HC Deb 27 June 1878 vol 241 cc332-408

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [24th June], "That the Bill be now read a second time."

And which Amendment was, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, the slaughter at the ports of landing of all fat cattle from the Continent would restrict the supply and increase the cost of food, and should therefore not be made compulsory under all circumstances by Act of Parliament,"—(Mr. William Edward Forster,) —instead thereof.

Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

Debate resumed.


said, that if the Bill were allowed to pass a second reading, all the various questions affected could be discussed in Committee, and hon. Members would then be able to arrive at a just and fair decision upon them. It had been said in respect to the Aberdeen trade that the live animal trade was greater than the dead meat trade; and an hon. Friend of his had said that that might perhaps be owing to the excessive railway charge for the carriage of dead meat. It had also been stated that the live animal trade from America was now surpassing the dead meat trade; and if that were so, it would be an argument, to some extent, in favour of the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). If it be argued that the dead meat trade from the Continent at present was greater than the live animal trade, it would be immediately answered that if the five countries in Europe which were free from any kind of disease were permitted to send their animals under certain restrictions and conditions, it was possible that the live animal importation might exceed the dead meat trade, and that the dead meat trade might also increase on the Continent. When one set of arguments were set against another, and one set of statistics were arranged against another set, he thought the matter had better be left to hon. Gentlemen for decision, and a decision would be best arrived at in Committee, where full consideration and weight would be given to every matter of detail. He was not enamoured of the slaughtering clause in the Schedule, and, unless there was conclusive evidence that it was necessary for the protection of the agricultural interests of this country, he should not be inclined to support it; but if such conclusive evidence were forthcoming, he would support it. Suggestions had been thrown out by some supporters of the Bill which seemed to point to some modification of the Schedule and of the restrictions as affecting the five countries that had been named; and if the Government gave their countenance to these suggestions, it was possible that this debate might be shortened. In the matter of cattle plague and of pleuro-pneumonia, the clauses of the Bill provided for complete isolation and for the slaughtering of cattle. So far, it appeared to him that that part of the Bill was perfectly efficient for the purpose. There ought to be no difference between the regulations for England and those for Ireland with regard to pleuro-pneumonia. As to the cattle plague, there was to be no difference; but he would point out that in the case of England, regulations would be carried out with greater efficiency. While in England regular professional Inspectors were considered and proved to be necessary for the purpose of detecting diseases, in the case of Ireland it was provided that the detection should be left in the hands of any ordinary person that might be appointed by the Board of Guardians. If Clause 71 were passed in its present state, there would not be sufficient control to insure the stamping out of the disease. In the case of Ireland, the owners of cattle would not have that respect for the rules and regulations issued by any ordinary individual that they would have for those which might be promulgated by a professional In spector. The Chief Secretary for Ireland had the credit of being cognizant of the good qualities of a horse, and he hoped that that right hon. Gentleman was acquainted with the best professional people who would advise him as to the best means of keeping the cattle disease out of Ireland. There was another matter with which the Bill did not deal, and with which it ought to deal—namely, the inspection of cattle on embarkation. They ought to provide that inspection at the port of embarkation in Ireland should be sufficient. That would provide a bill of health for the purchaser in England. This Bill, in that it was a Consolidation Bill, was a valuable one for Ireland. The cattle trade of Ireland was the greatest interest they had, and this Bill would promote a consolidation of regulations, which was very much to be desired. They had now a number of Acts which were difficult to grapple with; whereas, if they had a single Act of Parliament pointing out what they were to do, and competent Inspectors to tell the people they must do it, a great point would be gained. The Irish people did not breed pure shorthorns. Perhaps about 20 gentlemen in Ireland did, but that was merely for the purpose of improving the other breeds. But to make a law for them, which would be a law against the rest of the community, to protect 20 people at the expense of 5,000,000, would be most extraordinary. There were three classes of cattle in Ireland— the old breed of the country, the half-breed, and the shorthorns. The old breed was altogether free from disease. He had never known a caso of pleuro-pneumonia or foot-and-mouth disease among them. But it was not a remunerative breed; they were not, with the exception of the small Kerry, productive of milk, nor were they productive of meat. But the half-breeds were subject to foot-and-mouth disease, and the mode prescribed by this Bill for dealing with the disease would be ineffectual, unless professional Inspectors were appointed. Parliament ought not to make laws in favour of the hothouse plant as against the hardy plant, but for the benefit of the cattle of the country generally. However, they might yet make the Bill in Committee complete and effective for its purpose. He wished to point out to the Treasury Bench that if they wished to have a Bill for the whole of the United Kingdom, they must adapt its provisions to the peculiar circumstances of each country. If they wanted very stringent measures for England, they must confine them to England, and not extend the same stringent measures to Ireland, which was an exporting country. They ought to look at the state of the country for which they were legislating. To place very stringent restrictions on the Irish cattle trade would, in his opinion, as far as Ireland was concerned, be the case of killing "the goose" which laid the golden eggs. The interests of Ireland were your own interests, and the Irish Members were determined, at all events, to support the interests of their country. If the Government were prepared to answer the arguments which had been brought forward on that side of the House, and to take them into consideration when the Bill was in Committee, and if they were also willing to accept the suggestions from the other side that certain European countries should be exempted from the provisions of the Bill, then they might obtain for the people of this country an abundant supply of good meat, and take every argument from those who were at present opposed to this measure.


The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) was quite right in impressing upon our attention that the Bill is wide in its scope, and is not limited to the Amendment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). It contains many admirable provisions in regard to cattle diseases generally, and would remain a good Bill—indeed, in my opinion, a much better Bill—if the Schedule to which he chiefly objects were removed. I am not in the least terrified by severe methods for the extirpation of disease, for I was one of the majority of the Cattle Plague Commissioners of 1865 who recommended the stamping-out process which has proved so effectual. The storm of objection and ridicule which that measure at first encountered was a violent whirlwind in comparison with the strong, though increasing, gale which is now blowing on the Government proposals in regard to foreign cattle in this Bill. I am, therefore, rather on the side of strong measures than otherwise for the extinction of cattle diseases, and I approach the consideration of this Bill with a feeling of favour. Cattle plague, pleuro-pneumonia, and foot-and-mouth disease vary much in their methods of dissemination. Only one of them—the cattle plague—acts in such a subtle way, that the most heroic measures are absolutely required for its prevention or extinction. It is propagated by mediate contagion. That is, it does not require one animal to be placed close to another animal for propagation. A man may carry it from one part of the Kingdom to another by getting some virus attached to his person or clothes. Dead matter may carry it in the same way. It is only paralleled by scarlet fever in the subtle way in which it passes from diseased to healthy animals through many means of communication. No measures, then, are too great against such a deadly foe as cattle plague, and nothing but heroic remedies can accomplish its extirpation. The other two diseases, so far as direct experiment has yet proved, are rarely propagated by mediate contagion. They generally, at least, pass from a diseased to a healthy animal by direct communication. Experiments have been made in the Brown Institute by taking virus from the hoofs or saliva from the mouth of animals affected with foot-and-mouth disease, and trying to infect healthy animals with the poison thus carried to them, but without effect. Similar experiments have been made with pleuro-pneumonia, with a like negative result. The three diseases, then, do not stand on the same basis. Against cattle plague measures cannot be too strong or too wide, and the Bill simply confirms to the Government the great powers which it already possesses by previous legislation, and which has been found to be ample. Hence we may leave it out of consideration. The Bill now proceeds to attack the two other diseases, pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth—the last of which it assumes to be of foreign origin. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) is clearly of opinion that these diseases rise spontaneously under unfavourable conditions to health. I cannot agree with him. I believe that in all probability they are of foreign origin. They are certainly as specific in their character as we can conceive. Just as a dog is required to produce a puppy, or a rose tree a rose, so must you have either of these forms of disease pre-existing in order to plant it in the body of a healthy animal. I have not met any conclusive proofs that these two diseases are indigenous to this country. I, therefore, make what the supporters of this Bill will deem to be a large admission, when I class them as imported diseases. But, then, that is true of many diseases. Syphilis, for instance, in this country, is clearly an imported disease. It was not known in Europe before the conquest of Mexico, nor did it reach this country previous to the reign of Henry VIII. Scarlet fever, diptheria, and, perhaps, measles, are imported diseases. Yet how hopeless it would be to suppose that you could extirpate these diseases now by stopping importation from abroad. They have become home diseases by long domestication, and you must consider them and treat them as home diseases. Let us deal with pleuro-pneumonia first. What is the use talking of it now as a foreign disease, when one of the chief witnesses for the Bill, Mr. Gamgee, makes the astounding assertion that 70 per cent of all the cattle which die a natural death in this country die by this disease? This may be an over-statement, but it is what this competent witness asserts. This Bill, however, is not chiefly aimed at pleuro-pneumonia in relation to foreign cattle. Last year, 5,168 animals were slaughtered at home tainted with this deadly disease; but only 22 of the foreign imports were found to have it. Besides, if pleuro-pneumonia were chiefly in the minds of the framers of the Bill, why were sheep and pigs of foreign origin doomed to slaughter? They are the chief source of food to the poorer classes, and as they do not take pleuro-pneumonia they might have been exempted. The Bill is, practically, a foot-and-mouth Bill. I agree with those who think that disease a serious one. A fatal disease it is not, but it is one which seriously affects the production of food in this country, and does damage both to producers and the consumers of food. That it could be extirpated I have no doubt. But its extirpation requires two conditions. First, there must be unlimited arbitrary powers of dealing with it at home, where the disease is most rife; and second, complete stoppage of importation from abroad. The Colonial Secretary says that these two conditions form the principles of the Bill; but they are not both carried out with equal consistency. The Committee, on whose Report the Bill is said to be framed, describe clearly enough both conditions in page 20 of their Report. They speak of A much stricter regime than hitherto; districts affected with pleuro or foot-and-mouth disease to have all movement of cattle prohibited, except under licence; fairs and markets to be under similar restrictions; and absolute prohibition of movement against inflicted farms, of two months in pleuro-pneumonia, and 28 days in foot-and-mouth disease. Now, give an efficient administrator, like Professor Brown, such powers; support him with all the authority of the Privy Council; and, above all, back him up by united public opinion, and I quite agree that in a few years the disease could be extirpated. You could stamp out hydrophobia in dogs in a like way. But does the Bill propose any such heroic measures of repression? The wide districts contemplated by the Committee have shrunk in the Bill to the phrase, "cow-shed, field, or other place"—even the term "farm" has shrivelled into the word "field;" the 28 days have contracted into 14 days; the restrictions against fairs and markets have disappeared; and the absolute prohibition of movement has become a discretionary prohibition to the Privy Council. Now, I am not prepared to object to all these changes. I think heroic measures of repression are all very good when they are worth applying. It would be an effective way to get rid of one's corns to chop off the feet, but the remedy would be worse than the disease. No doubt, by the recommendations of the Committee, you might stamp out foot-and-mouth disease; but you are likely to stamp out the farmer at the same time by the severity of the measures applied against him. In any case, such measures must of necessity raise for a time the price of home meat. The Government felt it was impossible to apply the necessary measures of restriction to home cattle, and, therefore, they have not attempted it in the form in which the Bill has reached this House. Still, I believe the clauses as they stand will be productive of good result, and will mitigate the disease. Just as the Dairy Clause (32) will attack pleuro-pneumonia in its hot-bed—the town dairy—and will mitigate it, so I think the sanitary provisions, which will follow a partial repression of foot-and-mouth disease, will lessen it. But as to extirpation of an acclimatized disease by such mild measures, there is not the remotest probability. You might as well expect to extirpate typhus or scarlet fever by occasional raids on common lodging-houses. The disease is now fully with us as a home disease. It rises and falls, like all other acclimatized epizootics or epidemics, and I fear we must endeavour simply to mitigate it by sanitary regulations. I will not call the home clauses against foot-and-mouth disease a sham; but I certainly coincide with those who call them a delusion, if they are to be read by the public, or to be believed in by farmers, as clauses for extirpating home disease. Now for the foreign clause and Schedule. For home extirpation, the recommendations of the Committee have dwindled into a delusion; but the Committee only recommended severe measures against foreign cattle, if the home measures of repression were made severe and efficient. This necessary combination has been lost; but the foreign cattle are still condemned to death at their port of debarkation. As against foot-and-mouth disease, what can be the use of this? The incubation of that disease is generally about 36 hours. Cattle from Spain, Portugal, and the Scandinavian States require much longer than that period for transit, and then have 12 hours' detention on arrival. If they arrive diseased, the present law enables them to be slaughtered. If they are not diseased, why should they not be sent to their natural markets for slaughter? Last year less than 4,000 imported animals were found to be tainted with foot-and-mouth disease, and they were all slaughtered, as well as the healthy animals which were in their company. They arrived at only a few ports, and there is no evidence that from these few foci disease entered the country. But if it had, how insignificant it would have been compared with home disease in a year of epizootic. The last year for which we have full statistics is 1871. In that year there were above 52,000 distinct outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain, attacking about 700,000 animals, besides about 200,000 in Ireland. How absurd is it, in the face of such facts, to be in terror of a few ports of importation, especially when existing powers have proved amply sufficient to deal with the disease on its arrival! If the protective armour is insufficient, strengthen it in its weak points; but do not rush into wholesale prohibition of foreign cattle. I challenge the Government to give me one single instance in which disease has been imported into our homesteads from the clean countries of Spain and Portugal, Norway or Denmark. The Privy Council, even now, can at anytime schedule countries which become unclean, or offend habitually by sending diseased animals. But what possible justification is there for scheduling countries which are practically free from disease, because accidentally one, or two, or a dozen infected animals might come into England, though it might contain, at that very time, hundreds of thousands afflicted with the malady, and with thousands of centres of infection distributed all over its area? I am perfectly convinced that when the public understand the question, they will demand that Spain, Portugal, and the Scandinavian States shall be made as free as America. Yet that concession should not suffice. The present powers are sufficient against all unclean countries. Statutory prohibition for foreign animals was only justifiable when you intended to have absolute prohibition against propagation of disease within our own country; but when the latter has become whittled away so as to be only nominal, and that nominal prohibition is discretionary, why not be content with the present large powers possessed by the Privy Council? It is right, in law and in justice, to refuse cattle from unclean countries; but how can you justify exclusion when they are clean? If France, Belgium, Germany, and Holland become free from disease by sanitary regulations which they are endeavouring to establish, how can you exclude them by statute with any show of justice? France, as a Treaty country, has the favoured nation clause, and other countries have their diplomatic rights, and if they ask you why you favour America and refuse their clean cattle, how can you meet their remonstrances? All justification for such legislation is gone when our home restrictions are wholly insufficient to effect extirpation of disease. It is thus that a Bill, which originally and honestly intended to effect extirpation, has gradually and unconsciously become a Bill for the protection of trade. Before I proceed to show this, let me notice the noble Lord's (Viscount Sandon's) history of how this Bill was forced on the Government. He is reported by The Times to have said that the Government had to face the startling fact that in 1877 live stock was less by 2,510,000 than in 1865. He stated that this large reduction resulted from the panics produced by repeated attacks of disease—originally by the cattle plague of 1865 to 1867, then by repeated outbreaks of pleuro and foot-and-mouth, and by the renewed attacks of cattle plague in 1872 and 1877. Discouraged by these, the farmers lost confidence in their cattle, ceased to breed them, and hence this alarming reduction in numbers. The history is clear and concise, but it is not supported by facts. The horned cattle of this country increased wonderfully after the panic of 1865–7. In 1866 there were 8,500,000; in 1868 there were more than 9,000,000; and they went on steadily increasing up to 1872, when another cattle plague panic occurred. In that year they were nearly 9,750,000; but in 1874 they became about 10,250,000. It is only after 1874, when we got three bad harvests, that cattle decreased; and the reason has already been repeatedly explained—that farmers had to sell cattle to realize money. But even with this reduction, there was in 1877 above 1,000,000 more cattle, in the country than we had in 1867, not with standing that there were 4,000,000 of increase in the population to consume them. Therefore, there is really small grounds for alarm at the temporary reduction caused by three years of bad harvests. With a little more variation, the same is true as to sheep. In 1866 there were 26,333,000 sheep, and in 1874 they had increased to nearly 35,000,000. It is entirely contrary to fact to say that these disease-panics have largely decreased production. If you examine English counties you will find that diminished production seems to have very little relation to disease. My hon. Friend, and old cattle-plague Colleague, the Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Clare Read) knows that he represents a good agricultural county, which is not to be scared by such false panics. That county has been afflicted with foot-and- mouth disease severely; but last Returns show that production is augmented by 4 per cent. Cambridge is in the same position, and many other counties; while Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, which have not been so heavily afflicted, have largely lessened in production. The Government must know by this time that, since 1874, diminished production has other and deeper causes than a disease-panic. I now beg to say a few words as to the effect of this legislation on the price of a first necessary of life. My hon. Friend the Secretary to the Treasury (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson), who defended the Bill at its second reading, said Government was prepared to stand or fall by it as a consumers' Bill. If it raised, and did not ultimately lower, the price of meat it was a bad Bill. I am not going to travel over the whole argument again, but only to refer to such portions of it as are within my own knowledge. With considerable variations, owing to imperfect methods of preservation, I believe, the dead meat trade will increase. Of course, now there can only be such a trade where there is plenty of ice; but, before long, I have little doubt, compressed air will be used as a source of cold instead of ice, and then even tropical countries could import dead meat to us. But that is in the future. We must recollect, however, that imported dead meat, when once out of the preserving chamber, is not a bit better or more manageable than dead meat at home. It must find an immediate market, and cannot wait for it. In hot weather like to-day, cargoes of American dead meat have begun to sell at 7d. per lb. in the morning, and have fallen to 3d. per lb. in the afternoon. A winter trade in it is steady enough, but a summer trade is hazardous. My hon. Friend the Member for Glamorganshire (Mr. Hussey Vivian) studied the American meat trade at Chicago very much at the same time as myself—last autumn. He has told us rightly that dead meat comes over from there at 1d. per lb. But he has not explained why it pays importers to bring in live cattle from America at a transit cost of 2½d. per lb. The reason simply is that the living animal can be made to adapt itself to the market, while the dead meat must be forced upon the market at all loss. The noble Lord the late Vice President of the Council (Viscount Sandon) says, that the Schedule would permit foreign animals to be kept alive at the port of debarkation, so as to wait for the market. But this will not suit small towns. To them a live animal is sent to wait its needs, and a dead meat supply is not found to suit its exigencies. There is this large practical fact staring us in the face, that it is cheaper to give 2½d. per lb. for the transport of live meat from America, than it is to pay 1d. for dead meat. The introduction of live animals from abroad from May to August has been of great value to the consumer, by checking a rising market, when English meat is scarce and dear. But America will not in future send you much live cattle in July and August. Importers have got over their transport difficulties. Heavy weather does not prevent importation; but the hot weather and the Gulf Stream in July and August is too trying for American cattle. Then, the losses are heavy, and Texan-fever breaks out among them. Still, in these two months, Spain and and Portugal, Denmark and Norway, could keep up the living supply. But the Bill will prevent this. And in the two hottest months of the year, when dead meat will not travel, when American cattle are not likely for the future to come over, you are going to prevent an importation of living cattle from countries which are much cleaner than our own country, and you contend that this interference with trade will not affect the price of meat! America, however, does not supply us with mutton. Germany, and sometimes France, gives us an abundant supply, especially of small lean sheep, from January to July, when English sheep are scarce. Manufacturing and mining districts prefer this class of sheep; but they like, also, to kill them when they wish to do so. The dead meat trade in mutton has been tried with them, and I am assured by importers that buyers from their markets became scarcer and scarcer. We are, by our legislation, going to say to these great mining and manufacturing centres, that they must take large fat English living sheep, at a higher price, when they prefer smaller lean sheep, if they are allowed to kill them in their own way. You cannot put restrictions on markets without materially reducing imports and raising prices. Can this be doubted, when we look at the imports of foreign cattle? A steady and increasing trade in cattle and sheep went on from 1856 to 1865. Then came the rinderpest, and various countries were scheduled. The imports tumbled down for several years, but gradually recovered. Thus, in 1876, when foreign countries were again scheduled, an immediate decrease of imports took place. This is the necessary result of all restrictions on trade. In conclusion, let me remind the House of one fact. There is a tendency in this country, but especially in Ireland, to use land for cattle instead of for crops. I must ask your confidence as a chemist, when I state that I have calculated and published in full detail, the nutritious value to man of food produced by cattle fed on pasture as compared with the crops produced when the land was in cultivation. On striking this balance, I found that Ireland in 10 years had lost in food production as much as would support about 2,000,000 of a population. I am not speaking of the policy of changing arable into pasture land, but simply of an arithmetical fact. Now, if we are producing less food in this country than we did before by changing our system of agriculture, is it wise that we should place unnecessary restrictions on the importation of food to the people? I think the House must be convinced by the arguments from both sides, that the measures for extirpating disease from our home cattle are wholly illusory. Not one particle of evidence has been given that our farmers are not sufficiently protected against the importation of diseased cattle by our existing arrangements. If they are defective, they can be improved. But do not let us impose unnecessary and heavy restrictions on the meat markets, when we know that all restrictions augment the price of a commodity. Surely this is a disastrous policy at a time when the working classes are poor, and when trade shows no signs of revival? I fully and heartily believe that the framers of this Bill did not intend to establish a protection for the English producers of meat. But the intention is of little consequence, if the result of the measure enhances the price of food to the people.


