HC Deb 31 July 1872 vol 213 cc213-4

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether, since answering the Question put to him in the early part of the day by the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. C. S. Read), he had obtained any further information relating to the spread of rinderpest among German cattle?


said, that since he answered the Question his noble Friend (the Marquess of Ripon) and himself had gone into all the information they could obtain, and found out that of the three cargoes which came from Hamburg with cattle plague, the last two contained German cattle, among which cattle plague existed; and that, as far as they could ascertain, there were no Russian cattle in the same ships. That was a different fact from what he had gathered that morning, and the result was that they were obliged to conclude that cattle plague existed at Hamburg. They had, therefore to consider whether they could permit the Order to remain in force by which Schleswig-Holstein cattle were allowed to come into this country free, without being slaughtered at the port of landing. With cattle plague existing at Hamburg, they felt that the cattle trade with Schleswig-Holstein could not be deemed safe, and, therefore, the Privy Council found themselves reluctantly compelled to cancel that Order. They were also obliged to schedule sheep coming from Germany; that was to say, to require them to be slaughtered at the port of landing. The position of Schleswig-Holstein cattle, therefore, would be what it was a month or two ago; and all German cattle and sheep would have to be slaughtered at the port of landing. He was very sorry for the inconvenience that would thus be occasioned to the trade, but it was, he thought, impossible to adopt any other course than that which he had described, with the cattle plague existing at the chief German port. Hitherto, they had prohibited all import from countries where cattle plague prevailed. But he hoped that the German Government would take speedy and effectual steps to stamp out the plague completely, by which means that serious inconvenience to the trade might be obviated. But whatever inconvenience to the trade might arise from a partial prohibition, it would not affect the price of meat so much as the spread of the cattle plague would do.