalent. Their effects would be more obvious if the weather were warm and sunny, but the continuity of the propagation of the species goes on and that is why I would like to discuss it in the Seanad so that some steps can be taken even during this period to lessen the damage that the attack of warble fly causes.
To come to the loss and damage done by these enemies of ours, as far as the farmer is concerned he does not realise the damage because he is only cognisant of what happens to his cattle during the gadding period. He may see his cows running for shelter under trees or in whatever pond or river they can get to, but perhaps he will escape having a casualty from an animal running into a gate or falling into a dyke. Unless he has experience of such a casualty he does not feel that this warble fly is doing him immense damage, and that is one of the objects of this discussion—to try to bring home to the farming community, through the Seanad, the fact that the injury, small though it may be to them, is indeed of immense damage when the stock travel to the other agencies—to the butcher, to the tanner and subsequently to the harness maker or the  boot maker who utilises the leather got from his cattle. The farmer loses even through loss of milk, especially if there is a warm day. He will find there is a big loss of milk, and that there is a loss in the development of his young stock not easy to estimate—and of course again he may have loss through casualties.
When it comes to the butcher and the exporter the damage becomes very apparent. It was at this stage that I became aware of the disastrous results early this year. I have brought in specimens of the hide of a badly infected carcase. There are two exhibits—one hide in which the warbles have punctured right through, making holes like a sieve right through the leather, and the other a specimen of what we call blind warbles, where the warble has not pushed its way right through and has produced no puncture in the leather, but instead he causes defects in the texture of the leather on the inside and protuberances on the outside of the hide. When badly affected the hide is more or less useless for any manufacture.
Besides these two specimens which I have for Senators to look at there is further damage caused because an animal that is affected by the warble fly this year and is not slaughtered this year is further damaged. The lesions caused by the warble coming through the hide heal and that little puncture is mended, so to speak, during the remainder of the year if it does not get a second attack, which usually does occur; but those little lesions are healed by scar tissue and that scar tissue can be seen as defects in the hide. So you have defects caused by the puncture and the grub coming actually through, partial puncture by the grub, and even then the healing of the lesions after the parasite has passed through.
In all three cases there is immense damage done. I have got figures this year which I would like to mention. I asked a Dublin butcher what were the losses through the damage caused by warbles in his hides and he showed me a receipt for four first-class hides, or what should be first-class hides, from four heifers which he got.
 The total of the four hides, according to the price of 1/- per lb., should be £11 6s. He received £7 2s. 3d., which is a loss of £4 3s. 9d. on the four hides or almost exactly a guinea a hide. That is an immense loss to be occurring and to be recurring from day to day and from week to week in the beef trade. The butcher individually was at a loss of four guineas, almost, on four hides. I took a note that one of the hides weighed 60 lb., so that the normal price would be £3; but the loss is averaging in those cases a guinea a hide.
The skin men have a gradation of price on the number of warbles affecting the hide. For first warbles, they pay 9d.; second warbles 7½d.; third warbles 6d. For a hide that is badly affected with the warbles the butcher only gets half the price that he should get. Instead of a 1/- a lb. he gets only 6d.
Later in the season, after about March, these prices were increased as follows: first warbles 10d.; second warbles 8½d.; third warbles 7d. Therefore, the skin and hide men increased the price by just about 1d. per lb. Senators will get a picture there of the immense loss to the butcher—and to the country, through the butcher—by the damage caused by this warble infection. Likewise, of course, the hides of animals that are commercially slaughtered in the factories will have a lesser value also.
Then I might refer to the damage to the carcase itself. We have developed a magnificent export trade of carcase beef now and it is a pity to see the results of warble infection on so many carcases. The warbles will not be on the carcase, as they will be adhering to the hide, but the result of the warble infection is quite apparent on the surface tissues of the back and sirloin. It causes a serous exudate or, in ordinary parlance, what might be called a scum on the surface and flesh and gives it a dirty green appearance. Once that is there, there is no satisfactory means of treating it. You just cannot pare it off or wash it off or sandpaper it off. Once it is there it has entirely interfered with the  grading of the best nourished and the fattest animal. In that case again we are facing an immense loss through the damage caused to the carcases of those animals so affected.