said, that the right hon. Gentleman was an antagonist of no little weight, and the main objection urged in his admirable speech was that the measure would restrict the supply and increase the cost of the food of the people. Its object was to stamp out diseases at home and to prevent their re-introduction from abroad, and it sought to attain its objects by imposing severe restrictions at home and enacting compulsory slaughter at the ports. It was not intended by compulsory slaughter to stamp out disease, but to prevent disease coming in, and it had not been shown that the object would not be attained. Of course, it was the common object of all not to restrict, but to enlarge, supply, and not to increase, but to lessen, the cost of food to the people. It was because the Bill would accomplish these objects in a satisfactory and a permanent manner that he intended to support it, and he thanked the Government for their earnest attempt to deal with so great and important a question. It was admitted that existing legislation had failed to prevent the introduction of rinderpest and other diseases from abroad; and that alone prevented the skilled producers of this country from developing their herds and stock to the extent they otherwise might do, and which they would do under the security which this measure would afford them. It was abundantly proved before the Select Committee that the production of cattle in this country was largely checked by diseases brought from abroad, and the constant fear of them. So long as that was the case it was hopeless to expect any permanent reduction in the price of meat food. It was to their own production that they must chiefly look for their sources of supply, supplemented by the import of dead and live meat from America and from the Continent. It was difficult to arrive at the exact proportions of these three sources; but he would assume that the foreign import was 12½ per cent of the whole. In the first five months of 1877 there were imported into this country 40,000 tons of dead meat from America; in the same period of 1878, 59,000 tons. In addition, America sent us in 1876, 3,070 live cattle; in 1877, 19,000 tons; and in the first five months of this year 16,705. With regard to the dead meat trade with America, he was perfectly well aware of all the objections raised to that source of supply. There were great difficulties to contend with; but all the evidence seemed to show that where the import had been unsuccessful the want of success was due to imperfect arrangements on board ship, and this was no more than was to be expected in the infancy of the trade. Practically, an unlimited supply of first-class American meat could be delivered in London, at the very hottest time of the year, in good condition, at 6d. per lb., a price which would give a good profit. Now, when the right hon. Gentleman objected to the quality of this meat upon its arrival in this country, it would be necessary to quote evidence in reply to that objection.


said, he did not object to the quality.


The condition I meant to say.


Nor the condition. I stated that it was like any other meat that came out of the preserving-room, and would corrupt like any other.


said, the evidence showed that the meat landed in Liverpool from America, owing to the peculiar process of preparation it underwent before leaving America, would travel further and keep better than the meat of animals killed at Liverpool on the day of the landing of the American meat. That evidence was never shaken throughout the whole sitting of the Committee. He put that evidence against what was said by the right hon. Gentleman. The dead meat trade with America had had to encounter much opposition from the meat trade in this country; but he was convinced from all he had seen and heard that very great things, indeed, might be expected from the development of the dead meat trade with America. The right hon. Gentleman said that the live meat trade with America was increasing still faster than the dead meat trade. He was not aware of that fact, but he was glad of it. It opened up another source of supply. This Bill did not interfere with the importation of meat from America. There was no need to stop the importation of live cattle from America, because they did not import disease at the same time, and that was the great distinction between America and the Continent. From the Continent they, unhappily, had imported, time after time, disease with the cattle, and this Bill very justly proposed to put a stop to that state of things in the future. With regard to the Continental supply and the production at home, he asked himself this question—Were they prepared to be content with the present position and the price of meat, or ought they not to try to do something to amend it? If they gave up the Continental supply, what would be the effect? He believed its place would be far more than filled by the greatly increased supply from America, and the enormous additions to their own herds and flocks. But, suppose he was wrong, what could be the worst that would happen to them? What was the risk? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) stated that the foreign supply was 12½ per cent. of the whole of their consumption, and he said that if this clause were carried, at least one-fourth of that would go. So it came to this—they might possibly lose 3⅛ per cent of the whole of their consumption, but that loss could only be incurred in the improbable, the almost impossible, event of there being no increase from America and no increase in the home production. He asked the House to believe that the risk became infinitesimal, and would not justify them in standing still instead of trying to improve their position. Since 1871, while there had been a decrease of 400,000 acres of arable land in this country, there had been an increase of pasturage of nearly 1,000,000. They would naturally expect that there would be a corresponding increase in the stock of the country. But what were the facts? He found that while the price of meat had been steadily rising, the number of stock in the country during the last three or four years had steadily diminished. The mean price of beef at the Metropolitan Cattle Market had steadily risen during the last 10 years from 6 1–16d. per lb. in 1868, to 8 1–16d.. in 1876, the latest year of which there were at present any Returns. What was the case as to stock? The number of stock last year in the country was 5,697,000, as against 5,423,000 in 1868. That was to say, in round numbers, only about 270,000 more than it was in that year, when they had just lost nearly 1,000,000 directly by cattle plague, and indirectly it was impossible to say how many more. From 1868 it rose very slowly to 6,100,000 in 1874; but from that time to this it had been steadily falling, and in 1877 it was 2½ per cent less than in 1876. That was a curious and not a very satisfactory state of affairs, and how were they to account for it? He heard it described as the decline of agriculture in England; but the decline of agriculture in England, if permanent, would mean nothing less than the decline of England itself. They were nothing if not an agricultural people. Therefore, although they had not yet come to that pass, the facts he had stated betokened a state of affairs which demanded the attention of Parliament and the country. He expressed his firm conviction, when he declared—and the opinion was shared in by many practical men, producers and breeders—that the ravages these diseases had made in their flocks and herds—diseases imported into the country—were mainly, if not entirely, responsible for the present extravagant prices of meat and the restricted supply. In 1865 alone no less than 1,000,000 of cattle were lost by disease, and the value was estimated at £5,000,000 sterling, to which was to be added a sum of £10,000,000 as prospective loss, making altogether a sum of £15,000,000; and since that date he was of opinion that their flocks and herds had not recovered from the ravages of the disease, and they never would do so until they had the protection which was afforded by that Bill. Do that, and then they might hope to see an increased supply and a corresponding decrease in the price of meat. There was no doubt, he thought, as to the origin of the cattle plague—except, perhaps, in the mind of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain)—for it always came from abroad, and all restrictions short of compulsory slaughter at the port of landing had proved wholly ineffectual to keep it out of the country. With reference to the foot-and-mouth disease and pleuro-pneumonia, he was quite prepared to admit there was a great deal of conflicting evidence; but the balance of evidence was distinctly against their being indigenous. What they had to do was, to stamp out the disease and prevent it returning again. The right hon. Gentleman had a great deal to say on this point; but if the restrictions proposed were not stringent enough, they would no doubt be prepared to increase them in Committee. Then the right hon. Gentleman said that the remedy was worse than the disease. That was a matter of opinion, and the farmers thought otherwise. Then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford said the restrictions would be inefficient altogether. He said—"I disapprove your clause relating to compulsory slaughter, but if I thought you would be able to stamp out these diseases, then I think I should be obliged to support you; but you will not be able to do so, therefore I must oppose you." How did the right hon. Gentleman support this view of the case? He quoted the evidence of Professor Brown, who said it would take seven years to stamp out this disease; but he seemed to forget that Professor Brown gave evidence on two different occasions, and that on the second occasion his testimony was much modified as compared with that which he gave previously. But although he acknowledged the authority of Professor Brown, he could not admit that he was the only man in the country whose opinion was of value; and, as it was a matter of importance for the House to arrive at an accurate view of the possibility of stamping out the disease, he would quote the opinions of other authorities. Mr. James Howard, who was at one time a Liberal Member of the House, and was also one of the most eminent and advanced among scientific agriculturists, was examined before a Royal Commission, and in answer to the Question—"Do you think that you could stamp out foot-and-mouth disease?" he replied—"Certainly; nothing would be easier." Mr. Howard was questioned further, as follows:— Do you think it would be worth while, for 12 or 18 months or two years, to impose these restrictions with the view of getting rid of these diseases? To this he replied— I do not think that so long a time would be necessary. I think that if very vigorous measures were taken, the whole country might be free from disease in three months. Mr. Stratton—a member of the Executive Committee for dealing with contagious diseases in the county of Wilts—was also examined, and said— Whenever we get an outbreak of rinderpest and the restrictions consequent upon it, we always get a great diminution in the prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease. The same gentleman afterwards pointed to the fact he had mentioned as an evi dence in favour of the possibility of stamping out the disease. Mr. Booth, a well-known Yorkshire breeder and grazier, also gave evidence. He was asked— Do you think that you could prevent foot-and-mouth disease if there were no importations of live stock? Mr. Booth replied— I do not see why we should not. Professor Brown told me individually that we should have foot-and-mouth disease all through this country this spring; and he has since told me that the restrictions that have been put on in consequence of the cattle plague have stopped his prophesied outbreak. That was not all. The Secretary to the Treasury had quoted as evidence the case of the county of Cumberland, where foot-and-mouth disease had been entirely stamped out owing to the imposition of cattle plague restrictions. What stronger evidence could be adduced? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford did not seem to him to have taken up a fair position in reference to this question. He had expressed an objection to compulsory slaughter; but, at the same time, said he was willing to accept the proposed restrictions, and was prepared to support some parts of the Bill.


said, he never intended to convey to the House that he approved the restrictions.


said, this being so, he failed to see what parts of the Bill the right hon. Gentleman would support. The measure consisted mainly of two proposals—one to stamp out the disease, and the other to prevent its introduction; and if the right hon. Gentleman objected alike to the restrictions and to compulsory slaughter, he failed to see what parts of the Bill he was prepared to support, or even to accept. The farmers had told the House, over and over again, through their Representatives—whose opinion the House was bound to take against that of muddle-headed Professors—that they were prepared to accept such restrictions as would be necessary to stamp out disease; but they would not accept these unless security and guarantee were given that all their sacrifices should not be made in vain, and when made that they should not again be flooded with disease. He had that morning received a letter from an eminent agriculturist in Lincolnshire in reference to the question. His correspondent wrote as follows:— The restrictions are most serious as far as the farmers are concerned, but providing we can be guaranteed against the diseases which have been such a serious injury to our stock breeding, we are most ready to bear them; but to have such complete and arbitrary restrictions without security is more than we could bear. I trust that the Bill will pass this Session, and that the slaughtering clause will be retained. These words expressed his own views, and also the views of the stock breeders generally, as far as he had been able to ascertain them. He hoped the House would not be terrified by the ghost of Protection. Agriculturists did not ask for protection. They conceded to the full the right of the people to have free trade in meat to any extent they pleased; but while the people were right in insisting on that, they must not insist on free trade in cattle diseases as well.


