HC Deb 22 February 1877 vol 232 cc828-30

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether the Cattle Plague or Rinderpest has appeared beyond the limits of the metropolis; if so, whether he will state the names of the places where it has broken out, and what steps have been taken to stamp out the disease?


Since the Question has been on the Paper I have been informed by hon. Members on both sides of the House that they would like more than a bare Answer to my hon. and gallant Friend's Question. Therefore, with the indulgence of the House, I will state what has occurred with respect to the metropolis since the discovery of cattle plague in Limehouse on the 31st January. The disease has been detected in nine other cowsheds in the districts of Poplar, Blackwall, Millwall, Stepney, Bow, and Hackney. Beyond the limits of the metropolis it has been discovered in two sheds at Stratford, and in one at Canning Town, in the county of Essex. In each case the diseased animals and those in the same shed with them have been slaughtered, and the premises have been disinfected under the direction of the local authority. I am sorry to say it has gone beyond Essex now. On the 17th instant information was received of the existence of the cattle plague in a dairy at Hull; and on the same night the Inspector of the Privy Council stationed at that port telegraphed that he had seen five cows infected with the disease in a dairy in Hill Street. On the 18th, an Inspector was sent from the Veterinary department to Hull to advise the local authorities that none of the cattle which were exposed for sale in the market on the following day should be allowed to go into the country; and further, that an examination should be made of all the dairies in the town. These precautions were at once adopted by the local authority, and all cattle in the fat-stock market on the Monday were sent to the defined part of the market for slaughter. All the cattle in the Hill Street dairy were slaughtered and buried. On the night of the 20th, cattle plague was detected in another dairy, in Adelaide Street, near the shed where the disease first appeared, and on the next day (yesterday) the disease was detected in another shed in Hill Street. I will now state what general measures have been taken to arrest the progress of the plague. A cordon has been put round the metropolis. No animals are allowed to leave it alive, and fairs and markets are prohibited, except by licence. The same measures have been taken respecting the southern part of Essex, the East Riding, and the City of York. Importation of all cattle has been forbidden from Germany and Belgium. Importation has been forbidden for some time from Russia. All cattle coming from the Netherlands and France must be slaughtered at the port of debarkation. Healthy cattle may come into the markets after examination and detention from Spain, Portugal, and Denmark. The latter country has no diseased cattle within its boundaries, and these countries have never had the cattle plague. If any single animal is found to have any serious disease when first landed, all animals that have been in contact with it are immediately slaughtered. I can assure my hon. and gallant Friend that the Lord President is most anxious, in the interest both of the consumers and producers and the country generally, to do all in his power to prevent the spread of this terrible disorder. But, at the same time, it is essential to be very careful not to interfere more than is absolutely necessary for this purpose with the operations of the cattle traffic, which, it is needless to say, are of the greatest importance to the whole population of the country.


May I ask the noble Lord, if he has any information as to how the cattle plague arrived at Hull—whether it came direct from Germany, or whether it is supposed to have come from London, and if direct from Germany, by what ship?


I am sorry that I cannot now give the right hon. Gentleman detailed information, but I believe it came direct from Germany. Perhaps the right hon Gentleman will put his Question on the Paper.