I took a note here of the loss to the consumer. I am sure some Senators have had the experience, when tasting the nicest steak on his plate, of finding that the part that gives our steaks their reputation is really the fatty juicy surround, which is actually the fatty tissue from the loin of the beast. Some Senators at some time may have got from that little fat, which gives the steak its juicy flavour, a repulsively bitter taste. I have got it repeatedly, I know, and many Senators may have got it but did not know the cause of it. That bitter, nasty taste comes as a result of warble infection, where that flavour has remained even through the cooking. It gives it that nasty taste and anybody not knowing what it was would think the meat was rotten because of that flavour.
Mr. S. O'Donovan: I am trying to make everyone as interested as possible in this matter and I brought in the consumer because I feel that some Senators may have had that experience, in getting that bitter taste.
The warble affects the farmer in his product, it affects the middle man, the butcher, the skin and hide man and the tanner, and it affects the consumer as I have shown. That is why I put this motion down as a matter of urgency in the first week of March. I still regard it as a matter of urgency that the Government, through its Minister, should take all possible steps to eliminate the enormous damage.
Turning to the steps which could be taken, I will suggest some. Some Senators may suggest others. Since this motion was put down, considerable steps have been taken by the Department, as a new Order was issued, dated March. Whether it was after my motion was put down or not, I do not know. The new Order is not much different from its predecessor  Possibly this motion on the Order Paper evoked sufficient interest to have the Order brought up to date. In addition, several advertisements have appeared in the Press, both the daily and weekly Press throughout the country, and the radio has been used as well. I was listening myself in this building to a discussion on the radio on this warble fly question. Some activity has been brought about in the public service through the issue of the new Order, the several advertisements in the Press and also the radio debates and discussions in this matter.
The wool merchants at the same time started a campaign in connection with tar on the wool and we had magnificent advertisements in the Press. They were very well produced, trying to influence the farmers and sheep-owners not to allow tar in the wool. I was shown an advertisement prepared by the butchers. I have a copy here in the rough. They were prepared to subsidise the preparation and distribution of posters throughout the country, to help to interest people in attacking this problem of warble fly infestation. You have wool merchants anxious to deal with tar in the wool and you have also people who are so cognisant of the warble damage that they are prepared to contribute money to eradicate the warble fly.
The Parliamentary Secretary has handed me a note to the effect that no Order was made recently. It is not an Order. It is a leaflet and if I used the word “order” I was wrong. I have in my hands a Department of Agriculture leaflet, No. 75, on the warble fly. The word should be “leaflet” rather than “order”. A  new leaflet was issued in March, 1953. It was not an Order but a Government Publications leaflet.
I come now to Press publicity and radio publicity. With regard to Press publicity I would ask the members of the Press who are present to come and examine these samples which I have. If they do so they will be very impressed because visual evidence is better than any description that could be given in regard to this matter and it is necessary to get as many people as possible interested in it.
Through advertisement and publicity in their own journal the veterinary surgeons have helped. I might say here that all this is entirely impersonal as far as the veterinary profession is concerned. They gain nothing whatsoever by inducing the farmers to make use of this treatment. As a matter of fact, if the casualties due to the warble fly were eliminated it might mean less practice for veterinary surgeons. They have publicised the matter in their journal just the same as it was publicised in the Department's journals.
My next suggestion is that every agricultural instructor, every county committee of agriculture, every branch and practically every member of Macra na Feirme and Muinntir na Tíre should be written to jointly and severally to publicise to the farming community the importance of taking steps to lessen the damage of this infestation. Another important body are the co-operative creameries and co-operative agricultural societies. Their members could give great help in this publicity work. I may repeat that, as far as this year is concerned, the treatment is late. However, it is a question of preparing the ground and trying to get as much publicity and information promulgated as quickly as possible so that we will be prepared next spring to begin on a proper attack on this enemy of ours.