said, he claimed to speak from the consumers' point of view. In 1869, when the cattle plague was discussed, it was admitted that consumers had a right to claim the minimum of restriction and interference with trade consistent with the prevention of disease. That was admitted as regarded the cattle plague, the most deadly and insidious of cattle diseases; therefore, in dealing with the minor diseases of pleuro and foot-and-mouth, the claim was stronger, and the Government ought to show that the proposed protection from disease was worth the cost which the attainment of that protection would involve. He complained that, so far from carrying out the formula accepted in 1869, this Bill gave a maximum of interference with trade combined with a minimum of protection from disease. He feared that the last thing which the Bill would do was to stamp out disease, and the only thing it would certainly do was to stamp out the foreign trade in live cattle; and so, by decreasing the supply, increase the price of meat. The Bill was compulsory with regard to the provisions which would shut out foreign cattle from this country, and permissive as far as the regulations were concerned which would protect our herds from home disease. The last speaker told them they were to pay no attention to the opinions of the Professors, but to rely upon the opinions of the Gentlemen who represented the agricultural interest. He, however, thought a great deal of the evidence was interested evidence on both sides of the House. There was the evidence of cattle breeders and farmers, which represented one interest, and these were unanimous in considering that the exclusion of foreign cattle from our ports would not only be a good thing for them, but also for the consumer; whilst, on the other hand, importers of cattle took an exactly opposite view, and were equally unanimous in declaring that it would be an injury to the consumers. He ventured to submit that such evidence should always be accepted with reserve, as they all knew the opinions of honest people were unconsciously biased by their own interests. Several witnesses gave evidence before the Select Committees of the House of Lords and the House of Commons to the effect that it would not be worth while to stamp out foot-and-mouth disease at the cost of the regulations, without which it would be impossible to achieve any considerable success. Mr. Gamgee said that in order to have absolute security it would not be sufficient to exclude live animals, but that hides, offal, and dead meat must also be excluded; and this evidence was confirmed by Professor Simonds. He had been struck by a remark made on the second day of the debate by the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Harcourt), who said this Bill was only an instalment of what he and his Friends desired. If this were so, he did not know where we could stop until we excluded from the country not only live animals, but everything in the shape of meat food which was at present imported for the supply of the people. It would not be sufficient for the Government to make the concession suggested on the other side of the House, and to exempt Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal; because Germany, which had adopted stringent measures for preventing disease, and other countries, might become as healthy in time as the countries he had just mentioned were at present. Ridiculous as these regulations appeared, they were still more anomalous and absurd when they were contrasted with the regulations relating to live stock. He should like to know why the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Clare Read) and his Friends supported a measure which contained provisions that were directly opposed to the proposals they themselves brought forward in 1873? There appeared to him to be a certain presumption in those who were not in the trade setting up to teach those who were. But why did not hon. Gentlemen extend to the United States and to Canada the same regulations they were going to apply to Denmark, Spain, and Portugal? In the case of Canada and the United States there was a dead-meat trade already, and it was said it would increase. But the evidence of Mr. May, Consul General of the Netherlands, and competent witnesses from Holstein and Germany, was to the effect that if we adopted the regulations proposed in the Bill the supply from those countries would be stopped; and the reason they gave was that the competition was so great, and there were so many things in favour of this country, that a very little would turn the trade elsewhere. And if that were the result, then the Southampton Docks Company, and the Railway Companies which had laid out their money on the faith that this trade would be allowed to be carried on, would have a good claim for compensation; indeed a much better one than the publicans, who were said yesterday to be entitled to compensation in the event of the Permissive Bill being passed. Only a few years ago the whole country was made to contribute to an insurance fund to secure the farmers from loss, while in the case of any others the parties concerned would have to insure themselves. It was said that the home supply would be greatly increased if the Bill were passed. But the fact was, the farmers would then have no inducement to increase their home supply. The effect of the existing restrictions had been proved to be most injurious, and had increased the price of meat at least 1d. per lb., and if these restrictions were extended the price would become much larger. Now, where the supply of the food to the people was concerned, he would appeal to the House whether it was wise to adopt the principles of those whose wishes were father to their thoughts? In 1869 promises like those now given were held out. It was said by Mr. Howard, the hon. Member for Bedford, that there would be such a great increase in home production as would compensate the farmers for all they had suffered. But had the supply increased? On the contrary, the supporters of the Bill before the House went on exactly the opposite assumption—namely, that the supply had decreased. For his constituents this was a very serious matter. If the price of meat were to be raised only 1d. in the lb., that meant for the whole country an additional tax of something like £5,000,000 per annum; and at a time like the present, when we were suffering from depressed trade and heavy taxation, to run the risk of such legislation would not be wise. It would not be wise even for the agricultural interest to ask for it, for, if carried, it would create such bad feeling as would lead hereafter to a re-action which would sweep away those restrictions that by common consent would be pronounced unnecessary and mischievous.


considered foot-and-mouth disease, perhaps, the most dangerous of all. Cattle plague was so rapid and so destructive that it would be met by immediate repression. Therefore, if left in the hands of the Privy Council, he had no doubt the cattle plague would be put down, and, as far as that disease was concerned, he did not think there was any necessity for the Bill. But for foot-and-mouth disease and pleuro-pneumonia the Bill was very important. The loss from foot-and-mouth disease was not sufficiently appreciated. The question was, if this Bill passed, would it increase or decrease the food of the people? He believed it would make meat more plentiful, and therefore cheaper; otherwise, he would not support it. If a certain number of cattle in a field were attacked by foot-and-mouth disease, there would be a loss to the farmer of £4 or £5 a-head; but the country would lose the full production of that field for that year. But if the disease were carried from the field to the parish, and from the parish to the county, the loss would be very much greater than hon. Gentlemen were disposed to admit. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) said this Bill was a piece of class legislation. It was legislation for the largest class in this country—for all those who ate beef. The interest of beef producers was not separate from that of the beef consumers. What were the Mining Acts but class legislation? They were passed for the benefit of those who worked in coal-mines; but the superintendence of mines by the large body of Inspectors appointed under those Acts was not only beneficial to the workers in coal-mines, but also to the consumer of coal, inasmuch as that superintendence tended to a reduction of the price of coal. The farmers asked the House to make such regulations as would enable them to carry on their trade with safety and under circumstances which would enable them to produce more beef for the country. He had not the least doubt that the farmers would submit to the irksome regulations which were shadowed forth in this Bill. If regulations were to be useful, they must be stringent and uniform. The Bill fulfilled those conditions, and he would heartily vote for it. He regretted that the hon. and learned Member for Leeds (Mr. Wheelhouse) was not in his place; because he wished the hon. and learned Gentleman to explain why all the calves that were produced in the North of England were sent to Leeds, and what they did with them when they got there?


believed that the Bill was framed, and was intended, for the good of the consumers. It affected the interests of the foreign breeder, of the importers of foreign cattle, of corporations which had erected slaughter-houses, of the British farmer, and, most of all, of the consumer. No cattle after a long voyage should be kept long; and, therefore, the inconvenience which this Bill would occasion to a foreign breeder, or an importer of foreign live-stock, would be very small and only temporary. With regard to the interests of corporations, those who had built cattle-slaughtering houses could convert them at very little expense into dead-meat markets. As to agents, they could become dead-meat agents. He had received a Petition from one of these agents in support of this Bill. The agent saw that what this Bill intended to do must come some time or other; that dead meat markets must be encouraged; and, therefore, he had petitioned in favour of the Bill. Agriculturists had suffered very much by the importation of disease from abroad. In his own district farmers were giving up breeding calves altogether, the risk was so great. Not one calf was to be seen on a farm in Scotland, on which a few years ago there were 40 calves. Cows were kept not for producing calves, as formerly, but only as long as they gave milk, and then they were killed off fat. [An hon. MEMBER: Where do the calves go, then?] The calves, when produced, were killed as they were born, so that the country suffered great loss. The right hon. Member for the Universities of Edinburgh and St. Andrews (Mr. Lyon Playfair) had denied that this diminution of stock arose from a dread of disease. The reason he gave was, that farmers were suffering so much from bad harvests that they had to sell their stock. From that, it might be supposed that they had sold off their stock which produced most money—namely, that at two years old and upwards; whereas the decrease in numbers was found to be in cattle under two years old, showing that it was due to a diminution of breeding. He knew one farmer who lost 10 per cent of his breeding stock from foot-and-mouth disease. He had 50 cows affected in one year, and had not a single calf from any of those cows. On another farm, where there were 600 ewes, 400 lambs died in one year, while the other lambs were so weak that they could scarcely be brought up. It was absurd, therefore, to say that foot-and-mouth disease was not injurious. He did not say the Bill was sufficient for every purpose; but that was no reason why he should not vote for the second reading, in order that they might make it more stringent in Committee. If it was beneficial to the farmer it must be beneficial to the consumer, for increase of supply meant diminution of price. Some hon. Members had made a distinction between the importation of live and dead meat. His opinion regarding meat when carried dead or alive was all in favour of the former, and the dead meat was far better for the consumer than the live meat. All had seen the cruelty practised in driving live cattle to the market. All knew that the meat of animals killed in the heat of a great struggle was deteriorated, and was not so good as those killed quietly at home. He maintained, therefore, that it was to the consumers' interest that the traffic in dead meat should be encouraged as much as possible. It was because they could keep the cattle in America until they were older that better meat came from that country. Farmers here could not afford to keep their cattle so long on account of the risk of disease. The question was, would slaughter at the port of debarkation prevent disease? Fifteen years ago he was one of few in Scotland who advocated more stringent regulations at home. He found that there was little or no disease where strict regulations were in force. One reason why he did not wish at that time to impose strict regulations on cattle from abroad was that he thought the country could not do without them. His opinion had been changed in consequence of the importation of dead meat. He found that the dead meat traffic was being carried on in a great many more places than people were aware of. One gentleman told him that he was able to send his dead meat 50 miles, and get more for it than for his live stock, which he sent only 10 miles. When it was said that there had been a falling off in the dead meat from Aberdeen, he might say the reason was that the railways did not give proper facilities for the dead meat trade. If this Bill were passed, the railways would give greater facilities. It was much cheaper to carry live meat than dead meat; but let the carriage of dead meat be made regular and necessary, and the railways would give facilities. If he were asked why all foreign cattle should be slaughtered at the port of landing, he would say that it was proved beyond doubt that diseased cattle had been imported into this country from countries where there was no disease. It arose from the boats wherein diseased cattle had been conveyed. There could be no doubt that foot-and-mouth disease was brought from Spain at a time when that disease was unknown in that country; and the disease was traced to the hay which was sent from Ireland, where foot-and-mouth disease was prevalent, for food for the cattle during the voyage. The right hon. Member for Bradford had calculated that the effect of this Bill would be to reduce the number of cattle imported by 50,000 a-year; and he asked what right had we to interfere with the arrangement made in Denmark and elsewhere? The answer he (Mr. M'Lagan) would give was by asking the question, what right had the Danes to expect us to run the risk of importing disease into this country? Besides, the right hon. Gentleman forgot that there was at present an annual diminution of about 160,000 of our home cattle caused by disease and dread of disease, and the effect of the passing of this Bill would be not only to prevent this decrease, but to increase the number of home cattle, which would far more than compensate for the loss of 50,000 foreign cattle, if such loss would ever take place. Immediately after the regulations came into force farmers were prepared to begin to breed as they had done before. When the Committee issued their Report last year the farmers in Scotland began raising calves as they did formerly; and he believed the result would be that in a short time the live stock in the country would be increased in a proportion greater than the loss of the live stock from the Continent. But he did not think there would be any depreciation in the number of live stock brought from the Continent. For the reasons he had given he was prepared to support the Bill, and in the hope that it would be amended, where necessary, in Committee.


said, every hon. Gentleman who had addressed the House had admitted the necessity of some restrictive measures being adopted to stamp out disease amongst cattle; but many hon. Members had expressed the belief that these restrictive measures must be borne by one of the parties interested in the question, and not by both. The producers and consumers were the interested parties; and, in his opinion, this burden ought to be borne equally by both. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain) commenced his speech by admitting that reasonable protection ought to be given to the producer of cattle against disease; but, having made the admission at the outset, the effect of his speech was that no protection ought to be given for the benefit of the producer. The object was to get a healthy supply of meat for the consumer, and Government proposed that should be effected by slaughtering at the port of debarkation. The slaughter at the port of debarkation introduced an entirely different method of transacting business to that which had hitherto been in vogue. Up to the present time the middleman had had a very important share of the cattle traffic. The cattle were first of all brought up to Islington market, and there passed into the hands of the middleman. The profit necessarily made by him very much increased the price to be eventually paid by the consumer. When the cattle came to be slaughtered at the port of debarkation the middleman would no longer be necessary, the butcher in the country could obtain his meat direct from the port of debarkation without the intervention of any third person, and in that respect the consumers would benefit by the reduction of price. If anyone had watched the fluctuations in the value of live cattle, they would see that those fluctuations were not followed by corresponding fluctuations in the price of dead meat. When the price of live cattle fell 1d. per lb., the butchers still charged the same price to their customers, so that the benefit of a less price did not go to the consumer. That system would be changed by compulsory slaughter at the port of landing. He remembered the time when the dead meat trade from the North of Scotland was believed to be an experiment; but it had succeeded when it had to be conveyed by steamer, and it was doing better now by train. There was no fear that the supply of meat would be diminished by the steps the Government were about to take. There might be losses to individuals till the trade adapted itself to the demand; but he felt confident that in due time the means of obtaining fresh meat in the way proposed by the Government would be successful, and that the alarm which had been expressed in regard to increased prices would not be found to be realized. He intended, therefore, to support the measure, in order that in Committee it might be thrashed out into a practical and beneficial Bill.


