HC Deb 08 March 1878 vol 238 cc976-7

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he can state to the House whether it is true, as reported, that there has recently been an outbreak of Cattle Plague at Rigsly, in Lincolnshire; and, if so, what steps Her Majesty's Government have taken, or intend to take, for its suppression?


This afternoon I received a note from the Department of my noble Friend (Viscount Sandon), which I will read to the House. It says— No information has been received by the Government of any outbreak of cattle plague in Lincolnshire or elsewhere; but it is known that a fatal disease, which is believed to be splenis apoplexy, appeared among some cattle on a farm at Rigsly, near Alford, in Lincolnshire, on the 23rd of February last. Forty-eight cattle died in the course of a few days. Information of a second appearance of the disease on the same farm was telegraphed to the Lord President yesterday, and the Chief Inspector of the Veterinary Department was immediately instructed to proceed to the place for the purpose of making inquiries. Since that note was written a telegram has been received from the Chief Inspector stating that only one animal has died in the last outbreak, but that four others show signs of illness. It may be interesting to the House that I should read a letter from a gentleman well known in connection with this question— The Brown Institution, March 8. Sir—I observe that Mr. Chaplin gave Notice last night that he was about to ask a Question of the Vice President of the Council or of yourself as to the recent outbreak of 'cattle plague' in Lincolnshire. Being at present engaged in an inquiry on the subject which has been set on foot by the Royal Agricultural Society, I take the liberty of sending you some information on the subject. As soon as I heard of the outbreak, I requested Mr. Duguid, veterinary surgeon of the Brown Institution, to investigate on the spot. He has made two journeys for the purpose, from the second of which he has not yet returned. The following are the most important results of his inquiries:—1. The disease is not 'cattle plague,' but 'splenic fever.' It is not a new disease in England, although outbreaks of so alarming a character as the present one have seldom occurred. From what is known as to its nature and causes it is not likely to spread. At the next meeting of the Agricultural Society, I hope to communicate facts which will tend to throw light on its mode of origin in the particular instance now in question. I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, J. BURDON SANDERSON, M.D., Superintendent of the Brown Institution. The Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer.