HC Deb 22 February 1866 vol 181 c899

said, he wished to ask the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether, in view of the Order in Council 4th July, 1865, and also of the Order 19th February, 1866, relating to "sheep-pox or variola ovina," his attention has been given to the Eighth Report of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Customs, in which that disorder is termed "scab or variola ovina," the first name implying a disease not uncommon in this country, and very easily cured; and whether he has noticed, in the same Report and page (26), that mention is made of Diseases which are sometimes erroneously supposed to be peculiar to Foreign Cattle, but which in reality have existed in the United Kingdom many years before the importation of Foreign animals commenced.


replied, that he had read the Report, and the passage to which the hon. Baronet had refered was this— The sheep affected by scab or variola ovina are rather more than 1 per cent. He could not believe, however, that the Commissioners really intended to say that "scab" and "variola ovina" were syno-nymus, as they differed in much the same way as itch and smallpox in the human frame. The opinion expressed in the latter part of the Question was a very safe and very possibly a sound one. But from whatever places they came they were now seated in the country. Whether the rinderpest or the variola ovina was imported or not seemed a matter of little importance. The vital question was, were they contagious, were they likely to spread, and what were the precautions to be taken against them? Precautions had been taken. Out of seventy sheep lately imported from Copenhagen into Northamptonshire eight had the variola ovina, and of a neighbouring flock of eighty-eight ten had died and ten were suffering. The district had been isolated, and, whatever the opinion of the hon. Baronet might be, the general belief was that absolute isolation ought to be enforced.