HC Deb 17 February 1881 vol 258 cc1081-2

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether, in view of the continued existence of foot and mouth disease, it is intended to issue an Order of Council prolonging the operation of the Markets and Fairs Temporary Order of 1881?


Sir, the Privy Council have been for some time anxiously considering whether it would be prudent to allow the Fairs and Markets Temporary Order to expire on February 28, or whether it would he expedient to renew it for a further limited period. In considering this important question it has, of course, been necessary to review the effect of the Order up to this time, and to estimate the probable advantage of continuing it. Without entering into minute details, it appears that when this Order came into operation on the 17th of January, foot-and-mouth disease existed in 33 English counties, and that it has only extended to two other counties— Cheshire and Durham—since that date. The Order did not originally apply to Wales; but in consequence of two outbreaks in Brecon and Radnor it has been extended to the Principality since February 12. The Privy Council are fully alive to the inconvenience which must necessarily be caused by these restrictions, and they do not consider that it would he possible to continue them far into the spring. But they are of opinion that the results of the restrictions has been so far satisfactory, the spread of disease having been cheeked in a manner unprecedented in any former outbreak; and, without being over-sanguine, they believe that the disease, though still very prevalent in some places, begins to show signs of decline, and that, upon the whole, it would be imprudent to throw away the advantage we have gained by prematurely allowing the free movement of animals. It has been represented to us that the season is very backward, and that the movement of cattle during the month of March is not on a large scale, and in Scotland the prohibitory Order extends to the 31st of March. It has, therefore, been decided to renew the Fairs and Markets Order for England and Wales until the 31st of March. It must be remembered that, while public sales of store animals will be restricted for the present, there is no prohibition of private sale, or of public sales on farms of animals which are free from disease, and which have been for 28 days on the promises. It may be added, although it has not formed part of the hon. Member's Question, that a still more important Order, the Metropolitan Order, which also expires on the 28th of February, will be renewed till the 31st of March.