HC Deb 28 May 1880 vol 252 cc635-6

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether his attention has been called to the great loss of life among cattle during their passage to British ports, stated in the Veterinary Report of 1879; and, whether in the vessels in which cattle are imported proper space is provided for them to lie down, and whether sufficient ventilation is secured?


Sir, the very serious loss of animal life referred to is mainly attributable to the violent storms which prevailed in the Atlantic last year. The fittings and ventilation of the vessels trading with America are regulated by the terms of the Order in Council, which were framed on the Report of a Committee which inquired into the whole subject in 1870. The pens in these vessels are generally arranged to hold two animals each, with sufficient space for one to lie down at a time. In some cases each animal has a separate pen. The Privy Council Inspectors are instructed to report any neglect of the Order with regard to fittings or ventila- tion. It is impossible, however, that proper ventilation should be insured "in all states of the weather," as required by the Order, because it frequently happens in the Atlantic that all fittings are carried away, and all openings have to be closed to keep out the seas'. The Lords of the Council have been in communication with the Board of Trade on this subject, and it has been agreed that it would be desirable that the powers of the Board of Trade to hold inquiries under the Merchant Shipping Acts in cases of wrecks and casualties should be extended to exceptional losses of animal life. I am afraid, in spite of all our precautions, there is a great deal of animal suffering which is preventible; and we are taking steps, in conjunction with the Board of Trade, to reduce that suffering to a minimum.