said, a number of hon. Members had attempted to show that the price of meat would not be increased by this Bill becoming law; but he really did not think it was necessary to reply seriously to that argument. He looked upon the Bill simply as a protectionist measure. The Bill was entitled— An Act for making better provision respecting Contagious and Infectious Diseases of Cattle and other animals, and for other purposes. He should like to know what those other purposes were? He believed that the "other purposes" were for increasing the price of meat, and for raising the rents of land. That would certainly be the effect of the Bill, whether it was the purpose of it or not. This was not the first or second occasion on which the House had Cattle Bills brought before it; but the legislators of old times were far more straightforward in the expression of their opinions than the legislators of the present day appeared to be. At the time he spoke of the landlords had it all their own way, and perhaps it was not so necessary to be reticent of their intentions. Accordingly, he found that at that time the importation of cattle from Ireland was considered a very great nuisance, and a Bill had been carried intended entirely to put an end to that importation. The object of the measure to which he referred was stated in the most honest and simple manner in the Preamble. It was stated to be one— For the preventing of coming in of vast numbers of cattle, whereby the rents and values of the land of this Kingdom were much fallen, and like daily to fall more, to the great prejudice, detriment, and impoverishment of this Kingdom. Accordingly, the importation of cattle from Ireland was declared to be "a publick and common nusance" which must be put down; and although it did not appear openly on the face of the present Bill that there was a similar object in view, the spirit of the measure was such that it might very well have been drawn up in those words. The Bill went, on some points, entirely contrary to the recommendations of the Committee of which he was himself a Member. He had no hesitation in saying that, although he entirely differed from the conclusions which were arrived at, and although he thought the Report which was drawn up a great deal too strong, the Report was nothing like so strong as the present Bill. It proposed to shut out all foreign cattle except American; but it was well-known that there was a great deal more pleuro-pneumonia in America, from which live cattle were still to be imported, than there was in Spain and Portugal, from which the importation of live cattle was to be entirely excluded. It was said the Bill was founded on the Report of last year's Committee, and that Committee originated in last year's outbreak of cattle plague; but as regarded that outbreak, nothing could more fully prove that the present powers of the Privy Council were sufficient for dealing with cattle plague, for in a few weeks, by means of the existing regulations, the Government had been able entirely to repress it. That fact pointed its own conclusion—namely, that the Bill was not meant for cattle plague at all, but for pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth disease. Some hon. Members had said that this was not a Party Bill. It was quite true that the measure would not be fought out on the ordinary Party lines. But it was undoubtedly a Party Bill as regarded town and country. It was a Bill that would be opposed by the towns and by the large populations of the country that were consumers of meat; and it was a Bill which would be strongly supported by the producers of meat in the hope that it would raise the price of that commodity. How far the diseases were imported diseases was doubtful. The first and worst attack of cattle plague from which this country had ever suffered was at a time when all foreign importation was absolutely prohibited and unknown; yet so bad was that outbreak that it threatened to exterminate the horned cattle in the country, and a law was passed giving the King power to prevent the killing of cow calves. Later attacks of cattle plague, he thought, had certainly been imported; but, as regarded the other diseases, he had heard all the evidence on the subject, and he had come to the conclusion that whatever pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth diseases might have been at some distant period, they were now indigenous diseases, and that no temporary stamping out would eradicate them in this country, even if importations were got rid of altogether. It was well-known, he might add, that cattle which had left Ireland free from the foot-and-mouth disease had taken it on the voyage across the Channel, owing to the ill-usage which they had received, and that was a cause to which, he believed, it was to be attributed in many other instances. As to France, Spain, and Norway, they were more healthy than this country; and, therefore, the prohibition of the importation of cattle from them could be ascribed to no other motive than a desire to protect the home trade. Then the Bill would be very expensive in its operation. One of the clauses of the Bill dealt with the important subject of the erection of wharfs. The local authorities were to erect wharves for the reception of foreign cattle, and quarantine places, to be called "foreign animals quarantine wharf." Cattle were to be landed only at those wharves. But who were to pay the cost? Clause 37 said that the local authority might erect such wharf, but there did not seem to be any compulsion. He was afraid that quarantine stations would become hot-beds of disease, and if animals went into them sound, they would be sure to come out diseased. His opinion, however, was that all the provisions about the cattle being landed at certain wharves, about their being killed or quarantined there, about the ships which brought them being disinfected, and so on, would be costly enough to kill any trade, and certainly sufficient to prevent any fresh trade from being originated. The scope of the Bill seemed very wide, for while the Definition Clause confined it to ruminating animals, which he believed included camels, the 30th clause enabled the Privy Council to include any other animal whatever, and equally to include any other disease in addition to the usual cattle diseases. There were some clauses of which he greatly approved, and thought them the best thing in the Bill. These were the dairy clauses, relating to the supervision of dairies; and he wished to ask Government a question with regard to them, whether, since the Bill gave power to include all diseases, they were intended to apply to diseases human as well as animal? for there was a great amount of typhoid fever which was well known to have its origin in dairies. When the Bill was brought in the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, in the House of Lords, entirely repudiated the idea that the dairy clauses were intended to do anything except to afford protection from animal disease; but he hoped that would be made right. There were other clauses to which he had great objection, and he would not have alluded to them now but for the fact that their arbitrary nature made the whole Bill bad. Clause 59 threw the presumption of guilt on the accused, and required him to prove his own innocence; and sub-section 7 allowed real and material facts to be ignored or altered, in order to secure a conviction. The Scotch section of the measure gave no appeal from the order of two Justices, except to the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, and anything more tyrannical than that he could not imagine. If a poor man were convicted by two Justices in Caithness, he must go to Edinburgh in order to make an appeal—and not only so, but he must give security for the payment of the fine imposed upon him, of all costs already incurred, and of further costs which might be incurred. This was a provision which should not be allowed to exist in a Bill passed by any House of Commons. The provisions with regard to appeal in England were not quite so bad, as there was appeal to quarter sessions; but, with the extraordinary variation from other appeals, that fine and costs must be paid or secured first, and appeal after. He might inform his Irish Friends that they were to be still worse off; for, as he understood it, they must give security for double the amount of fine and costs before they could appeal. The Bill, in short, was a tyrannical, arbitrary, and oppressive measure. His constituents entertained a very strong feeling against it, and were by no means deluded by the idea that meat would be made cheaper by cutting off one great source of supply. There could be no doubt that the price of meat would be raised—a result which would be a present benefit, but a future evil, to the farmers. He would caution the farmers against too easily lending themselves to play the landlords' game. They might rest assured that the landlords would never allow them to secure the full advantage of such a rise in the price of meat, but would raise the rents at the next opportunity. He was sure that the farmers would ultimately be damaged, however great a boon the Bill might confer on them at first, and he trusted that they would not combine with the landlords to restore Protection in its most odious form.


said, that in addressing the House for the first time, he knew that he should not ask in vain for that indulgence which was always granted to any new Member. As the Representative of a port very much interested in the importation of cattle, he felt bound to say the experience gained there was, that if the Bill passed into law, that importation would practically cease. The effect of scheduling France was that, in 1869, when she was free and unrestricted in her trade, she exported into Southampton 8,902 cattle, of which 8,154 were oxen; but last year she only exported 37, and this year not one single head of cattle into Southampton. Those figures, surely, would remove any doubts respecting the principle of indiscriminate slaughter. He believed that our importations would be diminished by more than the percentage ingeniously calculated by the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin); and, as the foreign supply was stated to be from 10 to 20 per cent of the whole, he would leave it to the supporters of the Bill to say what increase of price would follow the diminished quantity. It had been said that the stoppage of importation of French cattle was due to the devastation caused by the German War. That might have been so for some few years; but he understood now that there were plenty of fat cattle in Normandy and Brittany in splendid condition, which would be brought over immediately the restrictions were removed: and he trusted, in the interest of all classes, that the objection to their importation would be speedily removed. He had no faith in these excessive precautions, and he believed that it would be found impossible absolutely to stamp out disease; it was to be regarded rather as a passing wave of infection, like cholera or some other contagious pest, against which no precautions could be wholly effectual. As for the Bill itself, he had not intended to vote against the second reading, as he had expected that the hon. and gallant Baronet the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot) would succeed in obtaining some modification of the provisions in regard to compulsory slaughter; but from what had fallen from the Duke of Richmond and Gordon, and from the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade, he could gather no hope of any abatement of those restrictions. The Government appeared to go in for the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill. He quite agreed with the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster), that there were several good points in the Bill; but as he conceived that the Act of 1869 was sufficient to put a stop to importation—as it had done in the case of Southampton—why should the Government go for further powers in that direction? Were not the existing powers, when rigidly enforced, sufficient to stop importation from any foreign country? He feared that the Bill had been framed under the influence of a pleuro-pneumonia panic. It was not proper to yield to that influence; and if the Government would not give some assurance of a modification of the provisions as to the slaughter of foreign cattle at the port of debarkation, he should feel it his duty to vote against the second reading of the measure.


regarded the Bill as a very retrograde measure, and one that was unworthy of this country. A great enterprize having been begun for the importation of cattle with much benefit to the country, the Government now came forward to prevent that enterprize being continued, or, at least, to place such restrictions upon it as would prevent its being carried on successfully. He represented the inland districts, and these deserved some consideration. Whether cattle came in dead or alive to a port, the port must still receive some benefit; but that was not the case with the inland districts, as the restrictions must tend to raise the price of meat. A good deal had been said with reference to the traffic in cattle with Ireland, and notice had been called several times in the course of the debate to the condition of affairs on board the Irish vessels. In a recent letter published in a newspaper the state of the animals on board the Cork and Bristol vessels had been described as most revolting, and information which had been given to him at various times showed that there was too much truth in the description. Such a state of things ought not to be allowed to continue. He had also been told that the animals which had been improperly treated were not insured; but that horses were insured, and that proper care was taken of them, with the result of very little loss or damage. He was not speaking in favour of putting a stop to the importation of cattle from Ireland; on the contrary, he wished that importation to be put into such a state that it could be carried on safely and satisfactorily. He believed that if proper regulations were adopted—if no vessels were allowed to carry live animals without a certificate that they were properly fitted and provided as regarded accommodation and ventilation, and if the animals were not allowed to leave until they had been properly fed and rested—a great deal more would be done to remedy the evil complained of than would be done by compulsory slaughter. With regard to foreign vessels, if power were given to local authorities to refuse to permit the landing, or to compel the immediate slaughter on landing, of cattle from foreign vessels which were not properly provided, a remedy would soon be found. Believing that the restriction proposed by the Bill would cause great dissatisfaction to consumers, and would not give the producer the security he demanded, he should support the Resolution of the right hon. Member for Bradford.


said, that Mr. Howard, the well-known agriculturist, was of opinion that the only way of keeping our cattle free from the diseases of cattle imported from abroad was to slaughter foreign fat cattle at the ports of debarkation, and to place stores in quarantine. He believed—contrary to the opinion of the right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair)—that the Bill, instead of diminishing, would increase the supply, and cause a reduction in the price of food. It was also his opinion that the Bill, by requiring fat cattle to be slaughtered at the ports of debarkation, would tend after some time to create a dead-meat market on the Continent of Europe, like that which now existed in America. He tendered his thanks to Her Majesty's Government for the introduction of the Bill just as much on the part of the consumers as of the owners, whom he had the honour to represent. He was not prepared to say that to every portion of the Bill he could give his consent; but he should certainly give the second reading his cordial and hearty support.


said, the late Chief Secretary for Ireland (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) had told them a few evenings ago that the principle of the Bill was to carry out the recommendations of the Committee of last year. Accepting that as the principle of the Bill, he might be permitted to make some observations with regard to that course. He had ventured to observe that, in his opinion, it would turn out to be a very useless Committee. He thought that there had been a sufficient amount of evidence gathered from previous Committees, and Royal Commissions, and Blue Books, which would enable them to dispense with any further Commission. About two days after he made these observations the hon. Member for South Norfolk (Mr. Clare Read), perhaps the greatest authority in the House upon questions of that sort, made some similar remarks, and declined to serve upon the Committee, on the ground that it was perfectly unnecessary. The Committee made a Report towards the end of the Session; and when he saw that Report he changed his opinion, and came to the conclusion that the Committee had not only been useless, but worse than useless, for it was perhaps the most mischievous Report that had ever been presented to Parliament. The principle of the Report and of the Bill was the most extreme restriction with regard to the import of foreign cattle, and also the most loose restriction with regard to the treatment of disease at home. With regard to cattle plague and pleuro-pneumonia, there was very little difference of opinion in the House; the real question they were arguing being whether they were prepared to apply to foot-and-mouth disease the same restrictions that were recommended by the Committee of last year? He called upon his hon. Friend the Member for South Norfolk, as representing the farming interest of this country, to say whether they were prepared to accept those severe rules with regard to the extirpation of foot-and-mouth disease at home which all scientific authorities had declared to be necessary? There was no doubt that the general opinion was that, originally, the foot-and-mouth disease came from abroad. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) was the only Member who said that it had originated in this country. They had not to consider from where it originally sprang, it had taken such a deep hold in this country; and they had to deal with it as a home disease, and they were bound to consider the remedies necessary for its treatment as a home disease. A great deal of argument could be introduced in support of the view that the disease had spread, not from foreign imports, but from home imports. At present they had applied to the foreign imports a most severe set of restrictions. If a beast in a foreign cargo was found to be infected, the whole cargo was ordered to be destroyed. How could they expect to get rid of the disease at home unless they applied the same restrictions to the home trade? From his experience of the course of action taken in 1873 he had long ago arrived at that con clusion. He believed the fact that the cattle plague was raging when the Committee was sitting had caused them to rush into extreme measures which in their calmer moments they would not have contemplated passing. In another place he found it to be not so severe as the recommendation should have led to. The Committee recommended the most extreme restrictions in regard to home cattle; but when the Bill appeared, he found the restrictions upon foreign cattle repeated as strongly as when urged by the Committee; but it was very different with the home producer. Inconvenient as the restriction might be on home trade, there was not that hard-and-fast regulation by which foreign trade was bound. The Privy Council were allowed great discretion as regarded home trade; but in the foreign trade no discretion at all. The thanks of the country were due to the calm manner in which the Privy Council had acted, and for their having, in a large measure, got rid of the disease throughout the country in a very short space of time. After a second reading in the House of Lords that Bill was referred to a Select Committee. Witnesses gave evidence before that Committee, and in the result the Bill was reduced from the proposals it then contained to the Bill before the House. The Government had managed, in a very adroit way, to obtain approval of the measure from all sides; but when they came to examine the matter, they found that the reasons given for being in favour of it were of the most opposite character. Many witnesses expressed opinion that the regulations against foot-and-mouth disease were outrageously severe, and that the effect of stopping all traffic within a district and all fairs and markets—fairs such as as Ballinasloe and Mullingar—would be most disastrous to trade. But the hon. Gentleman in charge of the Bill re-assured witnesses by disclaiming an intention of putting in force these discretionary powers; while to witnesses with a different view, he pointed out the powers they might exercise if they thought it necessary to do so. Expression of opinion and Petitions one way or the other really determined nothing as to the opinion of the country. Looking at the Bill as it at present stood in relation to home restrictions, he did not believe a single clause would do much damage to anyone con nected with the cattle trade between England and Ireland; but that it would do any good he was unable to see. The home restrictions were reduced to a minimum, while the import restrictions were left at the point where they were left by the recommendations of the Committee. In all the suggestions made for stamping out the disease, there was not one admitting that the provisions of the Bill would do it. It was admitted that it could be done; but anything approaching the mild restrictions of the Bill would not have the slightest effect. Those scientific witnesses whom the hon. Member for Mid-Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) alluded to as "muddle-headed Professors" agreed with practical farmers in urging the necessity of severe restrictions to stamp out the disease? But what was the use of the Bill? The Secretary for the Colonies had suggested the amendment of the Bill by more stringent clauses in Committee; but if that was proposed, he anticipated a great change of opinion upon the Bill among Irish Members, and severe opposition. It was specially necessary to go into that question. Nearly every speaker had made allusion to the question of Irish imports, and he would leave the defence of that point to hon. Gentlemen who sat on the Committee of last year. In the Committee of 1873 the question of Irish imports had occupied a good deal of attention, and Ireland owed a deep debt of gratitude to the hon. Member for Carlow for the manner in which the conduct of that inquiry had been conducted. He went into the Committee expecting very serious charges to be made against the amount of Irish cattle disease; but he had been amazed at the weakness of the case. To say that Irish cattle imported disease because they suffered from it in this country was as ridiculous as it would be to say that a man who caught small-pox in London must have brought it from Ireland because he was an Irishman. No evidence was given before the Committee of last year to show that there was any great increase of foot-and-mouth disease among the cattle coming from Ireland. He had heard it said—"Why do you not vote for the second reading of the Bill?" The principle of the Bill was that they were to prevent importation from abroad. A deputation which waited upon the President of the Privy Council the other day said—"Do not give way on the question of foreign inport; if you do, we would rather you would withdraw the Bill." That showed what was regarded as the principle of the Bill by those who most thoroughly supported it. The question, therefore, was, whether they were going to sanction that principle or not? For his part, he was not prepared to do so. It was admitted that home restrictions were reduced to a minimum, so that restriction of import must be the main object of the Bill. It was now said by some who supported the Bill that considerable modifications might be made in the restrictions on imports; and if that were done, while the home restrictions were reduced to nothing, what would remain of the Bill? Why should the time of the House be occupied now in debating such a Bill? If the Government would say that would get rid of the foreign restrictions, the Bill might soon be disposed of, or superseded by a simple measure embodying the points upon all were practically agreed. He would vote against the second reading of the present measure.


