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Wednesday, 25 March 1942

It has always been my opinion that Cysticercosis of cattle is relatively unimportant from the point of view of meat supply which is adequately controlled. The essential control consists, of course, of efficient meat inspection.

The Victorian Health Act by its meat supervision regulations provides for the condemnation of the carcass in the event of the presence of cysticercus bovis being present.

Efficient meat inspection therefore, should be a practical safeguard against cyst-infested meat reaching the public; should a very light infestation escape detection, the chances in Australia of such meat infesting a human being is remote, as light cooking destroys the larvae.

When compared with serious parasitic dipeases such as Trichinosis in which the larval stage of the worm in pig meat is microscopic and therefore unable to be detected by macroscopic meat inspection, the risk of infestation of human beings with the tape worm from beef measles cysts, is very small indeed.

In the United States of American Cysticercosis is a minor problem by this very fact that efficient meat inspection is able to deal with it. Nor does Cysticercosis appear to effect export trade providing that the exporting country has an efficient meat inspection system. As mentioned, the disease is present in the United States of America: it is also very common in African territories many of which are building up export trade in meat with Britain. It is all a question of efficient meat inspection.

One provision is required, in my opinion, in the marketing of the beef from the Board of Works Farm at Werribee, namely, that the cattle be sold for direct slaughter at abattoir!! employing full-time meat inspectors, who. preferably, are under veterinary control such as are the meat inspectors of the Commonwealth Export Branch of the Department of Commerce.

It will be clear from the reports that I have read that Werribee beef is not different from beef sold in many other parts of the world. A great deal of the beef sold in the United States of America and Africa is similar to Werribee beef, yet it may be exported to the United Kingdom. I have made a detailed and lengthy investigation of the case against the marketing of Werribee beef, and I now describe the whole thing as " a racket ". The lifting of the ban is being opposed only by grazing interests operating in the outer districts of Victoria, who fear the competition of Werribee beef. The ban will not be lifted upon my own authority. I made a definite request to the Premier of Victoria to lift it. When he refused to do so I gave the closest attention to the subject, and subsequently made a recommendation which Cabinet has adopted. Honorable members who object to the lifting of this ban should realize that we are facing an acute shortage of beef. Moreover, cattle in other parts of the Commonwealth are quite likely to become infected to the degree that Werribee cattle axe infected. But the public is being amply safeguarded by the rigid system of inspection that is applied. The Attorney-General's Department is at present drafting regulations to provide for the lifting of the ban, and I hope that they will be issued at an early date.







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