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Service nor Mr. Taylor had reason to believe that the use of arsenic in this particular instance would result in the poisoning of any cattle. Nevertheless, the employees of both the Government and the Cattle Co. were kept fully advised even to the extent of using maps as to the areas which were, from time to time, being treated with poison. Grazing practices were along the same general lines that previously had produced no ill effects. As soon as the first death occurred, however, an examination of the carcass was made and traces of arsenic, in sufficient quantity to be fatal, were found. Although the remaining cattle were promptly removed from the area, a total of 33 eventually died.
We have not been able to ascertain definitely why the cattle were poisoned in this particular instance but were not poisoned in previous cases. One theory is that lack of rain, which would have washed the poison off the grass, was responsible. Another possibility is that the cattle were somewhat younger than the cattle which grazed on land where previous experimental work was performed, and, for the reason that the yearlings were smaller than the grown stock, grazed closer around the treated trees, thus consuming poisoned leaves, branches, etc., which were not reached by the older cattle.
In view of the uncertainty as to why these cattle were poisoned, we do not believe that either the Soil Conservation Service or Mr. Taylor was really negligent. However, since the damage was the direct result of research being conducted by the Government, we believe it would be unfair for Mr. Taylor to assume the loss merely because he was cooperative enough to permit the Government to conduct these experiments on his ranch. In our opinion, therefore, Mr. Taylor should be reimbursed for the loss.
The original claim of the Jay Taylor Cattle Co. was in the amount of $2,772, based on an average weight of 600 pounds per head at a market value of 14 cents per pound in March 1943, which was a fair market price at that time. The aifference in the amount of the present bill and the above figures is accounted for by expense that Mr. Taylor incurred in veterinary fees in an attempt to save the cattle after they had eaten the poison. In view of the above facts, it is recommended that the bill be favorably reportea for the sum of $2,814.50.
The Bureau of the Budget advises that it has no objection to the submission of this report.
Although the Seventy-eighth Congress has adjourned, this report is being submitted for the information and files of your committee. Sincerely,
GROVER B. Hill,
AMARILLO, TEX., May 4, 1943. Soil CONSERVATION SERVICE, United States Department of Agriculture,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: Enclosed is claim for $2,814.50 for loss of 33 grade Hereford steer yearlings killed by arsenic poison on your mesquite eradication project in our jog pasture in Oldham County, Tex. No claim is being made for damage to cattle that recovered, loss of the use of this pasture of approximately 2,000 acres, which would have a cash rental value of 50 to 60 cents per acre and which we felt would have been worth more than this to us, or for anticipated profits on these cattle. However, we estimate their value to us this fall would have been from $100 to $110 per head. The steers were moved to the pasture the afternoon of March 14.
One was found dead the 17th and one the 18th. Upon finding the second steer dead we decided to move out early the next morning. There were 6 more dead the 19th and 2 sick, the sick ones being past the stage where treatment would do them any good. Upon rounding up the twentieth there were 18 more sick and a veterinarian was taken out and these, as well as other cases that developed later, were treated under his direction and approximately one-third of those treated recovered. We did everything we could to hold the losses as low as possible.
Mr. C. Q. Williams, who was in charge of the project, reported that laboratory tests on the second steer found dead showed arsenic poisoning; however, the report was received on the 19th after the cattle had been moved out of the pasture. The veterinarian stated that he would diagnose the trouble as arsenic poisoning, and it is my understanding that tests run on the grass taken from this pasture showed arsenic on it. We have had no trouble of this kind since moving out of
H. Repts., 79-1, vol. 176
this pasture, or on any other part of the ranch, and feel that it is definitely established that arsenic used in killing the mesquite caused the death of these steers.
It is our understanding that at first the poisoning was done by brushing it on the stumps, which were close to the ground, and putting some dirt over them; then, the dirt was left off, and later a spray gun was used in spraying the poison on the stumps, sprouts, and on the trees; and either carelessly or accidentally, the ground and grass in the area was sprayed with the poison. "No dirt or brush was put on the stumps or around the trees and no precautions were taken to prevent cattle from grazing in the poisoned areas and it had been dry for several months and none of the poison had been washed off. Apparently, as soon as the cattle spread out over the pasture they got the poison quickly.
This was the only winter pasture we had left that had not been grazed and we wanted to get some benefit out of it as well as to cooperate with Mr. Williams, who had suggested that cattle be put in it so that their grass consumption could be recorded. We did not know that the poisoning procedure had been changed and naturally did not think that it would be dangerous to put cattle in the pasture, since no losses were Custained when cattle were in it before. Upon questioning Mr. Williams later, he stated that it was reported from the Arizona project that the arsenic poisoning method was dangerous but that no losses had been recorded there. If we had known that it was considered dangerous we could have put a few cheap calves in the pasture and probably could have learned at a nominal cost that it could not be safely used.