said, that perhaps the House would allow him to say a few words upon this Bill, seeing that it related to a matter, of which he had a very long experience, in connection with the Royal Veterinary College, an institution of which he had had the honour to propose the late Speaker of that House as a Governor, and from among the pupils of which almost every official in the Veterinary Department of the Government was taken. Athough he was not a Member of the Committee on Cattle Diseases of 1873, nor of the Committee of last Session, he had had the means of acquiring information with regard to these diseases, which no man could possess, unless he had been connected, as he (Mr. Newdegate) had been, with the government of the Veterinary College for 30 or 40 years. He had heard a great deal in the course of this debate in depreciation of the importance attached to foot-and-mouth disease, and he was prepared to support the evidence of Mr. Booth, when he said that much greater inconvenience and loss was inflicted by foot-and-mouth disease than by either rinderpest or pleuro-pneumonia. The House had decided long ago upon arming the Privy Council with sufficient powers to stamp out the rinderpest, and this had now been twice done. The powers exercised by the Privy Council had also proved sufficient for restricting the mischief from pleuro-pneumonia within very narrow limits; but that in which all legislation, that in which the Executive, had failed, had been in effectually limiting the mischief inflicted by this foot-and-mouth disease. He admitted that the provision of this Bill, against which the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford was aimed, was a very stringent provision; but that provision had this merit—that it was founded upon sound principles of political economy. Unless prepared to support free trade in disease, the House was bound to exercise its functions for the limitation of this disease. He had heard several hon. Members—for example, the hon. Member for Glasgow (Mr. Anderson), the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford—all say—"This is a proposal for the re-enactment of Protection." ["Hear, hear!"] "Hear, hear!" and so it was—protection against disease. And he would tell the Free Traders this—that if they wished to bring the doctrines they had so long professed into odium, they could do nothing more effectual than by proclaiming themselves the advocates of free trade in disease. He well remembered the furor of the Free Trade movement, which followed upon the railway mania. He withstood that furor; he foresaw the day when its advocates would so exaggerate its principles as to bring them into disrepute; and he held that those who desecrated the name of Free Trade by declaring themselves in favour of the importation of disease, were doing their utmost to render the doctrine of Free Trade odious. In the course of this debate he had heard some disrespectful expressions with regard to muddle-headed Professors, and those who were engaged in carrying out the restrictive powers which were already vested in the Privy Council—he alluded to the Inspectors. He had known those men for many years; and he now told the House that if it desired—as the hon. Member who had just spoken (Mr. O'Conor) desired, though he was opposed to the Bill—that any restrictions should be effectual against the dissemination of disease, they must not speak lightly of officers whose functions were so often necessarily invidious, as were those of the Veterinary Inspectors.


wished it to be understood that he had not spoken lightly or disrespectfully of those officers; on the contrary, he had spoken respectfully of them, and the expression referred to came from the Ministerial side of the House, and he had only quoted it.


was glad to hear that, not with standing the hon. Member had argued, to the best of his ability, against imposing any restriction upon the Irish cattle trade, with the view of preventing the importation of disease from Ireland into this country, he was, at all events, not prepared to discredit the officers, who were engaged in the laborious duty of inspection. One misfortune in Ireland was, that the staff of Inspectors was so inadequate that disease was current among the cattle. They had been assured by the hon. Member for Limerick (Mr. Synan) that the original Irish cow never suffered from disease; but it was, unfortunately, a fact, that when an original Irish cow came to England she imported disease; and, however unwilling Irish Members might be to accept any restrictions whatever upon the trade in cattle between Ireland and England, he would tell them that they must be prepared to submit to restrictions being imposed, with the object of mitigating the evils which English agriculturists had suffered from the importation of disease from Ireland. Here he would advert for a moment to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh. It seemed to him as if the whole argument of the right hon. Gentleman assumed, that if foreign cattle were slaughtered at the port of landing, they were lost to the consumers of the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) adopted the same line of argument; and then he suddenly quoted the success of Denmark in excluding these diseases, totally forgetting that the restrictive measures employed by the Government of Denmark were quite as severe as those which were originally contained in this Bill. It had amused him (Mr. Newdegate) very much to hear the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford cite the fact that the Minister for the Netherlands had addressed a letter to the Government of this country deprecating the restrictions which the Bill imposed, though his Excellency must have been conscious that the restrictions adopted by his own Government of Holland were quite as severe as those in the Bill before the House. Then they had heard it said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh, that the foot-and-mouth disease must be held to have been naturalized in this country. Nay, it had even been propounded that it originated in this country. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of this disease as naturalized here; but he (Mr. Newdegate) believed that it was no more naturalized than the hippopotamus in the Zoological Gardens. He remembered the introduction of the disease in the year 1839, and not long afterwards Professor Sewell told him that he was convinced that the disease was imported in what were called "ship stores"—that was, cattle, sheep, or swine, brought over in vessels to the port of London as part of their provisions, although the importation of other cattle was strictly prohibited. The proof of this consisted in the fact that the disease first made its appearance in Stratford and Bow, close to the London Docks. Hon. Member after hon. Member had risen, and said that very little of this disease had been imported. Why, in 1875 there were not less than 20,228 diseased cattle imported into this country, and out of that 20,228, upwards of 19,000 were affected by foot-and-mouth disease. Surely, then, while such an importation of this disease was constantly going on, it was impossible for the country to free itself from it. Here was a record for the following year, 1876. In the month of January in that year, 926 animals affected with this disease were imported; in February, 1,419; and in March, 1,584; so he might go on from month to month. It appeared to him that hon. Members had been speaking without a knowledge of the facts. If, however, they would turn to the records provided by the Veterinary Department, they would find that from month to month the supply of this disease had been constantly maintained from abroad. Hon. Members said—"Why can't you leave a discretionary power with respect to the slaughter of animals at the port of landing in the hands of the Privy Council?" They would exempt Norway, Spain, and Portugal; and one Member—he thought it was the right hon. Member for the University of Edinburgh—went so far as to say that no disease was imported from either Spain or Portugal. But let the right hon. Gentleman turn to the records of the Veterinary Department, and he would find that at different periods pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth disease had been imported from both those countries. Then they had the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone), and the hon. Member for Southampton (Mr. Giles), who declared that the cattle trade would be utterly destroyed unless this discretionary power was intrusted to the Privy Council; they desired that the trade should be rendered permanently uncertain. Now, if the House established regulations under which the cattle were to be slaughtered at the port of landing, there would be no uncertainty about the trade; whereas if they gave a discretionary power to the Privy Council, they would revive the uncertainty of the old sliding scale of duty upon corn; and over and over again he had heard it argued in that House, that the uncertainty under that scale rendered the extension of the corn trade impossible. So it was; yet after hon. Members, speaking on the part of the consumers, said they desired a constant and increasing supply of foreign cattle to meet the demand, in the very next breath they proposed that this trade should be subjected to an uncertainty which would infallibly prevent its extension. But, then, it was said—"Oh! you vile Protectionists are seeking to diminish the supply of food for the people;" and this was said in face of the fact that the home supply of food was reported to be diminishing from year to year, as was proved before the Committee by the evidence of Mr. Booth, which was supported by his (Mr. Newdegate's) own personal experience, and by the testimony of most competent witnesses, which he knew to be true, and according to which the prevalence of this disease had so discouraged breeding, that the farmers of his county—Warwickshire—were many of them abandoning breeding and becoming mere jobbing graziers, in consequence of the losses they had sustained—losses in which he had suffered with them—from the prevalence of a disease which some hon. Members appeared to think so insignificant. Why, in the year 1875, out of a herd of something under 100 animals, seven of his cows died, and he had to half-fatten and sell 12 more. There were at one time 150 animals in his park, and every one of them suffered from the disease; every one of them was thrown back for months and months in fitness for the market, and yet he was told that the disease was not worthy of the restrictions which were necessary for limiting its expansion and the mischief which it did. Our cattle suffered from the foot-and-mouth disease; and, if he might judge of the political economy of those who formed what he hoped was a minority in this question, they seemed to him to be politically suffering from a hand-to-mouth affection. They seemed to be incapable of sanctioning any measure with a view to the prospective deliverance of this country from those three great imported diseases, two of which, they had proved by their own practice, could be limited by restrictions and by stamping out; and then, when they came to the third disease, an outcry was raised against pursuing a course for its eradication which their own experience had proved to be successful in the case of the two other diseases. Was not that a short-sighted policy? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford was not prepared to approve of the proposal for slaughter at the ports, and in this he was supported by a Petition, a copy of which he (Mr. Newdegate) held in his hand. That Petition was from the "Liverpool Steam Shipowners' Association," and what did these petitioners allege? They alleged that they represented a very large tonnage, and then they complained particularly of this provision in the Bill— That foreign animals are to be landed only at a part of a port, denned for that purpose by special Order of Council, to be called a 'Foreign Animals Wharf.' Thus they condemned the policy of this House in establishing the Cattle Wharf at Deptford. They further state that— The cost of the carriage, even with the smallest possible margin of profit to the carrier, is necessarily so considerable that, when added to the first cost of the cattle in the country of ex portation, the total expense barely permits of the trade being carried on in competition with the home supply. Now, if the competition of the home producer ran the foreign shippers and importers so close, was it not a proof that, with sufficient safeguards against disease, the supply from the home producer would in time enable them to dispense with the foreign importations? Yet this was adduced as an argument against the Bill. Then the petitioners said that it was not possible for the Corporation of Liverpool to make provision for the separate reception of these foreign animals, and that it was ridiculous to expect the Corporation to make any such provision, so valuable was the land on the margin of the River Mersey; yet they declared that this trade in foreign cattle was a valuable one; and, surely, if that were so, it would be worth the while of the Corporation, or some other body, to provide a landing-place for those animals. There was something contradictory in almost every paragraph of the Petition; yet, he was sorry to say, that the hon. Member for Liverpool supported its prayer; and it struck him that, when the hon. Member clung to the doctrine of Free Trade, as sanctioning the importation of disease, his arguments were as fallacious as those of his constituents. Let the House consider for one moment. It had heard the farmers denounced, it had heard the landowners denounced, as monopolists, who were seeking to raise the price of food to the people. But let the House ask itself, who had the most direct interest in the price of the food of this country being raised by the prevalence of disease? Who but the importer? Let the House consider this. If a man went to purchase cattle for importation into this country, he had the markets of the world open to him; and a rise of price in this country would very slowly, if at all within any appreciable period, affect the price in the markets of the world to which this importer went to make his purchases. But if it should happen that the importer brought disease into this country with the cattle he sent here, and that this disease was disseminated uncontrolled, as was the foot-and-mouth disease in 1839 and 1840—when Professor Symonds said that he saw the hoofs dropping off from sheep and pigs as they were lifted into the shambles, while their hoofs were swept up into baskets—if the disease was thus propagated within the United Kingdom uncontrolled, prices here must rise, and even if the importer lost one-half of the value of his cargo, he made a profit on the rest, and a larger profit upon every cargo that might escape disease. He held, then, that the man who was directly interested in raising the price of meat to the people by disease was much rather the importer than the farmer or landowner, the producers of this country. Let it be remembered that, after all, the importer dealt with but 12 per cent of the supply, and that if disease prevailed here it affected 88 per cent of the supply; and, inasmuch as every farmer, who was also a breeder, must have at least five times the quantity of live stock that he could send to market, his loss by disease must be five times that of the importer. Do not let those who advocated the interest of the importers attempt to impose upon the House the belief that they must be held guiltless of mischievous enterprize in importing disease, and that they only were guilty of raising the price of meat who resisted the invasion of disease, and claimed protection for 88 per cent of the cattle consumed in this country, which 88 per cent represented five times the quantity that came from year to year into the market. He hoped that he had made this point clear, and that he had shown that the taunt directed against the supporters of the Bill by the representatives of the importers, that they sought to raise the price of food to the people, was utterly unjust. The truth was this—the losses were so severe, extending, as they did, to the whole stock of the country, that, speaking for a large agricultural community, and he believed also for the agriculturists of the country generally, he ventured to say that they would hail with delight any increase of production, aided by foreign importation, that would reduce the price of meat from what it was now to what it was 10 years ago, provided only that they could exempt from losses occasioned by these imported diseases. It had been said—"Oh! but the Professors and Inspectors speak with hesitation of the success of those restrictions." Well, they might speak with hesitation; and if any of them were under the Gallery, and had heard the speeches made that night against the Bill, their hesitation would be justified. It was hard to expect officers, charged with such invidious duties as theirs often were, to ask for further powers of restriction and interference. They had enough difficulty to cope with already; and if they had hesitated in their evidence, they were not the men from whom should be expected the advocacy of a severer code of regulations, which they might have to enforce, though it might be essential to the welfare of the country. This House and the Government had no right to attempt to shift their proper responsibility to the shoulders of these officers. He thanked the House sincerely for allowing him to give it the result of some personal experience and knowledge of the subject. With the hon. Member who spoke last, he thought that the House of Lords had done something to impair the original Bill in its proposed internal operation; but he believed that it would be wise to adopt the principle of insisting upon the slaughter of imported animals on their arrival, and that the restrictions imposed upon the home traffic ought to be correspondingly severe. He approved of the proposals of the Bill as a whole, and trusted that the nation were to get rid of, or limit the jurisdiction of, the Privy Council in this matter, which affected the food of the people. He could not imagine how the Representatives of large communities could be content to see the people dependent for the price of their food upon the discretion of the Privy Council. There was now some hope that in this important matter the country would be governed by law—rather than remain exposed to the uncertainty of discretionary power—by a law that would give certainty to trade, and thus allow it legitimately to increase. His own belief was that, through the modern facilities of communication—by means of steam vessels and the electric telegraph—the dead meat market would be greatly extended; for orders could be sent to the Continent and executed so rapidly, that the import of the meat might be conducted in such a manner as at once to meet the demand, and defy deterioration by prolonged keeping. It was important that we should ultimately come to a dead meat supply from abroad. It was his desire that we should, for it would be safest and most economical. But, as a practical man, he supported the Bill; because, until the dead meat trade was enlarged, the foreign cattle trade must be regulated. He believed that the operation of the Bill would tend to ensure certainty and safety in the trade.


said, it was evident that although the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Newdegate) had twitted the Opposition with a hand-to-mouth policy, he had lost none of that power of the hand or mouth, which had always distinguished him. While he (Sir Thomas Acland) yielded to no man in that House in sympathy with the farmer in his losses from diseases—for he had suffered such losses himself, and could say, from experience, that the losses were not exaggerated—he failed to connect the foot-and-mouth disease with foreign importation in any direct sense, or to see in this Bill anything like a serious endeavour to grapple with the true sources of that disease. The Government appeared to be guided in this matter rather by the excited feelings of their Friends than by their own calmer judgments. If the Government had given us a provincial authority, which could have welded both the town and the country districts into one powerful municipal system, we might have had a better guarantee for the conscientious administration of the law relating to cattle, and the extirpation of cattle disease would have been a less difficult task. The essential point to be secured was to prevent the intermixture of diseased with healthy cattle. This Bill permitted dairy stock, which was the most likely to propagate disease, to travel into every corner of the land, while they would kill the very class which would not extend the infection, if its transit to markets where it would be consumed were properly regulated. Therein lay the anomaly which was, in his opinion, detrimental to the Bill. The breeding of cattle was becoming every year more and more profitable, but winter feeding was less remunerative. In his opinion, we ought to be very careful of both our dairy stock and of our young animals, and leave the supply of meat in the winter to a considerable extent to the foreign producer. If we attempted to fetter the foreign producer, by confining him to a dead meat trade, we should seriously discourage the production of cattle for the English market in any form. He had expressed his views generally as to the defects of the Bill; but he could not agree with the right hon. Member for Bradford that it was desirable to meet it by an abstract Resolution, which he considered inopportune at the present moment. He trusted that the Bill would be read a second time, and amended in Committee.


