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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Improvement in Breed of Horses—A Tax on Stallions

Improvement in Breed of Horses—A Tax on Stallions

The next question was the taxation of stallions, and on this subject the Sub-Committee remarked as follows :—"Is it desirable that stallions should be taxed? There can be no doubt but that the horse stock of the colony has not improved during the past few years. Anyone attending the stallion parades throughout the colony must have observed the general degeneracy which has taken place in that class of stock. Hundreds of nondescript animals which are used as sires never put in an appearance at parades. This degeneracy may in some measure be accounted for on the ground that the demand up till recently has been too limited. But now it has been proved that animals of a suitable class, such as can easily be bred in New Zealand, find a ready market in India for military purposes. Australia also offers a market for other descriptions of horses which can also be bred here with advantage. Some hold that the best means of bringing about the desired improvement would be by imposing a tax on all stallions; that such a measure would drive a large number of worthless weeds out of service. It is, however, thought that stallions are not always to blame for the degeneracy referred to, for, as a rule, the owners of some of our very best horses do not hesitate, even though it be against the interest of their horses, to accept for service mares of a most useless character, which, to say the least, should never be bred from.

Mr E. T. Rhodes moved—"That all stallions over two years be taxed to the amount of £15; age to count from November 1st; and ponies under fourteen hands be taxed to the amount of £5. Horses in training for racing purposes to be excepted." In the Timaru district he knew of the most wretched screws travelling about with the result that the progeny was stunted.

Captain Willis seconded the motion.

In reply to Mr Grigg,

Mr Rhodes said that he would propose-to apply the tax to the various Agricultural and Pastoral Associations.

Messrs Wanklyn and Kyngdom spoke, stating that though in favour of the motion individually, their Associations were opposed to it.

Mr Fitzroy said that this subject had been considered by the Hawke's Bay Association, and they had proposed that the tax should be applied towards a prize to be given to the stallion taking the prize at the show, provided his owner undertook to travel at a low rate in the district, thus giving the small farmers a chance of a good horse.

Mr Calder was opposed to any taxation on horses except on those taking money from the public in the shape of service fees.

Mr Pashby could not see that they should tax horses any more than sheep, cattle, or pigs. There was not encouragement in the market at present for men to get good horses.

Mr Olson asked the mover to reduce the tax to £10.

Mr Allison opposed the tax. How were they to discover whether horses were unsound or not unless they had a veterinary inspection.

Mr Bidwell did not object to a tax on stallions, but he objected to the way in which Mr Rhodes had worded his resolution. He would move as an amendment—"That a tax of £10 be imposed on all stallions, and £5 on pony stallions under 14 hands, used throughout the colony for stud purposes either publicly or privately; that all such stallions be registered annually with the Stock Department. Any owner of a stallion not being registered, and such stallion being found serving mares, the owner to be liable to a penalty of not less than £ and not more than £ tor each offence. Any tax collected to be distributed amongst the several Agricultural and Pastoral Associations in the provincial district in which it is collected, and to be expended by them in special prizes in the horse classes." It had been admitted on all hands that the horses were deteriorating in the colony, and he put it down simply to the use of these inferior stallions.

Mr McLean seconded the amendment, but asked Mr Bidwell to add that the prize horses should be veterinarily examined. He thought it would be a very good thing if all horses to whom prizes had been awarded should be examined by a veterinary surgeon.

Captain Willis was in favour of the suggestion made by Mr McLean.

Mr Cuthbertson said that his Association had decided, after a lengthy discussion, that it was inadvisable that stallions should be taxed, because it was an interference with the private rights of individuals.

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Messrs Weston, Gough, and Waby spoke against the resolution and amendment.

Mr Cuntngham Smith said the farmers in the Taieri district were in favour of this tax, but as there was no prospect of the resolution or amendment being carried he would not take any steps to carry out these views.

Mr Brown said that the reason why the Hawke's Bay Association had pushed this matter was to get at the Maoris, who had a very wretched lot of horses.

Mr Coleman Philips objected to the delegates coming there merely to repressers the views of their Societies. What they had come there for was to try and get the best information they could, and see what could be done for the improvement of stock. ("No, no.") Well, that was his idea. He said that they should impose a small tax for their own protection, as it has nothing whatever to do with the Government. It was a question for the Agricultural and Pastoral Associations, who would hand back the tax to the successful stallion.

Mr Sinclair said that they had a good market for their horses in Australia and elsewhere, and it would be a good thing to endeavour to do what they could to keep up the high reputation New Zealand horses had achieved.

Mr Orbell strongly urged the imposition of the tax, as tending to do great good.

Mr John Grigg said that a tax on stallions would be not only in the interests of the horse breeder but the colony in general. He did not believe in a high tax, because people had to be educated up to the benefits of taxing stallions. He said most emphatically that there was an excellent market for really good horses, but it was no use sending weeds. As showing that the tax proposed by Mr Rhodes was too high, he would point out that in the Ashburton district they had forty stallions, which meant a tax of £600. He feared that if their Society got this amount they would suffer from the embarrassment of riches.

Mr Rhodes withdrew his motion in favour of Mr Bidwell's amendment.

Mr Bidwell urged that the delegates, who personally were in favour of this tax though their Societies were against it, might vote for his amendment, because they would have to report to their Associations, and then the whole question would have to be fought out.

Mr Wanklyn urged that on division the names of members be recorded.

The Chairman ruled that as this had not been done in the past he should rule against it.

The amendment was put, and carried by 22 to 14.

Mr Carswell moved—"That all mares travelling to an entire be carried on the-railway lines one way free." The speaker urged that as show stock was allowed to travel one way free his idea might be also-carried out.

Mr Sinclair seconded the resolution.

Mr J. Grigg could not support this, because they were going to the Government asking them to give them a special concession in the matter of carrying out their business. The drapers might just as well ask to have their goods carried free.

The motion was put and lost by a large-majority.

Mr D. Thomas moved—"That no stallion shall be used for breeding purposes unless his owner shall have first obtained a certificate of hereditary soundness from a duly qualified veterinary surgeon appointed for that purpose."

Mr Douglas McLean seconded the motion.

After some discussion, in which Messrs Bidwell and Kyngdom took part, the motion was carried on the voices.