The Public Health (Tuberculosis) Regulations, 1912, came into force on February 1st, 1913

Walsall Advertiser 17th May, 1913:

Walsall Council minutes

Milk Supply. The Tuberculosis Order of the Board of Agriculture came in for a certain amount of discussion, which was initiated by the chairman of the Cattle Diseases Committee (Councillor Peter Bull.) We are promised that the carrying out of this Order will involve increased expenditure in consequence of the administrative machinery which it proposes to set up, and that we may also look forward to a rise in the price of milk. The interesting fact was mentioned by the Chairman of the committee that of samples of milk taken in the borough, during the year there were only eight prosecutions three of these being of a simple character. This certainly reflects credit on the milk-sellers of Walsall.

Caution Necessary

Councillor Ward said he agreed with a great deal which the Chairman of the Committee had said. They wanted to be rather cautious to how they put that Order into force, because if they took too stringent a course and brought too hard pressure to bear, they condemned three parts of the cattle in this country. To a certain extent he was very pleased that the Order had been passed, because the cowkeepers and milk-producers in the borough had been subjected to restrictions to which those producing milk and living outside the the borough had not been subjected. He would say without fear of contradiction that he thought that a significant percentage of the milk which had been sold in the borough had not been produced in the borough at all. In some places it had been produced under what one might call shocking conditions, but he was pleased to know that the Order would have the effect of compelling such people to abide by the same restrictions had in the borough.

Milk Prices

At the start of the 1914-18 War there were rising complaints about the price of milk. Tinned condensed milk was now widely available and increasing in use.

Walsall Advertiser 20th February, 1915:

Why should feeding babies properly increase the price of milk, and cause parents to rush for condensed milk. Many poor people today are unable to buy pure milk on account of the price, and must, perforce drink their tea and coffee neat, or use condensed milk.

Possibility of an early price increase: Birmingham milk sellers are already discussing the possibility of a rise in the price of milk before winter prices are reached. Householders complain that the price of milk never, even in summer, sinks to the same reasonable level it used to stand at. Large milk producers blamed the local cowkeepers for keeping the price of milk low, especially in summer.

Retail Competitors

Mr. Simcox, dairy farmer, said that unfortunately for him he was selling his milk the same as Mr. Clews at 3d. per quart, and as he was a larger wholesaler than a buyer, it was impossible for him, under the present conditions to sell it at a higher price. The difficulty was that there were scattered throughout the locality a number of small cow-keepers, who always got plenty of milk in the summer. They retailed their milk at 3d and sometimes 2d in the summer. Consequently they were faced with customers in the winter who expected them to supply the milk at 3d. Three times he had raised his milk, and three times he had had return to the usual prices. Some Customers had even gone to the length of calling indignation meeting to protest against the prices. He could not afford to produce and retail his milk at 3d any more than the man who bought his supplies, but it was the competition amongst these small cow-keepers. He did not think it would be possible to raise the retail price until September, because there were plenty of people who would continue to sell the milk at their own price and they (the farmers) could not stop them.

This was at the start of the First World War.

Very soon the action of the army in buying up large quantities of animal feed for the horses in France would force up the price of feed and the price of milk would double.

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