Mr. Speaker—If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) would only allow me to transfer one little word—the word "not"—from one line of his Resolution to another, I should be very happy indeed to support the Resolution. Such a transposition would make it read thus— In the opinion of this House, the slaughter at the ports of landing of all fat cattle from the Continent would not restrict the supply or increase the cost of food, and should, therefore, be made compulsory under all circumstances by Act of Parliament. Sir, I should most cordially support such a proposition, because I honestly believe it. In the late Parliament the right hon. Gentleman was omnipotent. If he introduced what we on this side considered to be a bad measure, he was enabled to carry it by the force of his majority; and if, on the contrary, he introduced a measure, which we on this side deemed to be just and reasonable, we assisted him to pass it, although against the wishes of many of his own Party. I know also that the right hon. Gentleman has very great influence in this Parliament, and I am sorry that he has lent that great personal influence towards throwing out this measure, because I am quite sure that if his Resolution is carried, it will be of no use to the country. It was very good of him to say that those who sit on this side of the House do not desire Protection for our own produce; but I think it was rather unkind of him to say that in the end Protection was what this measure would give to us. Sir, in my opinion, it will give protection—protection against disease. That is all we ask for, and that is what we mean to have if it be possible. I am very glad that in this debate we have not heard that remarkable doctrine, laid down as it has been on former occasions—namely, the doctrine which was enunciated by a very learned philosopher (the late John Stuart Mill), that cattle plague occasioned no loss to the agricultural interest, because it even tually fell on the consumer. If the British farmer supplied the whole of the country there might be some force in that observation; but it is no consolation to a ruined farmer to know that his more fortunate neighbours are getting 1d. per lb. more than he himself had realized. If there is one thing more than another that I think all these discussions and all the Committees which have considered this question have proved beyond a doubt, it is the foreign origin of these diseases. We seem to have only one opponent to this principle. I allude to the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz), whose idea in reference to cattle diseases seems to have been taken from the days of mythology and witchcraft. I was very much astonished to hear the hon. Member for Warwick (Mr. A. Peel) rake up this question again. He quoted the opinion of Professor Brown, that we had these diseases in the United Kingdom before we had the free importation of cattle from abroad. But why did not the hon. Gentleman go on to tell us what Professor Brown further said on this point. The Professor said that he had no doubt whatever that these cattle diseases were originally foreign diseases; and I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh (Mr. Lyon Playfair), that some of them have become localized amongst us; but I do not think that they have been sufficiently naturalized to prevent our getting rid of them, if we really make a determined effort. With regard to pleuro-pneumonia, I see an hon. Gentleman in this House who knows very well that in the year 1836 a large number of Dutch cows were imported into the county of Cork in order to improve the breed, and we now know for a certainty that pleuro-pneumonia in the first instance came from that locality. I do not know whether I understood the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Edinburgh right, when he said that foot-and-mouth disease could not be communicated without actual contact. If he really meant to say that, I reply that it is contrary to the results of all the experiments that have hitherto been tried. There is one experiment that I should not mind trying with the right hon. Gentleman. I should like him to go to Brown's Wharf, where the Paris cattle have foot-and- mouth disease, and to take a handful of hay from the mouth of one of those animals, and give it to some other animal that had not the disease. I have not the slightest doubt it would be found that in 48 hours the disease could be produced in most of the animals that might be there in quarantine. I will now pass on to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh University. He told us that he was one of the Cattle Plague Commissioners of 1865, and that he had voted for the stringent measures which they recommended for the stamping out of cattle diseases. Well, we were not quite unanimous on our first Report, but we were perfectly unanimous on our second Report. That Report was signed by the whole 12 Commissioners, and if the House will allow me, I will just read one extract from that document. It is this, with regard to foreign cattle— To restrict importations absolutely to certain ports, and to cause all fat cattle to be slaughtered at those ports, and all store stock to undergo a period of quarantine. Well, Sir, that Report was signed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh University. I claim his vote on the present occasion in support of this Bill, because there is no doubt that what I have just read constitutes the pith and substance of the measure now before the House. [Mr. LYON PLAYFAIR: That was with reference to the cattle plague.] It was not restricted to cattle plague, and I cannot let the right hon. Gentleman off on that plea, because the Commissioners were dealing with the imports of cattle from abroad generally. We had dealt with the cattle plague in our first Report, and had recommended that great restrictions should be adopted with regard to that disease. That being done, we went on to consider the question of the general importation of cattle to this country; and I say, most advisedly, that the Commissioners recommended all fat cattle to be slaughtered at certain ports. You were not to include certain countries and omit others, but were to insist that all stock shall be slaughtered coming from all foreign ports. The right hon. Gentleman has told us how stringent were the regulations with regard to foreign cattle. But he might also have told us that the Commissioners— Thought it useless to trust to any precautionary measures which any foreign Government might be induced to apply in the case of cattle leaving their own ports or frontiers; such precautions might be desirable, but no reliance was to be placed upon them. I was astonished to find that the right hon. Gentleman intended to vote against the principle of the Bill, because it is that which is assailed by the Resolution of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford. We have had Committees on this question without end. There was a Committee in 1867, there was another in 1873, and another in 1877, as well as one on the Foreign Cattle Market Bill. There was also a Committee in the year 1874, a Committee presided over by Dr. Brewer, with regard to the slaughter-houses of this Metropolis. Thirty years previously a Bill had been passed by Sir Robert Peel, providing that all private slaughterhouses were to be abolished, and we were to have nothing but public slaughter-houses in the Metropolis. But the result has shown how powerful the butchers of the Metropolis are in this House. The Committee who considered this question said, in substance, in their Report, that the existing slaughter-houses were such pleasant, healthful places, that they really ought not to be abolished, and the consequence is that we still have them, and I suppose they will go on for ever. For my own part, I am strongly in favour of the proposal to establish public slaughter-houses, and I shall be glad to see them adopted, especially in this great Metropolis. In fact, I think it a disgrace to the age that in this, the first City in the world, we should still allow private slaughter-houses and town dairies to exist. There are certain recommendations of the Committee of 1873 which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Forster) said he should like to support, and which we embraced in the Bill. Let us take the case of pleuro-pneumonia. There were four recommendations of the Committee as to this subject. The first recommendation was, that all cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia should be killed; the second was, that that regulation should be extended to Ireland; the third, that compensation should be raised to three-fourths of the loss of the animals slaughtered instead of being one-half the value; and the fourth, that the period of isolation should be extended from 28 to 56 days. Well, the right hon. Gentleman instantly issued an Order in Council, under which all cattle affected with pleuro-pneumonia in Great Britain were to be slaughtered; but that provision was not extended to Ireland until such time as a great stir was made about it in this House, and then a measure was passed which came into operation last year. Another Order in Council was also passed by this Government to increase the compensation; but there was nothing done with regard to extending the period of isolation to 56 days, because, I believe, that would require a special Act of Parliament. That suggestion is contained in this Bill. I have been asked by the hon. Gentleman the junior Member for Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), why it was that on a former occasion I tried to prohibit the importation of store cattle from Holland? This was one of the points which came before the Committee, and the facts were these—Pleuro-pneumonia was rife in Holland, so rife that they now had from 2,000 to 6,000 cases of that disease amongst a total of only 1,500,000 animals; and how, in the name of goodness, the Netherlands Minister could have written the letter in which he stated that that country was free from disease, I cannot understand. It seems he must have meant that the country was free from cattle plague. If so, that is a statement which no one disputes. But let us see what the right hon. Gentleman opposite did. He insisted on the English farmer's stock being killed when it was affected with pleuro-pneumonia, and yet he would not schedule Holland, where that disease was rife. And what would be the consequence? Why, that the disease, which is now admitted may have an incubative period of 56 days, was expected to be discovered by the Veterinary Inspectors in a quarantine of only 12 hours. I ask the House, was it fair to impose these penalties upon the British farmer, and to allow him to be invaded by cattle bringing this disease from Holland? Professor Simonds has said "that the present measures were satisfactory and it is better to leave well alone;" but I consider that the present measures are not satisfactory, except to some Government officials. I should like now to spy one word in my own defence with regard to the extension of these pleuro-pneumonia rules to Ireland. It was at first said that that could not be done, and that we heard that there was no pleuro-pneumonia in Ireland. I made a bold statement; I said that I was positive of this fact, that if you were to apply these rules to Ireland—if you were to slaughter the cattle and give a liberal compensation—in the following year it would be shown that there were as many outbreaks of pleuro-pneumonia recorded in the City of Dublin alone as had been reported from the whole of Ireland in the former year. Well, Sir, what happened? In the year 1876 there were in Dublin 63 cases, and in the rest of Ireland 361, making a total of 424. Now, in the following year, 1877, there were in Dublin alone 460 cases—which shows what a good prophet I was—and 1,659 in the rest of Ireland, making a total of 2,119; and this is the country from which we are sure to have no pleuro-pneumonia! Will the House allow me for one moment to give it the results of the experiments we made in the county of Norfolk with regard to the extirpation of pleuro-pneumonia? Before the slaughter rule was issued—that is to say, in August, 1873, we had in that year no less than 1,722 cases of pleuro-pneumonia in our county. Now, let me read to you what has happened since. In the year 1874 there were 960 cases; in 1875, 692 cases; in 1876, 580 cases; in 1877, 449 cases; and in 1878—since they have had the slaughter rule in force in Ireland—there were only 304 cases. You may say that this is not a very remarkable diminution; but still I think that a steady diminution from 1722 to 304 is a very satisfactory result. I contend that it is necessary that we should give a good compensation in order to obtain early information of the existence of this disease; and, in my opinion, three-fourths of the value, or rather of the loss sustained by the slaughter of infected animals, is not too much, especially when you propose to inflict a period of 56 days' prohibition against the movement of all cattle from the farm in which the slaughter rule has been applied. I say that the adoption of such a course in respect of compensation and prohibition of movement gives us a reasonable hope that if the regulations were general throughout the country, we might, in the course of a few years, get rid of this dire disorder, provided we do not continue to re-import it from abroad. I have been asked by several hon. Members why it is I have expressed an opinion that there should be no exemption from the Schedule in the case of any European country? and I think that there have been a good many reasons given; but I have one of my own, and it is this—that England is the focus towards which all the fat cattle of the Continent radiate. We have known from the earliest times that the movement of these cattle diseases is from East to West, and when the hon. Member for Birmingham says—"Why don't you apply the same rule to America?" my answer is that I am not aware that they have any contagious European diseases now in America. They certainly have no cases of foot-and-mouth disease, and I say that the traffic from that country is a totally different thing from the traffic from the Continent of Europe; that whereas there might be extreme danger in exempting one European country from the operation of the Schedule, there may not be so much danger in allowing American cattle to come in; for though I must confess I should not be surprised that where you have a sea voyage of 3,000 miles, and a previous land journey of frequently 1,200 miles, certain diseases might be engendered which one of these days we may have to encounter; but, at the present moment, the fears that may be entertained on that score have happily not been realized, and I hope they never will. Now, Sir, I will illustrate my meaning by what you will think is no very complimentary allusion to my own county. Norfolk, with regard to store stock, is, in my opinion, in exactly the same position that England occupies with regard to fat stock imported from the Continent. As England is the end of the fat cattle traffic from Europe, if we do not take great care, we shall get every European disease which is common to different European countries settled here; while, on the other hand, as Norfolk is the end of the store cattle traffic, we always have in that county every disease that is common to the rest of the country. It is a well-known fact that the cattle of Ireland, taken as a whole, are singularly healthy, and it is also a well-known fact that when they arrive in Norfolk they develop certain diseases which they have caught in transit. And we find this—that however well you regulate the Irish cattle trade, however carefully you inspect them before they are embarked, when they arrive in this country, and when they are taken inland, you cannot always protect them from disease in passing through our own districts. Therefore, is it at all likely that we shall have any chance of protecting those animals that come from abroad from the different sources of infection? If you are to have one or two countries taken out of the Schedule, you will be bound to have separate ports or wharves, and you ought to have separate markets to take them to; because, if they by chance come in contact with other stock, there is the risk of contracting disease. In our own country we know something about the condition of our own cattle; but our knowledge of foreign stock is certainly very limited, and we have no authority over them until they land here. All we know is, that after a long journey and dangerous voyage they must be regarded with much suspicion. As long ago as 1864, there was a Report presented to this House on the Cattle Importation Bill, which was introduced by Lord Aberdare when he held the Office of Home Secretary. The Bill was considered unnecessary, for this reason— Because power then existed under the law to prevent the removal of diseased cattle from one part of the United Kingdom to another—a power which could not be exercised with respect to cattle imported from foreign countries into the United Kingdom. That was a good and sufficient reason why we should not treat our stock as we do those imported animals. Now, Sir, it may be asked why there is not a better market at Deptford, and what is it that the importers chiefly complain of? Why, Sir, it is the uncertainty of the market. If there were a regular supply, there would be a regular demand; but there is no rail, and no real market at Deptford. When the animals are sent there, nobody knows when they arrive; and when the foreign importer sends stock into the different ports of the United Kingdom, he stands a good chance of having them killed at those ports; which, no doubt, is, when it happens, a serious loss to him. For instance, it is a hindrance and trouble if a man lands all his stock at Brown's Wharf, or at Thames Haven, and then re-ships them to Deptford; but I believe that if he imports them to Southampton or to Liverpool, and they have to be slaughtered there in consequence of the outbreak of disease, there is a considerable loss, there being no dead meat market there, and so they come up to London. But if they have to be slaughtered in a place like Newcastle, where I understand the local authorities have recently spent a large sum of money in providing most excellent wharves and lairs for the accommodation of foreign stock, I do not think any loss will accrue. