23 JUNE 1939, Page 3

The Poultry Industry The new Poultry Bill contains some valuable

provisions. For several years the increase of poultry disease has worried producers, the efficient egg-laying machine of the modern " battery system " succumbing to ills easily resisted by its barnyard predecessor. The registration of producers of breeding stock is almost indispensable to the work of build- ing up more resistant strains, and the scheme of premiums payable to accredited breeders of high-grade poultry should benefit the whole industry. Compulsory grading of eggs by wholesalers (the producer-retailer is exempt) will remove a long-standing grievance of the housewife, and the modest financial encouragement to co-operative packing stations is a really sensible piece of minor collectivism. The remaining provisions of the Bill, however, are of the restric- tive stamp which has become so drearily familiar since 1932. The Board of Trade is given power to regulate imports by quantity " if it appears . . . desirable to secure the stability of the market." The prospect of a further extension of the quota system, less economically defensible than any tariff, would be lamentable in any case ; it is the more lamentable when one reflects that the hardest-hit foreign producers will be those of Denmark, already subject to German pressure as the providers of a potential war larder.