Then there are the agricultural shows. Exhibits have been on display at various agricultural shows of a hide infested with warbles. I have seen them at Ballsbridge and I think they may have been at other shows, but every agricultural show should have an  exhibit as well as a poster and advertisement to bring to the notice of every individual farmer and farmer's son or workman attending the show the necessity for this treatment.
Lastly, I would mention the vocational schools. I am not going to include primary schools because everybody who has a fad about education says that such and such a thing should be taught in our primary and vocational schools. Vocational schools are spread throughout the agricultural districts and there could be publicity by way of posters and exhibits of various kinds at these vocational classes.
That accounts for advertisement and publicity. What, now, is the Government going to do about it? That is a question that is often asked, I suppose, of Ministers. One day we people say: “We do not want Government interference”, and the next day we hear somebody saying: “What is the Government going to do about it?” We had warble fly regulations before and we had inspectors trying to enforce those regulations. Personally, I think that any compulsion in this respect is practically useless when you are trying to deal with the farming community. I appeal to Senators and to the Government Department, by every means in their power, to publicise this matter and appeal for the voluntary support of the farming community to eradicate this pest. Inspectors are just useless, as things are, because they cannot know whether or not an animal has been dressed—and this is an important point which I would stress now to the Parliamentary Secretary. When the Government were endeavouring to enforce this Order before, I examined warbles on the backs of live animals but I could not know whether or not they were treated with warble dressing which is a derris powder preparation. Your only means of finding out would be to bruise out one of these repulsive-looking things and see whether it was dead or not. That is a very dangerous thing to do extensively, but I did it myself on a few occasions for my own information. The point I want to make is that inspectors going around trying to get farmers to dress the animals on the  first day of each of the months, March, April, May or June, or at monthly intervals during these months, are handicapped because they cannot know whether or not the animals have been treated.
My suggestion is that the Department investigate further the use of some pigment in the warble dressing— any pigment without being a sort of too blatent red, white, and blue. It could be a nice orange pigment. That pigment could be mixed with the derris dressing so that, in the ensuing few months, it would be quite apparent to the farmer's neighbours and to everybody else that he had dressed his cattle. Somebody may suggest that he could dress the skins of his animals with the pigment without applying the derris powder. My answer to that suggestion is that if a farmer is willing to go to that much trouble he might as well put the extra few shillings into the purchase of derris powder and do the job properly. My suggestion to the Parliamentary Secretary is that, by the addition of a pigment to these proprietary dressings, it would at least become apparent that the animal had been dressed. We could have a system of checking at sales and markets to ensure that animals exposed for sale had been dressed, and I should say that the numbers of non-co-operative stockowners or farmers who would substitute a simple pigment for the pigmented derris dressing would be very small.
The one outstanding point I want to impress on the Seanad is that there must be co-operation, right up from the producer of the calf or yearling into the fattening lands of Meath and on up to the sales. There must be co-operation by every individual stock-owner, and, if we cannot get that, any oppressive compulsion will not succeed. The farming community are just as patriotic as any other section and if they can be got to realise the magnitude of the problem and the importance of the eradication of this infestation, they will co-operate. If they can be got to realise the damage involved for themselves and for the subsequent dealers in their product, resulting ultimately in immense loss to  the nation, they will be only too anxious to co-operate. There will be the non-co-operative or recalcitrant individual, but the criticism of his fellow-farmers will have the effect of making him toe the line more quickly than any compulsion by the Department. I have heard the question asked: “Why does the Government not prohibit the sale of these animals in the market, so that the butcher will not have to buy them?” but these things are impossible. With the co-operation, however, between the various sections who have to deal with this problem, we can secure a means of getting rid of the problem.
Finally, I hope that when the Government—any Government or whatever Government—takes this matter up it will not be regarded as a Party or an inter-Party problem of a political nature. It was a pity politics were brought into it before when it was a matter of whether one Party would have warble fly inspectors and the other would not. It was a warble fly war rather than an effort to rid our live stock of this disastrous infection. It was a political infection rather than a warble fly infection. We here are a non-political House but I hope that the non-politicians and the politicians in the House would regard this not as any Party issue but as a problem in respect of which the farming community, the graziers, the cattle feeders and everybody else should be appealed to on a national basis. If we had a three years' plan to eradicate this infestation, a plan which was undertaken with wholehearted co-operation, I believe that instead of having hides perforated as the hide I have shown the Seanad is perforated we would not have two hides in a thousand with holes in them.