We feel that we have cooperated with you fully in the operation of this project and have been glad to do what we have done to help you keep this experiment going. It is important that the work be carried on until a safe and economical method of eradicating the mesquite is found, otherwise much of the range country in the Southwest will be so badly infested in a few more years that it will not have much practical value for grazing purposes. However, under the circumstances we feel that the other losses and expenses sustained in connection with the loss of the cattle are all that we should be expected to stand and that we should be reimbursed for the loss of the cattle, and we hope that you will be able to approve this claim. Yours very truly,
Jay TAYLOR CATTLE Co., By W. S. EAKENS.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
Soil CONSERVATION SERVICE,
Fort Worth, Tex., April 30, 1943. The Jay TAYLOR CATTLE Co.,
Amarillo, Ter. (Attention Mr. W. S. Eakens.) GENTLEMEN: We have your letter of April 14, in which you advised that you wish to file claim for $2,772 for loss of 33 grade Hereford steer yearlings from arsenic poisoning on the mesquite eradication project conducted by the Soil Conservation Service in your jog pasture in Oldham County, Tex. We certainly regret the loss that you have sustained and hope that you will accept our synipathies on it.
The only type of claim which can be considered by this Service is one which comes within the terms of the Small Claims Act, 31 U. S. C. 215, which act limits the amount of claims which can be considered by the Department to an amount not exceeding the sum of $1,000.
Therefore this Service cannot consider your claim, and in view of the immunity of the Government from suit, your only recourse is to have your Representative or Senator introduce a private bill in the Congress for your relief in the matter.
We appreciate the cooperation Mr. Taylor, you and his employees have given in the operation of the mesquite eradication project and also your attitude and cooperation in the continuance of such project, and hope that, as a result of the experiments being carried on, an economic, satisfactory, and safe method of eradicating mesquite growth in range areas may result from such work. We shall work with you in seeing that every precaution is taken to prevent any further losses on plots where eradication work is being carried out.
As it is probable that this Service will be called upon for a complete record of the facts in connection with the death of the steer yearlings referred to in your claim, Mr. Earl M. Deterly from this office will arrive in Amarillo Monday, May 3,
1943, and we will appreciate it if you can arrange to discuss the matter with him and also arrange it so that he may have an opportunity to visit the ranch and discuss the matter with your ranch foreman, Mr. Lawson Stevens, while he is in Amarillo. Very truly yours,
H. N. SMITH, Acting Regional Conservator.
AMARILLO, Tex., April 14, 1948.
Washington, D. C.
poisoning, between Mar. 17 and 22, 1943. Average weight 600
$2, 772. 00 Panhandle Veterinary Hospital (statement attached).
2, 814. 50 The arsenic poison was being used in killing mesquite on the United States Soil Conservation mesquite eradication project in our jog pasture in Oldham County, Tex.
Amarillo, Tex., April 1, 1948. Jar TAYLOR CATTLE Co.,
$12. 50 2 c dextro calcinate...
15. 00 4 pounds magnesium oxide..
4. 00 7 pounds ferric hydroxide..
1. 00 10 gallons mineral oil...
10. 00 Total...
42. 50 Dr. E. F. LANHAN.
MURPHY & WISCHMEYER
FEBRUARY 22, 1945.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and
ordered to be printed
Mr. McGEHEB, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the
[To accompany H. R. 1150)
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1150) for the relief of Murphy & Wischmeyer, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
The purpose of the proposed legislation is to authorize the Comptroller General of the United States to adjust and settle the claim of Murphy & Wischmeyer on account of the increased cost incurred in the performance of a contract, dated January 5, 1942, with the Federal Works Agency, by reason of unavoidable delays on the part of other contractors in the construction and completion of the defense housing project at East Alton, Ill., such sum not to exceed $3,323.90.
This proposed legislation was submitted to the Speaker of the House by the Comptroller General for consideration. Your committee recommend favorable consideration to the bill, and append letter from the Comptroller General, which is self-explanatory. COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, December 22, 1944. The Congress:
Pursuant to the act of April 10, 1928 (45 Stat. 413), I have the honor to make the following report and recommendation concerning the claim of Murphy & Wischmeyer, St. Louis, Mo., for additional compensation to cover certain architectural-engineering services furnished by the said firm in connection with the construction of 200 prefabricated demountable housing units as part of defense housing project No. Ill. 11082, East Alton, Ill., under contract No. WA-1064, dated January 5, 1942, entered into with the Federal Works Agency.
Naturally, it was realized by the architect-engineers that the period of timo during which they would be required to furnish field and supervisory services on the project was a material factor for consideration in fixing the price for which they would agree to perform the contract. Consequently, the question as to the period of performance of the construction work was discussed with the contracting officer prior to the execution of the contract and that official appears to have advised the architect-engineers that he anticipated a short period of performance