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the stock from these foreign markets have to be killed at once; but no such thing happens. If you go to Deptford, you see cattle kept there for a week. They may live there for 10 days, if there is a desire to keep them for that time. There are capital sheds and lairs, and they seem to flourish as well there as at any other place I know of. I was talking the other day to a very large importer of cattle, who said to me—"If you allow one foreign European country to be excluded from the Schedule, you will immediately put the whole of us in a fever, and place us all in the same disadvantageous position; tar us all with the same stick, and put us all in one market; we shall very soon settle down, and we shall take very little harm. If, however, on the contrary, you allow two or three European countries to have certain privileges in cases where they are supposed to be free from disease, the rest will not like it, but will be dissatisfied." Now, Sir, that, I believe, would hurt nobody, except it might be the contractors who supply the Government. The Government, for some reason or other, insist on having live cattle, and the consequence is, that when the Dutch imports are not allowed to be brought inland alive, they go to the Spanish stock for their supply. The House hardly need to be assured that the Inspectors of the Government are such able judges of meat, that they know the carcase of a bull or an old cow is not good steer meat. For my part, I do not see any necessity for this butchering by the soldiers of the whole contracts for the British Army, and I think that the contractors might be allowed to supply some dead meat. I was astonished at what the right hon. Gentleman opposite said as to the imports from Spain. In July and August, he told us, when the Gulf Stream made it difficult to bring live cattle from America, Spanish cattle arrived to supply the deficiency. I always thought that the Spanish cattle were stall-fed, and that they came in the winter and early spring, when our grass-fed cattle are not available. Perhaps the House is not aware that all the imports from Portugal are confined to two firms, one of them at Liverpool, and I think the hon. Member for Liverpool (Mr. Rathbone) referred the other night to a Petition from that firm, who are steamship owners engaged in the trade; but it would appear, from what he added, that the Petition was signed when the Bill was brought into the House of Lords. There is no doubt that foot-and-mouth disease exists in the Peninsula, otherwise it would not answer the purpose of the importers to keep a Veterinary Surgeon there, at a salary of £400 a-year, in order to detect the disease. It is admitted to be well that these precautions should be taken; but if there be no disease there, as has been stated, why, I repeat, is an Inspector kept there at a salary of £400 a-year, for doing nothing? We have now and then cargoes from the Peninsula direct to Deptford Market. Why is that? Because it is known that they are subject to foot-and-mouth disease, and the worst cases we have had at all have been from Spain and Portugal. [Mr. LYON PLAYFAIR: In what year?] I think it was in the year 1874. With regard to France, the right hon. Gentleman opposite laid great stress on the cessation of imports from that country. Since the War, France has herself imported large quantities of cattle from Holland and Germany, which shows that her surplus stock was destroyed by the War and its ravages; and the fact is, that beef is dearer in Paris at the present time than it is in London. This being the case, it is easy to see why France cannot send us any stock, and she is very likely to go and compete with us in Holland and Germany; and, besides this, when the stock goes to the Paris market, they are not allowed to be killed at private slaughter-houses, but in the public market. When I hear anyone contending that cattle imported here go to certain slaughter markets on their arrival, and that this prevents their being sent, I say you may just as well argue that when a dealer sends his stock to any city which has public slaughter-houses to which he is obliged to go, that consequently he will not patronize that market. It is perfectly ridiculous to assume that because people have to go to one slaughter-house or another, in the one case they will come in numbers, and in the other they will not come at all. The right hon. Gentleman has made a great point about the importations from Holland, and drew attention to their decrease last year; but I have the figures showing the increase for the past eight weeks. From these it appears that the increase in the imports during that period, as compared with the corresponding period of the year 1877, was 16,369. I want to point out to the right hon. Gentleman this fact—that there was a general falling-off of the imports last year, not only from the scheduled, but also from the unscheduled countries; and even from the right hon. Gentleman's favourite country, Denmark, there was a diminution of the supply. Now, I will ask the House to consider why this was. One of the chief reasons was, that during the summer and autumn of last year the price of meat fell considerably, although I dare say that many hon. Gentlemen had not the remotest idea of the fact when they paid their butchers' bills. I have the wholesale prices; and although I am told that, as a rule, the butchers did not reduce their prices in 1877, it is notorious that the wholesale prices were lower. In the past month, the wholesale prices have gone down 1d. in the lb.; but I do not think that is generally the case in regard to the retail price. It seems to me that the retail price of meat has about as much to do with the wholesale price as the price of beer has to do with the cost of malt and hops, or as the price of the 4lb. loaf has to depend on the price of wheat. We heard the other day that although wheat was only 50s. a-quarter, the bakers at the West End of London were charging no less than 9d. for the 4lb. loaf, when everybody knows that it ought to be about 6d. With regard to the decreased importations, which the right hon. Gentleman has attributed to the restrictions, just look at the figures with reference to pigs. The pig is undoubtedly a useful animal; but I suppose it is too small for the right hon. Gentleman to pay much attention to it; and, consequently, he has confined his observations to the importation of cattle. I have here some figures showing the importation of pigs from 1874 to 1877, and I find that, whereas in 1874 there were 115,000 of these animals imported, in 1875 the number was only 73,000; in 1876 it was reduced to 40,000; and in 1877 it fell to 20,000. Well, what was the reason of that? The fact is, that the importation is regulated by the price, and last year pork was lower than it had been for 10 years. Our stock had greatly increased. As a rule, pigs are healthy animals; they can be cheaply fed, they breed quickly, and, as I have said, their price has been greatly reduced. Now, Sir, I am sorry to have detained the House so long; but I should like to say a word upon another subject to which reference has been made. I understood the right hon. Gentleman opposite to say "that the dead meat trade was not established; but there is no doubt that that trade is being very rapidly developed." The right hon. Gentleman must be aware that there are lots of houses in the West End of London which are being supplied with provisions entirely from places as far off as Devonshire. Tiverton, which is 180 miles from London, supplies several Londoners with meat, poultry, butter, and Devonshire cream, and one firm supplies some 50 or 60 London houses; but, beyond that, we have known of such things as taking a lot of meat all the way to Australia, and bringing it back again, the passengers being fed on this meat during the whole of the two voyages, and fish even has been treated in the same way. Then we have this most remarkable instance of the importation of meat from South America. It was a case in which, the machinery of the vessel having broken down, the ship was detained in the Tropics for three months, and when its cargo of meat was landed in France, it was found to be in an excellent state of preservation. I would remind my right hon. Friend that in 1876 the value of dead meat imported was £2,923,000; in 1877 the importation had risen to £4,117,000. In five months of 1876 we imported 1,897,000 cwts. of meat, while in 1877 the import reached 2,186,000 cwts., and in 1878, 2,937,000 cwts. Well, Sir, although the quantity imported into London is about stationary, in Liverpool it has risen in an enormous degree. In 1876 the imports were valued at £1,037,000; in 1877 they had increased to £1,761,000. In Glasgow, the importations in 1876 were £409,000, and in 1877 they had risen to £757,000. With regard to fresh beef, the importations in Liverpool were 102,000 cwts. in 1876, and 320,000 cwts. in 1877. In Glasgow, 35,000 cwts. in 1876, and 103,000 cwts. in 1877; and yet the right hon. Gentleman has stated that the American meat trade has not increased or prospered. I trust he will allow me to read him a statement I have here of the quantity of American meat sold in the London markets during the first five months of each of the last three years. In 1876 the quantity was 1,260 tons; in 1877, 6,960 tons; and in 1878, 10,864 tons. And the grand total of all goods so sent to London is 198,000 tons, or equal to 800,000 cattle. Well, Sir, I went this morning at 6 o'clock into the Smithfield Market, in order to have a look at the supply of American beef; and I must say that, considering the extreme heat of yesterday, I was surprised to see the good condition in which that meat was. Considering the way in which that meat is handled, its condition was something marvellous. It is taken out in excellent order from the holds of the ships at Liverpool, and is then put on barges, or into carts, whence it is conveyed to the railway station, and there it is laid in common trucks, just as we see sides of bacon trucked. Arrived at London, it is transferred to carts, and brought to Smithfield Market, where, under a glass roof, the temperature cannot be very low in such weather as this. But I was particularly struck with this fact—that although many portions of the meat were damp and flabby, they were, at the same time, exceedingly cool, and fairly sweet. I also was struck with the number of carts that had come there from the West End, and the number of West End butchers who were buying ribs after ribs of American beef, which, by the time it gets to the West End, is doubtless transferred to the category of best Aberdeenshire meat. And there is this singular fact to be considered— namely, that while it is bought at 7d. or 8d. a-lb. at Smithfield, if you ask the price at the West End shop, you will find that such meat is not sold there at less than 1s. a-lb. I have spoken of the way in which it is handled; it is shoved into a cart anyhow—mutton and beef, and veal and lamb, all packed one on the top of the other, and then, as if this were not bad enough, some great fat fellow sits on the top of it all and drives away—and I should think it is not very much improved by the weight and heat of his body. Well, Sir, my right hon. Friend said that when this meat comes into the market, it must be consumed within a very limited time; but that observation does not apply to American meat alone. It applies to all dead meat, although I cannot see why it should apply to dead meat at all. It seems to me that the science of butchery is about just what it was in the days of the Patriarchs, and that we have not got beyond what is recorded of Abraham, who ran to the fold, and fetched a calf tender and good, so butchers make you believe that the only way to supply meat is to have a whole lot of animals in their slaughter-pens, instead of resorting to improved arrangement for cold storage, and so forth. With regard to cold storage, are not hon. Members aware that there is in this City an immense Store for the reception of dead meat? It is under the Cannon Street Station, and in the cool arches which are there devoted to storage, and which measure 500,000 cubic feet, there is room for 12,500 tons of meat. I might add, any butcher may go there and deposit a quarter of beef at a cost of 1s. 3d., a whole bullock for 5s., the carcase of a sheep or pig for 6d., and of a calf for 1s. 6d., and this is inclusive of the cost of retention, rent, storage, and insurance for one month, if the butcher thinks proper to keep it there for that period. I would challenge any hon. Member who does not believe in this dead meat trade to go and examine these Cannon Street Stores. It must follow, as a matter of course, that if we are to have large importations of dead meat, there must be a place, or places, of this kind in which it can be stored; and, although the right hon. Gentleman may be right in saying at the present moment that the trade has not developed itself to any enormous extent, I cannot see any reason why it should not be very considerably developed in a comparatively short time. In quoting the evidence given before a Committee of this House, the right hon Gentleman spoke of the information given by butchers and salesmen, who attended in great force before that Committee. Well, Sir, I should like to refer to the case of the removal of Smithfield Market, which some hon. Gentleman may remember. In the year 1828, a Committee of this House reported that the site of the old Stock Market was very objectionable. There were Committees without end upon the subject, and some of the opinions given about the removal of that market are deserving of comparison with what the butchers have said about Deptford Market. One man who was examined, said— I do not know six butchers out of 3,000 or 4,000 who would be satisfied with the removal of Smithfield Market to Islington. Another said— Its removal would be, I think, a great injury to the community, and also to the trade. Another man said— It would subject the trade to great inconvenience without achieving any public advantage. Another witness said— The removal would greatly affect the consumers, increase the price, and the separation of the dead from the live market would be a great sacrifice of time and trouble. This is exactly what has been said about the Deptford Market. But there is one gentleman who, I think, capped the whole, by saying— If Smithfield Market is altered it would be the means of demoralizing the future generation of butchers more than anything that ever existed. Another great authority who has been quoted in this debate is Professor Simonds. He has been put forward as a high veterinary authority. I have very great respect and esteem for my friend Professor Simonds. He is a countryman of mine, and therefore I ought to speak well of him; but, at the same time, I must say that I do not know any man who has changed his opinion more than Professor Simonds. He still sticks, I believe, to the obsolete idea of innoculating sheep for the sheep-pox. Twenty years ago that idea was enter tained, and the disease lingered among us for two or three years; whereas, if the diseased sheep had been slaughtered, and due restrictions imposed, we might have got rid of the disease without much trouble. I will refer to what Professor Simonds said to a Committee, of which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for West Sussex (Sir Walter B. Barttelot), whom I am sorry not to see in his place, was a Member. I ought, perhaps, to preface the extract by saying that Professor Simonds had beforehand been sent out at the request of the Royal Agricultural Society to make investigations respecting the cattle plague in 1863. In the following year, when before the Committee, this is what he said of the cattle plague— Other nations take the precautions and prevent the necessity of our applying them. He also says— It is just possible, if a European war should break out, that we might have the rinderpest in the following year; but without war it did not come in 1865. He goes on further to say— It is scarcely possible, with the regulations that exist on the Continent, for the disease to follow in the wake of an Army; and yet, whenever there has been an Army concentrated in the East and moving towards the West, cattle plague has invariably followed. With regard to pleuro-pneumonia, he says— It does not originate without communication or infection from other diseased animals. Then he says— Pleuro-pneumonia spreads at times from atmospheric influences—seeds of the disease floating in the atmosphere; whereas it is proved, beyond a doubt, that it is only by direct and immediate contact with a diseased bullock that this fell disease can be communicated. Then, he says, with regard to foot-and-mouth disease— It is not highly infectious; stock do not take the disease from following diseased cattle on the road, unless exposed to certain privations; but I, myself, have had the most carefully-tended cattle take this disease from following diseased stock on the roads. He also says— That the disease is not imported from abroad, and no animal should be stopped in importation with foot-and-mouth disease, and he has no objection to animals so diseased going to the Metropolitan markets from the wharves. Well, Sir, these are the opinions of a high veterinary authority and late Chief Inspector of the Privy Council. Some of these opinions are entirely shared by Professor Ferguson, of Dublin; for he told the Irish farmers, some time ago, that if they had cattle infected with foot-and-mouth disease, they should keep them at home, and send all the rest to market, which, of course, means that the seeds of the disease are to be brought over to England. Then we come to Professor Brown, who is much too clever a man to contradict himself. Professor Brown is quoted because he is a veterinary officer of the Privy Council. I do not think that anyone connected with that Department is very much improved by the fact of that connection, and especially when he is a veterinary surgeon; because, although, no doubt, he has distinct ideas on these matters, he appears to me to inherit all the halting, temporizing, half-hearted policy that generally influences the Privy Council Office. Besides this, these officials are never out of reach of the pressure exercised by the cattle dealers and importers, who are always going to the Office whenever they think their interests are endangered; and, generally speaking, they get rather more attention paid to their wants than we agriculturists think they ought to receive. For my part, I much prefer the erratic genius of Professor Gamgee, the sound veterinary science of Mr. Fleming, and the scientific views which have been enunciated by Professor Baldwin. I will not go into the question that has been raised as to the proportion which foreign importation bears to our home stock, except to say how greatly astonished I was at the statement put forward by the hon. Member for Warwick (Mr. A. Peel), a statement which was so misleading and utterly wrong. Why, Sir, he stated, if I understood him aright, that the importation amounted to 27 per cent of the total supply of the country. Allow me to show how fallacious this is. In the first place, I do not know how the calculation was arrived at that there was only 1,000,000 of home stock that could be slaughtered in this country. He makes no difference between the weight of foreign and English cattle, and does not take into calculation at all the cattle from Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.