Mr. O'Callaghan: I second the motion and I agree with Senator O'Donovan that this is a matter of extreme urgency. I am glad to have the opportunity of seconding the motion. I have seen it estimated that the damage due to warble fly each year amounts to about £3,000,000. I regarded that as an overestimate but, having listened to Senator O'Donovan,  I believe it is not an overestimate at all. The damage to the hide is considerable; the damage to the meat is considerable; and during the process of infection and while it is infected an animal does not thrive as well as it would in the ordinary way, so that there is considerable loss in that regard.
Mr. O'Callaghan: ——that they were regarded as being as much a pest as the warble fly. Things are different now, however, and the time now is more opportune than it was then, because the prices of cattle are very much better and the farmers would be in better humour to deal with the warble fly in the way in which it ought to be dealt with. Prices are better and are likely to continue to be better. From what I have seen of the new trade agreement, there will be a good opportunity for our live-stock raisers and cattle producers for some considerable years to come. I have seen hundreds of cattle from time to time and very rarely does one see an animal free from warble. I do not know whether anything could be done in the matter by the Young Farmers' Clubs or by Muintir na Tíre, by the Beet Growers' Association or even the Countrywomen's Association, but we recently had a good deal of propaganda with regard to tar in wool, propaganda which did an immense amount of good, and if we had the same propaganda in connection with warble fly—and the dead meat factories might take a hand in the game, as the wool merchants did in the case of wool—it would help a good deal.
This discussion here ought to be followed up by a substantial measure of advertising by the Department. I have no doubt that good results would flow from it. I suggest that if a dressing suitable for application in winter could be made available, it would be more satisfactory from the farmer's  point of view, because it is a more leisurely period of the year for the farmer and many of the cattle are housed at that time, so that it could be more easily and better done. I am in entire agreement with everything Senator O'Donovan has said.
Mr. Quirke: It is only right that we should congratulate Senator O'Donovan on his very instructive speech. I do not think anybody will disagree with me when I say that he is about the only man in the House who is really fitted to deal with the particular subject and it was quite evident to anybody listening to him that he has made an intensive study of the whole thing and knows it from beginning to end.
I think it is regrettable that the political bluefly had hit so many members of the House and that there were not more people here to listen to Senator O'Donovan's speech. I believe that it is only by intensive propaganda that results will be got as far as this warble fly is concerned. I am a great believer in effective propaganda, and while notices have been put in the newspapers by the Department of Agriculture I believe that they were not effective. The trouble in connection with the warble fly is that the farmer who is selling a beast will get the same thing for the beast with the hide infected with warble flies, or practically the same thing, as for a clean hide. Unless it can be brought home to farmers individually that they are going to lose money, I do not think you will get anywhere. I understand that there is some slight difference between the price paid for what Senator O'Donovan calls a clean hide and a hide infected with warble flies. I do not know exactly what the difference is, but probably it is not sufficient, and I think that the type of propaganda which you would want to get would be something in the nature of lantern slides or, if possible, a sort of picture in the local cinemas in rural villages or provincial towns showing, as Senator O'Donovan has pointed out, the terrific disadvantage of allowing the warble fly full scope.
I think that the amount of money  lost as a result of this is really staggering, but it is very difficult to bring that home to individual farmers. I believe that a considerable amount of money can be spent advantageously in propaganda, and I would ask the Minister or his officials to go into the possibilities of using lantern slides or having some pictures on the screen in cinemas in the country villages and the provincial towns.
I must say that I could not follow the line of argument which said that the warble fly was connected with politics. That is a matter I did not hear anything about before to-night; everybody else seems to understand it except myself. I think there was some talk by the ex-Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon—and nobody takes much notice of him—who said that the warble fly inspectors were all Fianna Fáil supporters.
