HC Deb 08 March 1880 vol 251 cc552-3

asked the Vice President of the Committee of Council on Education, Whether his attention has been called to an article in the "Times" of the 4th instant from their Special Correspondent at Shanghai, which narrates: Among the prominent exports from China to England and America, after the great staples of tea and silk, has been that of hides. At the present time there is a violent cattle plague raging among the foreign dairies of Shanghai, and public opinion is much exercised as to whether there is or not a general murrain among cattle; and, whether the Government have received any account of the same; and, if so, what precautionary steps they are taking to prevent the importation of Chinese hides to this country either direct or by way of America?


Sir, the attention of the Government was called to the trade in bones and hides from ports where cattle plague exists some time before the appearance of the article in the The Times of March 4. The Lord President had in the preceding month ordered an inquiry to be made in this matter by the Chief Inspector of the Veterinary Department, who, accordingly, communicated with the Customs on the subject. It appears that, in 1879, 3,328 tons of bones were imported from Turkey, and 24,272 cwt. of hides from China, in both which countries cattle plague exists. The bones always arrive in a dry state; and the hides from China are dried, curried, tanned, or otherwise dressed and cured. We do not prohibit the importation of hides from Russia, where cattle plague has a constant existence; and, considering the distance of China and the condition in which the hides arrive, it has not been thought necessary to impose upon hides from China and America a restriction which seriously affects many branches of trade, and which ought not to be resorted to except in case of actual or imminent danger.