said, he had compared the total number of the imported cattle with the number of cattle produced in England alone and fit for the butcher within the year.


I do not yet understand how the hon. Gentleman arrived at the conclusion that there are only 1,000,000 home cattle ready for slaughter. If he would tell me that, I might be able to work out the problem; but what he does is to take the total number of cattle in England, omitting the contribution from Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, as well as the beef consumed in those countries, and he then comes forward and tells us that the foreign supply is 27 per cent of the whole. That is a most astonishing statement, and one which I think is hardly worthy of the great authority of the hon. Gentleman. Now, I myself made a calculation some time ago, and I tried it again the other day. The result was, that I made the percentage of foreign cattle to be not 27, but 8, as compared with the homo supply; of sheep, 6 per cent, and of pigs, 1½ per cent. As to the supply of dead meat, we do not want to interfere with that at all, we rather wish to encourage it. I do not for a moment, as a producer, fear the importation of live cattle from any part of Europe; for I mean to say this—that when you look to the West of Europe, and see how small the number of cattle coming thence is as compared with the consumptive power of her people; if, for instance, France and Germany would forget their jealousies, and allow a long period of peace to spring up on the Continent, I am quite sure that they, as well as industrious Belgium, will want all the cattle they can grow. But, Sir, I am afraid, as a producer, of the prairies of America. Those prairies are unlimited, or almost unlimited, and the stock of cattle they produce is immense. Only this very morning I have seen some cattle landed from there that are of the most admirable quality, quite equal to the very best cattle we can grow in this Kingdom. The only consolation I have is the question of the expense incurred in bringing them over. I believe it is something like £10 per head by the time they arrive in England, and there is, in addition, the loss of weight in their 4,000 miles journey. But the dead meat trade, when it is thoroughly developed, will be a still more serious matter to the British farmer. We are ready to meet it; but, at the same time, I believe it will be a most formidable competition. When we get rid of the prejudices of trade, we shall, I believe, have meat from America in very large quantities—dead rather than alive—and I believe we shall also take supplies from Vienna and Hungary in the shape of dead meat; because I am told that the sheep which are sent alive cost, with their freight, loss of weight and railway journey, something like 18s. before they can be sold in our markets, whereas they can be delivered here dead for something like from 4s. to 6s. It is something for the House to know that, at least, one-half of the German sheep that go to Deptford are sent dead into the Provinces, although there is no cooling apparatus, no rail, and no advantages that might be applied to dead meat in sending it to such places as Manchester, and the large manufacturing towns. When the right hon. Gentleman told us that the supply of dead mutton in this year had very much decreased, I think it would be satisfactory to know that, during five months of 1877, the imports were 19,039 cwts., and in the same period of 1878, they had reached 70,901 cwts. We have been told that we are going to resort to untried restrictions for the suppression of these diseases. Sir, I say they are not untried. They are known in America, and they are known in New Zealand and Australia. We have, in times past, imported foot-and-mouth into those countries, and they have got rid of it. We have had in this country a most curious example of the success of such restrictions. Whoever thought, when we put the Cattle Plague regulations in force in 1865 and 1867—whoever could have imagined, except those very clever veterinary Professors of whom I have spoken, that we should have got rid of pleuro-pneumonia and foot-and-mouth disease as well? We did get rid of the foot-and-mouth disease, for we had not a single case in the county of Norfolk for 18 months, while pleuro-pneumonia was very much diminished. I may say, that until the foreign sheep were turned out of the Metropolitan Market, and took the foot- and-mouth disease to Aylesbury, from whence it was spread over the Kingdom, we were for a considerable time free from the ravages of that disease. The same thing happened when we applied restrictions in 1872 and in 1877. Some hon. Gentlemen said—"Oh, the farmers won't tolerate these restrictions." Why, Sir, we put the pleuro-pneumonia rules in force for foot-and-mouth disease in Norfolk for 18 months, and we are now entirely free from disease. We have had during that time some 12 or 13 fresh cases imported into the county from newly-bought stock; but we applied the pleuro-pneumonia rules, isolated the farms, and kept them isolated for 28 days, and the disease has been kept from spreading. Well, Sir, in my opinion, the farmers, if assured that there would be no fresh importations of disease, would submit to these stringent regulations. Of course, they will not consent to them without grumbling—that is the province of the farmer, and it is his privilege. There are, however, some people with whom we shall, no doubt, have a great deal of trouble—I allude to the butchers, and dealers, and jobbers, who of course, will render the application of these rules extremely diffcult. Just one word more, and I have done, and I thank the House most heartily for the patience with which it has listened to me. This is a question in which I take the greatest interest, and I hope I have put my views fairly before the House. I think that the Government have been hardly treated in this matter. There are many hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House who have thought during the last 18 months the Government have not acted vigorously enough, and now they are taunted on the other side of the House with having pushed forward this measure in order to protect the interests of the farmers. We considered that last year the Privy Council ought to have taken immediate steps for stamping out the Cattle Plague. Somehow, hon. Members think that they have been too timid, and that they ought to have taken action more promptly under the powers they possessed. It is asked, why did they require so much pressure from Chambers of Agriculture, deputations of the Royal Agricultural Society, and meetings without end all over the country, before they would supersede the local authorities with a view of stamping out the disease? There is no doubt they were timid, and it was not until such times as the Royal Agricultural Society pestered them, and my hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell) and I went to the Privy Council and said to the Lord President—"If you do not make immediate efforts to stamp out this disease we will move a Resolution in the House"—it was not until then the Privy Council exercised the powers they had under the Act of Parliament; and as soon as they did this the plague was stayed. ["Hear, hear!"] An hon. Member says "Hear, hear!" but what has been done in the meantime? They took three months to do what they ought to have done at once. They had an almost despotic power, and they were afraid of exercising it. I say that they did not want an Inquiry; what was wanted was some action, short, sharp, and decisive. The Government were again tempted to think that they could not do anything until they had an Inquiry, and they appointed a Committee, which was mainly composed of Town Members. ["No, no!"] I beg leave to say that the great majority of that Committee consisted of Town Members. There was not a County Member from Ireland upon it, and only 1 from Scotland. The House, however, insisted on having 3 Members from Ireland and 1 from Scotland put upon that Committee, and even then its composition gave a majority of 1 in favour of the towns, and a majority of 3 in favour of the Liberal side of the House. That Committee presented a Report, which an hon. Member had said was the worst Report ever made. I, on the contrary, think it was the best; and I say that without fear of contradiction, although I ventured to differ from the hon. Member opposite. You must remember that the main part of that Report—the chief clause it contained—was carried by 18 to 3, a large portion of the 18—namely, 10, representing borough constituencies. The Government were bound to adopt the Report of that Committee, and they did so. They then introduced a Bill into the House of Lords. When in that House, it was considered that the Irish part of the question had not been properly dealt with, while the American trade had further developed. The result was, that it was a good deal altered before it was brought into this House. Now, I, for one, like the Bill very much; but I like the original Bill still better, and the Report of the Committee best. Well, Sir, the Bill is opposed by the front Opposition Bench in a mass. I believe there is an Election cry wanted by the Opposition. We are told that we are going to have a General Election very soon, although, as far as I am concerned, I hope not. Well, the party opposite will say to us—"You are going to starve the people," and I must say that that is a better cry than "Peace at any price," or "Disestablishment," or "County Franchise." But what I contend is this—that you have had famine prices for meat, and you have had the farmers beggared into the bargain. That is my contention, and I say further, if you pass this Bill I believe you will eradicate disease. The right hon. Gentleman opposite has made a prophecy. Now, I will make a prophecy too, and my prophecy is, that in the course of the next 10 years, if we should eradicate disease, however much this country may prosper, and our trade and commerce and our mining and manufacturing works may progress, if we have peace, the price of meat will be considerably less than it has been in the past 10 years. I believe that most thoroughly. These are my true and honest convictions, and, Sir, what I have said is quite as much in the interest of the consumers as of the producers; and therefore I give my most hearty support to the second reading of the Bill.


said, he was one of those who believed there was nothing inconsistent between the interest of producers and consumers, if the proper adjustment were made of the subject now before the House. The object of the Bill was to encourage the production of meat, by giving security to farmers from disease, and to encourage a larger supply, which, of course, would cheapen its price. The Bill proposed by a combined effort to exterminate disease at home, and prevent its introduction from abroad, and so free the country from the widespread and serious losses which farmers, in the first instance, and the public indirectly, had suffered by losses in their herds from the three diseases now to be dealt with. These diseases were undoubtedly of fo reign origin; their history was sufficiently known; but two of them had obtained such a hold on the country that, unless the measures for their extermination at home were as stringent and effective as those for preventing their introduction from abroad, much improvement on the recent state of matters could not be hoped for. The Bill divided itself into two parts—the measures for dealing with disease in this country, and the mode of preventing the introduction of disease from abroad. Foreign fat cattle were to be slaughtered at the port of landing, and store and dairy animals were to be subjected to quarantine. He thought the conditions of quarantine, and the expense and risk of disease in the establishments necessary so great, that quarantine amounted to prohibition, and that only special animals would bear the cost and risk. If so, the proposal was, shortly, that foreign cattle, both fat and lean, should not be allowed to mix with our home herds. The slaughter of foreign cattle at the port of debarkation was objected to on the part of the consumer; and the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Forster) had moved a Resolution that, in the opinion of this House, such a regulation would increase the price of beef. With great diffidence he begged to differ from the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman had claimed to have proved his case; but he could only be said to have done so, if all the evidence favourable to his view were admitted and the adverse rejected. Ho (Mr. Barclay) had to remark on the evidence generally, that a great deal was founded on the mere opinion of cattle salesmen, who could offer no reasonable ground in support of their assertions. Steamboat proprietors and people from abroad had given evidence to the effect that the price of cattle would be lowered £1 or £2 per head; but they could have no opinion of their own. They merely re-echoed the assertions of the salesmen. Two important witnesses had stated that, in their opinion, the compulsory slaughter under Act of Parliament, which would be understood to be a permanent arrangement, would give a stability to the trade which, under varying Orders in Council, it never had enjoyed and never would. These witnesses were Mr. Robinson, himself a large importer of foreign cattle, and Mr. Rudkin, who had had 20 years' experience of the London Cattle Market, and whose interests seemed to be in the Central Market, and so might be considered an impartial witness. Statistics had been largely quoted, and the figures were no doubt correct; but the inferences were generally very erroneous. The hon. Member for Southampton (Mr. Giles) had given the House the number of French cattle imported into Southampton in 1869, a year when the imports were exceptionally high, and compared these figures with the import after France was scheduled, when, for some reason, no cattle had been imported into Southampton. He could give figures showing the reverse. The imports of French cattle into England were, in 1868, 5,747; and in 1875, 9,025, showing a large increase—not into Southampton, but into other parts. And, in considering this question, he apprehended they had to take an Imperial view of the question. But both figures, if accepted as giving the true state of matters, were fallacious; because everyone knew that on account of the Franco-German War, and probably other reasons, France of late years imported more live animals than she exported. Then the hon. Member for Hackney (Mr. J. Holms) had cited the fact that Aberdeen sent to London in summer a much smaller quantity of dead meat than in winter, as evidence against the practicability of conducting a dead-meat trade in summer. But the explanation of the short supply in summer was, because Aberdeenshire had very few fat cattle to kill in summer. It was not a grazing county. Now, what was the real result to the importer of the regulation to slaughter at the port of landing, and what would be the effect on his trade? The animals were not to be slaughtered on the other side, although a great many arguments seemed to be founded on that idea. The practical effect was this—the consignor might, at the time of shipment, choose his market and send the cattle to London, Newcastle, or Hull; but, having selected his market, he could not, on landing them in this country, send them to another. If the cattle were imported to London, they must be slaughtered at Deptford Market, but not immediately on landing. The charge made by the City of London—for wharfage and use of the market—of 5s. per head, included lairage for 10 days; so that, if the market were glutted when the cargo arrived, the animals might be held over. Now, although it seemed to be forgotten, the whole of the English, Scotch, and Irish cattle which came to London over a period of six years were subject to precisely the same restrictions. From 1866 till the Deptford Market was opened in 1872, all home cattle sent into London had to be slaughtered in London—they could not be taken out again alive. English farmers submitted without complaint, but some Aberdeenshire farmers said it affected them prejudicially, because customers from some suburban towns could not take home alive the prime Scots cattle as they wished, and therefore did not buy. But there could be no such grievance in the case of foreign cattle, none of which were equal to the first-class of English animals, and the importers did not say that they wished to send the animals alive to inland towns, because the quality was so poor they could not find buyers in London. This showed, to his mind, clearly, that there could be no real ground for the alarm of the right hon. Gentleman. If English farmers submitted without impatience, it could not be supposed that foreign importers would be prejudiced to any appreciable extent. But if there were not customers enough in London, there was nothing to prevent cattle being slaughtered at Deptford, and the carcases sent into the country. Indeed, he believed such a trade had, to a certain extent, been already developed, and had not attained larger dimensions because of the uncertainty of the supply due to the fact that under the scheduling system, foreign cattle sometimes went to Copenhagen Fields, and sometimes to Deptford. They had heard many objections to the dead-meat trade, but they seemed to him all of an imaginary character. It was not proposed to slaughter on the other side, and import the dead meat, as seemed to be supposed. He would not approve of such a regulation, because a considerable time would be necessary to organize and develop such a business; but he could not see any difficulty in slaughtering the animals at the port of landing, and distributing the dead meat over the country, just as the people of Aberdeen did. Aberdeenshire sent meat to London to the value of nearly £1,000,000 sterling annually, and the mode of forwarding was steadily changing into a carcase trade, instead of the live animal. In 1860, only about half the supply was forwarded as dead meat; in 1870 it had become two-thirds dead; and he believed that now the proportion was three-fourths or four-fifths dead, and one fifth alive. Only the picked beasts were sent up alive—the fine black cattle which, being known in London as giving the finest beef, fetched more alive than dead. Could there be any great hardship in compelling the London dealers to do what, under less favourable circumstances, the Aberdeen butchers did voluntarily. In the most extreme view, they would only urge the trade a little more quickly into a channel it was naturally taking. They were told such a large quantity of offal could not be disposed of to advantage at Deptford, but that also was imaginary. Aberdeen was a town of 80,000 inhabitants, and there was no difficulty in utilizing the offal there. The cattle trade was conducted so closely that 2s. 6d. or 5s. of difference between the prices realized by the live animal and the carcase would determine whether the animal came to London alive or as dead meat. The fact was that offal could be most fully utilized where there was a supply sufficient to induce a trade and system to be organized; and there was greater waste in small slaughter-houses than in an abattoir. He had failed to discover what were the grounds on which the assertion rested that foreign cattle would not realize their fair value to the foreigner at Deptford Market. The landing and selling charges were the same at Deptford as at Copenhagen Fields. The demand was declared to be sufficient, and the competition keen; and unless there was some reason to be yet brought forward, he contended that the assertion was without foundation, and not entitled to any weight in considering the effect of the proposed regulation. Where did tins difference of £1 or £2 go? They must show that the importer was in some way prejudiced by the restriction. If he was not, then the cattle would come as usual. The £1 or £2 of depreciation spoken of must go somewhere. Did the consumer get the benefit? If not, it must be absorbed in charges; but, as had been stated, the charges at Deptford were practically the same as at Copenhagen Fields. The statement of depreciation expected was entirely unsupported by the facts. With reference to the cases of countries usually free of disease—such as Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and Sweden—he had at first thought exceptions should be made in their favour as at present; and if he thought that the supply of cattle from those countries would be prejudiced, he should not insist on their slaughter at the landing port by Act of Parliament. But no disadvantage to the importer could be shown—and he thought the certainty which would be given to the trade at Deptford by a settled system would be of so great advantage that it would more than balance any possible doubt. Deptford Market had never had a fair chance. It was built by the City of London, on the general understanding that it was to be the market for all foreign cattle imported into London, as Copenhagen Fields was the market for home cattle; but no sooner was it opened than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford had allowed certain fat cattle to be taken to Copenhagen Fields, and so discredited the Deptford Market. It had been well said by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. Newdegate) that uncertainty was the great bane of trade, and so long as the uncertainty caused by fluctuating Orders in Council prevailed, so long would the trade of Deptford remain in an unsettled state. Dealers would not organize a trade, or put money in a business which might be changed at any time. When Denmark, for instance, was scheduled, and the large supply of cattle thence and from Schles-wig-Holstein had to be taken to Deptford Market, the dealers understood it might only last a few months, and instead of accommodating themselves to Deptford Market, made some temporary arrangements in expectation of the country being soon unscheduled. Then to the importer the risk was much enhanced. A whole cargo did not belong to one consignor. There might be several, and one careless shipper might cause the whole cargo to be re-shipped at Thames Haven, and sent, at very considerable expense and consequent loss, to Deptford Market. Let the trade have certainty, and dealers know what was to be the permanent arrangement, and he had no doubt the trade would be placed in a sounder and more healthy condition, and foreign cattle net on an average as good a return to the consignor at Deptford Market as at any in the Kingdom. He thought he had adduced considerations, founded on experience and common sense, to show that the anticipations of the right hon. Gentleman were unfounded, and that the reasonable probabilities were that the regulation proposed, instead of restricting the supply and increasing the price, would have a tendency in the opposite direction; and he confidently believed such would be the result. While he thus differed from the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the expediency of the treatment of foreign animals under the Bill, he concurred with him in considering the proposals for dealing with disease at home inadequate and a sham. He could not agree with the hon. Member for South Leicestershire (Mr. Pell), in considering the difference in treating foot-and-mouth disease between home and foreign cattle as objectionable. The circumstances were different. They could not isolate diseased foreign cattle at the port of landing, because, although one or two only might be diseased, the whole cargo would doubtless be infected, and accommodation could not be provided for so many, but, even if it could, the first loss would be found the least; but on a home farm the whole of the cattle on the farm could be isolated, and none moved from the farm while the disease lasted, and for 28 days thereafter. The case of disease in markets was very different; but Inspectors might examine beasts entering markets, and any diseased and those in the same lot might be slaughtered. Practical experience and zealous administration would meet such cases. The great defect in the Bill was that the machinery for dealing with disease at home was defective, and the motive power insufficient. The Local Authority in England was to be constituted as at present, and they had failed in every case of trial with rinderpest, which was more easily dealt with than pleuro-pneumonia or foot-and-mouth disease. What the farmers complained of in Scotland was, that while they were slaughtering out pleuro-pneumonia, it was being continuously introduced by cattle from England and Ireland, in consequence of the Local Authority in England and the Government in Ireland not carrying out the provisions of existing legislation. In this respect the Bill seemed a sham, and the circumstances attending the measure and its character tended to confirm this opinion. There was as much—indeed, greater—necessity for the Bill in 1874, when it should naturally have been brought forward after the Report of the Committee of 1873 than now, but it had been held over. The Duke of Richmond and Gordon had expressed last year very strong and decided opinions against his present proposals. He had not explained the grounds of the change; and it was understood he did not arrive at his conclusions without careful consideration, or change them with facility. Then, while foreign disease was stringently dealt with, the Bill failed to give English farmers that voice and hand in administering the law without which, in his opinion, the Bill would be a failure. They were unwilling to give the farmers any share in self-government. Their policy was to induce them to rely upon the Government instead of on themselves. He feared the Bill was intended to take at the next General Election the place which the great question of Compensation for Tenants' Improvements held at the last. The extermination of disease was a matter as urgent, if not of so much importance, as compensation for improvements; but unless the provisions of the Bill for dealing with disease at home were made far more effective, the measure would prove as futile to exterminate disease as the Agricultural Holdings Act to secure to farmers just compensation for unexhausted improvements.

MR. RODWELL moved that the debate be now adjourned.

Motion agreed to.

Debate further adjourned till Monday next.