Mr. Quirke: I think we should all congratulate Senator O'Donovan on his very interesting speech, and I hope that members of the House who were not here will at least read the speech from beginning to end. I believe that if we can get a campaign going with the whole-hearted support of every section of the House and possibly of every section of the other House, to get people talking about it, we will eventually get to the stage where any farmer would be ashamed to bring cattle into a fair unless they have been properly looked after and treated. If a farmer has a horse and the horse has got warble fly—for horses can be affected, though not so much as cattle —he would not go to bed at night until he got rid of the warble fly and took every step to deal with it. If he were unable to deal with it himself he would have a veterinary surgeon because of the disastrous effect it would have on the horse.
So far as cattle are concerned, particularly when it comes to the harvest or hay saving and that kind of thing, if somebody suggests: “We will have to do the cattle for the warble fly to-day” and if there is hay to be saved or corn to be looked after the tendency, I am afraid, is to let the warble fly  look after himself. Until we can get people to look into the thing from the national point of view, I am afraid it is hopeless, and the only way that can be done is by more and better propaganda.
Professor Hayes: I so seldom find myself in agreement with Senator Quirke that I cannot refrain from saying that I agree with him that Senator O'Donovan deserves congratulations, but I think that there my agreement with Senator Quirke concludes. Senator O'Donovan gave us an excellent exhibition of this warble fly and of what happens when the warble fly gets into an animal and how resultant damage is done to the animal to the loss of the farmers and of others.
I would like to congratulate Senator O'Donovan, and I think Senator Quirke, upon having abandoned the idea of compulsion and come over to the idea of persuasion preached so much by this particular side of the House for years, and I suppose we are to be satisfied that that is a certain amount of progress.
I heard about this warble fly before in the Dáil in listening to long debates on agriculture, about which probably there is much I never was able to understand. The discussion on various matters about warble flies was one of them. The thing I do not understand, even at present, is that if the farmer can find out whether the warble fly is in the hide or not why he does not take steps or be made to take steps to remove the warble fly. For example, is it necessary really to show slides in village halls or films about warble flies? I understand that the warble fly may be there in the animal at certain periods of the year, particularly in the spring, and that everybody knows what the remedy is. Surely, instead of spending money on propaganda, if you could convince the farmer that he would get less money for a hide that had warble fly and more, as I think Senator Quirke suggested, for a clean hide, you would have accomplished everything, because his own self-interest would surely carry him far enough on that. I know that the warble flies' damage does not  appear until afterwards. It struck me when Senator O'Donovan was talking that in that respect the warble fly resembles Fianna Fáil legislation—it is only when it gets going for a bit that you realise the bad effects of it. They are not apparent at first.
I entirely agree with the motion that there should be propaganda with regard to the harm done but I do not know why one should spend a great deal of money on it. I am informed that it is easily felt on the hides of cattle, that the farmers know that damage is being done, that where it gets into milch cows it reduces the amount of milk they give; and it seems to me quite clear that if the cattle were worth more to the farmer he would surely adopt the obvious and easily obtained remedy.
Mr. S. O'Donovan: Might I intervene to point out that that is the difficulty as far as the farmer is concerned? There is no loss in the sale of the animal because it has warbles as compared with the sale of the animal with no warbles. As far as the farmer is concerned he knows the warbles are there, but it is of no material concern to himself because, unfortunately, he will get the same price for the animal with the warbles as for the animal without them.
Professor Hayes: Then give more to the farmers. It seems to me that you will find it very hard to do any propaganda with them if you cannot prove it is in their interest, because they  would not worry. However, the situation is that there is very considerable damage done. Persuasion is the only thing that can help farmers. I was very glad that Senator O'Donovan did not make any suggestion of resumption of Orders, compulsion and inspection. He demonstrated very clearly that inspection is not practicable because it is not possible to prove whether the treatment has been given to the animal or not.
