HC Deb 09 May 1879 vol 246 cc13-4

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether it is a fact that five hundred sheep brought from the Allan steamer "Nestorian" from Monte Video to Plymouth were prevented from being landed, and ultimately obliged to be slaughtered on board; whether there are not three authorized places for the landing of foreign animals at Plymouth; whether it is true that the "Nestorian" was prohibited from landing her sheep at one of these places, when it would have been necessary to employ boats or tugs, by the refusal of the Board of Trade to allow boats or tugs to be employed; whether the Board of Trade refused to allow the sheep to be landed at a second place, on the ground that it was reserved for horned cattle; and whether, and if so on what ground, the authorities of the Royal Victualling Yard refused to permit the debarkation for the sheep at the third landing-place; whether he is aware that this consignment was the first of an intended series of shipments of sheep from Montevideo to this Country; and, whether any steps have been taken to remove impediments presented in this case, and which threaten to prove fatal to a trade tending to cheapen the meat supply of Great Britain?


Sir, as the allegations contained in the Questions of the hon. Member do not tally with the facts reported to the Privy Council, perhaps I may give the information which the hon. Member wants, by telling him exactly what occurred rather than by answering seriatim the Questions which he has put. Under the provisions of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1878, animals brought from Uruguay can only be landed in this country for slaughter at a foreign animals' wharf. The Nestorian, with a cargo of 500 sheep from Monte Video, called at Southampton about the end of April; but being unable to land there, as there was no foreign animals' wharf, the vessel went over to Havre, and ultimately to Plymouth. The only foreign animals' wharf in Plymouth is one established for victualling purposes in the Royal Victualling Yard. An application was then made to the Admiralty to allow the animals to be there landed for slaughter; but the Yard being entirely occupied with stores, the Admiralty were compelled to decline. The shippers then asked for permission to slaughter the animals on board and land the meat at Glasgow, and this has been done under the superintendence of the Inspector of the port. Any inconvenience which may have occurred resulted from this cargo of sheep being taken to ports where there is no foreign animals' wharf. If the local authority of any port consider that the cattle trade of that port is sufficient to justify them in incurring the expense of establishing a foreign animals' wharf, the Privy Council will always be ready to entertain any such proposal. There is no regular trade in animals between Uruguay and this country, and the Plymouth local authorities have not offered any eligible site for a foreign animals' wharf.