§ Lieut.-Colonel Acland-Troyte
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that the breeding of heavy farm horses in this country is already beginning to decline; and whether, in view of the fact that agricultural conditions in this country will always require horse transport in addition to mechanical transport, and that the present expansion of agriculture is likely to necessitate increased transport facilities for many years to come, he can arrange to reconsider his recent decision to withdraw entirely the grants for heavy-horse breeding and setup an investigation into the possibility of evolving some other scheme for assisting this essential agricultural activity?
§ Sir R. Dorman-Smith
With regard to the first part of the Question, the Agricultural Returns for England and Wales for 1939 showed a decline of 2,209 (or nearly 6 per cent.) under the heading of heavy horses under one year old as compared with 1938. On the other hand, the total number of stallions returned as being used for service in 1939 showed an increase of 653 (or over 16 per cent.) over the corresponding figure for 1938. Any subsequent change in the position will be reflected in the Returns for 1940 to be taken on 4th June. With regard to the latter part of the Question, I would refer my hon. and gallant Friend to the344W reply given on 14th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Sir R. Gower).