I would like to say seriously that Senator O'Donovan is to be congratulated on having made this matter so clear. It is one of the things about which there could be no difference of opinion, but it is not so simple to find a remedy because if the situation is that it does not make any difference to the farmer's personal interest whether he worries about this matter or not, then it will be very difficult to spread propaganda that will make him in his busy season take certain steps. Although Senator O'Donovan and Senator Quirke both tell me there is no difference, I have been told that animals which suffer from the warble fly give less milk and are in danger of hurting themselves at certain seasons of the year when gadding. If that is so, there should be an appeal not only to the farmer's national spirit, which he has always displayed a great deal, but also to his personal interest.
I hope the Parliamentary Secretary and the Department will find a method of doing some propaganda of a different kind than the issue of rather dull leaflets. I would like to suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that if politicians did their propaganda for by-elections and general elections the way the Department does its propaganda for farmers, they would not get in.
Mr. Hawkins: I just rise to join with others in congratulating Senator O'Donovan in having brought forward this motion and for the attention that it will probably focus on this very important subject and also to correct some illusion from which Senator Hayes suffers when he refers to compulsion. There was never at any time any compulsion in relation to this  warble fly. In an attempt to do what Senator O'Donovan asks on this motion should be done, a former Minister for Agriculture suggested and set up an organisation to have persons appointed who would call on farmers and advise them that the necessary steps to take to have this warble fly removed for good and all should be taken and instruct them in dressing, and so forth. These instructions were given, as far as I recollect, through the various county councils or committees of agriculture. The war intervened and for one reason or another that method was abandoned. It is not a question of being converted over to voluntary effort. The effort at that time was expected to be just as voluntary as it will be in any inducement that will be held out in the future through propaganda from any source.
My view on it is that it is not entirely correct to say that farmers suffer nothing in relation to the sale of the stock. The tanners in deciding on a price to pay for a hide, must take into consideration in the fixing of that price the number of hides and the great loss that will occur as a result of the damage caused by this fly; whereas if they were assured that each hide would be approved, they could offer the farmer a greater price. That is one angle together with the losses that may be sustained otherwise by the farmers in their everyday running of stock.
The one thing I do not like about the motion—while I agree with Senator O'Donovan—is that its appeal is on the style of appeals we hear every day: the Government must do something. We have various organisations throughout the country, the Young Farmers' Clubs, Muintir na Tíre and other organisations. I believe it is a question of educating the young farmers.
It also concerns the people dealing with shoes, boots or leather. They are the people who can rectify this position by insisting on obtaining proper hides. I agree with Senator Quirke that that is the right form of appeal. Whether it is an election campaign or anything else of that kind I believe that the best propaganda is in the form of a picture that would strike the people and arouse their curiosity.  Therefore by engaging a good artist it should be possible to put before the farmers a picture of the great national damage that is being done by this fly.
We had recently a campaign carried on by the wool buyers, and if the butchers, the tanners and other people interested in the hide business came together they should be able to put into the field an organisation that would allow the necessary propaganda to be distributed throughout the country. In that way, more than by Government action and more than by saying that it is a Fianna Fáil, a Fine Gael or any other Government scheme, it will be done by those interested in agriculture for the agricultural community.
Mr. O'Grady: I have pleasure in supporting the motion proposed by Senator O'Donovan. In doing so I would like to remove what may be a misapprehension in regard to the statement of Senator Hayes. He points out that the infection is obvious to the farmer when he sees the warbles on the backs of his animals and that it is quite easy to remove them.
Mr. O'Grady: That is the point I want to make: that at that stage it is not at all easy but, as Senator O'Donovan has said, it is dangerous even to attempt to remove them. They can be treated and have been treated and I think most intelligent farmers treat them at the present time. However, I think Senator O'Donovan wishes to make the thing universal, and by so doing to exterminate as far as possible what he seems to regard as public enemy No. 1—the warble fly.
There is no need to make a long speech on this. Everbody who understands anything at all about cattle would understand the necessity there is for a remedy. However, with regard to compulsion I would like to remind the House that there is in another sphere of farming activity a very strong measure of compulsion in force for a great many years; that is, the compulsory dipping of sheep. You  cannot expose sheep for sale on the market at certain periods of the year without producing a document proving that they have been dipped, and if a somewhat similar Order were made making it an offence to expose cattle for sale which have not been treated, it would go a long way towards bringing the laggards into line with the more progressive farmers.
Another thing that could have been done was pointed out by Senator O'Donovan, the contribution of propaganda by butchers. Let them contribute to more effective propaganda by giving a better price for the animal that has obviously a clean hide than for the one that has the warble. That would be the most effective type of propaganda because the people who are dealing in cattle from the early stage to the stage when it reaches the butcher will be mindful of the fact that a clean hide commands a higher price than an infected hide. That would bring home to everybody the necessity of eliminating as far as possible this warble fly which does such irreparable damage at certain seasons of the year, when the animals can be seen for a great number of hours every day galloping around the fields and even across ditches and often injuring themselves because they have no adequate protection against this pest. They stampede when they hear this fly coming. I agree with Senator O'Donovan that every possible step should be taken to try to get this fly eliminated if it is humanly possible to do so, but I do hope it does not become immune to the treatment that is at present being applied.
A great many other pests have become immunised after a period of years. We would like, if possible, to coax the people into treating their cattle as they have to treat their sheep. They are compelled to treat their sheep. I do not know whether it was under Senator Hayes's Government that that was brought in or not, but I think it was really older.
Mr. O'Grady: Even if it were only yesterday it was a good Order and a  sensible one. A similar Order would not impose any hardship. Most intelligent farmers are doing it and everyone else ought to follow that good example.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Bartley): I want to express on behalf of the Minister his regret at being unable to be present to deal with this motion. I can tell Senator O'Donovan that the Minister accepts the motion and can subscribe very fully to the case which he has made in support of it. There is general agreement about the need for dealing effectively with the warble fly infestation of cattle. The only aspect of the question, therefore, that I need refer to is the best method to achieve that desirable end. Compulsion is not contemplated, as the Department is not satisfied that it can be so applied as to have the desired effect.
Senator O'Grady drew an analogy with the compulsory sheep-dipping regulations to indicate that a method might be found there. The Department, however, feels that sheep and cattle are not quite comparable for treatment for disease or infestation of that sort. First, you have a very much greater number of cattle in the country than sheep and generally it is more convenient to bring flocks of sheep to a central place for their dipping than it would be to gather all the cattle of the country in a similar way for treatment.
The question of bringing home to the farmer the loss which is suffered by the sellers of hides which are warble fly infested is the difficult kernel of the problem. As Senator Quirke has said. the farmer does not suffer any loss in the sale of his animal whether the hide is infested or not. It is the man who flays the beast who has to stand the loss.
Senator O'Donovan suggested a treatment pigmented in some way which would indicate to the buyer at the fair that the treatment had been applied, but I understand that is something the farmer would object to very strongly, as animals displaying these coloured patches on the hide would receive, the farmer would expect and  believe, a much lesser price than if the animals were not so marked. These are examples of some of the difficulties which arise when it comes to finding a practical solution. The question as to the best method of bringing the matter home to the farmer is being tackled most energetically at present.
I should inform the Seanad that in February last the Department convened a meeting of interested bodies to discuss what publicity measures might be taken. Those present included representatives of the hide and tanning industries, the Irish Fresh Meat Exporters' Committee, the National Executive of the Irish Livestock Trade, the Dublin Master Victuallers' Association, and the manufacturers of warble dressings. It was decided that a combined advertising campaign should be undertaken and a sub-committee was formed which met early in March and again in April to co-ordinate publicity measures. Representatives of Macra na Feirme, Muintir Na Tíre and the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society were also present at the sub-committee meetings.
Radio: A broadcast discussion and a broadcast talk were arranged during March-April. Periodic announcements are also being broadcast reminding farmers of the necessity for dressing warble-infested cattle.
Lectures: Special reference to the need for dressing warble-infested cattle was made in the course of the veterinary lectures given at centres throughout the country during the early months of the year.
Circulars to farming organisations: County committes of agriculture, young farmers' clubs and guilds of  Muintir na Tíre have been circularised with a view to enlisting their co-operation in urging farmers to dress warble-infested cattle. The Irish Agricultural Organisation Society has also circularised creamery societies in the matter.
There is an outline of the activities of the Department and of all the various organisations and groups likely to be interested. This has all been brought about at the instance of the Department. Senators can rest assured that the Department is quite alive to the need for dealing with this problem as effectively as possible. It would be well to await the results of this campaign before any steps of a compulsory kind would be applied. I take it that compulsion really would be the fairest way if you had an easy and readily applied system of compulsion that would not be harsh.
It would be fairest for the reason that it would apply to everybody. The trouble about the voluntary method is that the person who is blind either to his own interests or to the national interests in this connection simply does not react to the voluntary appeal and that only the good citizen does. That is one of the shortcomings of the voluntary system. Nevertheless, taking into account our experience of the compulsory method applied in the past, the Minister for Agriculture is satisfied that the present campaign of publicity and of education should be tried out to the fullest. He is confident that, with a bit of patience and continuous effort over a period—not too prolonged —the desire of the Seanad, as expressed in this motion, will be achieved.
Mr. S. O'Donovan: I wish to express my thanks for the complimentary remarks of various Senators but I feel that they are not justified because, as far as I can make out, some of the speakers did not comprehend or grasp what I said. I do not want to say that Senator O'Callaghan was not listening to me but it is quite definite that winter dressing is an impossibility  because the warbles are not there in the winter. You have to wait until warble develops and you have to wait until the aperture, through which it ultimately comes out, develops. The derris powder must get into the little hole to affect the warble. Therefore, you cannot have winter dressing.
I hate the word “propaganda”: it sounds too much like Fine Gael. The Parliamentary Secretary used the word “education”. I am glad to find that he has mentioned most of the organisations which I mentioned and I may say that I am sorry that I did not mention the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society. I suppose that if Senator Baxter were here he would criticise me for not mentioning it.
Senator Quirke mentioned one further method of publicity which I had a note of but which I did not mention and that is through the picture houses and particularly the picture houses in rural areas. I think that that would be very effective.
Mention was made of the sheep-dipping Order. It is in print that those forms presented at fairs and markets are not worth the paper they are written on and the same thing would apply if you made a regulation providing that every person bringing cattle to a fair would have to declare that they had been treated. D.D.T. has eradicated scab more than the other dipping operations.
I am not against compulsion. I believe that, notwithstanding all our efforts and education to bring home to the people concerned the necessity for treating our cattle for personal and national interests, you will necessarily require some degree of compulsion in respect of the recalcitrants. The warble fly does not mind over whose fence it flies. If ten farmers in a townland decide to treat their cattle so as to ensure that they will be free from the pest, and if a few others in the same vicinity do not do so, then the efforts of the ten farmers will be well-nigh in vain. Therefore, you must have communal effort and you must have compulsion to some extent. I repeat that there should be a compulsory system as far as its control at public sales and public markets is concerned.
 With regard to a three-year publicity campaign, I think that the Minister or the Government will require some degree of compulsion to ensure that all our efforts through education and through appeals to the community will not be negatived by people who will say: “It does not matter to me. I am not going to do it.” The only way to ensure success is to have a definite Order that cattle must be dressed and that they are liable to supervision to ensure that they are dressed.
I still do not agree with the view that we could not get a dressing that would be recognisable to prove that the animals had been dressed. The present position is that nobody can say definitely: “You did not apply the dressing.”
My last point is in connection with the attack on the fly. The new leaflet issued by the Department says that, so far, any attempts at attacking the fly have been ineffective.  D.D.T. and Gamexane have practically eradicated sheep scab. The Department should further investigate the advisability of a solution of D.D.T. and Gamexane for application to the legs of cattle, be they milch cows or dry stock. It may not prevent the warble fly from laying the eggs because when it wants to lay them it comes like a streak of lightning but it would prevent it from laying further eggs. I appeal that further investigation be made in respect of attack on the fly.
So far, all the discussion has been on the attack on the warble before it becomes a fly. However, as it is now ten o'clock, I will ask the House to adopt this motion and, as the Parliamentary Secretary has agreed to accept it, I think we will have unanimity.
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