HC Deb 24 March 1881 vol 259 cc1815-8

asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether the restrictions on the movement of cattle which expire on the 31st of March are to be extended?


asked, In what counties and districts which have been declared "infected areas" the Privy Council Orders, which expire on the 31st instant, will not (in the absence of any fresh outbreak in them of foot and mouth disease) be renewed, and fairs and markets be permitted to be reopened, on and after April 1st?


Various Orders of Council have been issued since the recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, some of which are of a temporary character, expiring at a given date, unless renewed, while the others are of a permanent nature, and remain in force until revoked by another Order of Council. As some misapprehension appears to exist on the subject, it may be advisable to make a short explanatory statement. The temporary Orders, which expire on March 31, are four—first, Markets and Fairs Temporary Order, under which the holding of markets and fairs, except under licence, is prohibited throughout Great Britain; second, the Metropolis (Foot-and-mouth Disease) Order, under which no market, except the Metropolitan Market, is allowed to be held in the Metropolis, and no animal is allowed to be exhibited in the Metropolis except for slaughter. All animals so exhibited are bound to be slaughtered within the Metropolis within a period of 10 days; third, an Order prohibiting the importation of animals from England and Wales into Scotland; fourth, an Order for preventing the introduction of disease into the New Forest. With regard to the first, we are of opinion that it will not be possible to renew the Markets and Fairs Order after the 31st instant, so that in all districts not included in an infected area markets and fairs can be held as usual after that date. The Metropolitan Order has been extended for another month—namely, till April 30, and during that period no animal which has been exposed in the Metropolitan Market will be allowed to leave the Metropolis alive. The question of continuing for a further period the Scotch and New Forest Orders is under consideration, and we are in communication with the authorities on the spot with reference to both Orders. The Orders which now apply to infected areas are distinct from the Orders to which I have referred. Under these Orders, no market or fair can be held within an infected area, except by licence of the local authority, and then only for fat animals for slaughter within six days, the Privy Council having power to license sales of store animals. We are now considering the propriety of reducing the limits of the infected areas, and it is proposed to consolidate and amend the Orders which now regulate the holding of markets and the movement of animals in infected areas. We hope to gazette the amended Orders on Tuesday next.


asked, Whether there was any truth in the rumour that outbreaks were on the increase?


I am happy to say there is no truth whatever in the report. This is by far the best week we have experienced this year.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the Provisional Orders issued under the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act by the Somersetshire Court of Quarter Sessions; whether it be true, as stated in the "Western Morning News" of Tuesday March 22nd, that, owing to a defect in these Orders, no one has power to grant a licence for the removal of stock into that county; whether, as a consequence of this, several farmers, some of them members of the local committees under the Act, have recently been fined for removing stock which they had purchased in Devon; whether there was an instance of peculiar hardship in the case of a farmer residing at Hemyock, in Devon, who applied for leave to remove his whole stock on quitting his farm on the 25th of March (his successor entering on that day), and was refused under the said Order; whether it has been brought to his knowledge that the farming interests of the adjacent western counties are harassed by such a provision, and dealers in stock impeded in their trade; and, if this be so, whether the said Court of Quarter Sessions, or its chairman or clerk, can be severally or collectively held liable for compensation for such loss of time and profit; or, if not, whether it is in his power to afford to such farmers and others any speedy and effectual remedy?


rose and said, before the Question was answered he desired to claim the indulgence of the House in regard to a matter personal to himself. At the end of the somewhat lengthy Question, the hon. Member ap- peared to desire to saddle upon him personally a pecuniary liability.


I have no such intention whatever.


said, that, at the least, he might have expected to have received from the hon. Member some kind of intimation. There was no defect in the Orders which had been issued. As Chairman of the Court of Quarter Sessions, he might say that they had been put in force by general consent, and with the most complete success. ["Order!"]


said, that when the Question had been answered the hon. Member would be at liberty to make any personal explanation if he was not satisfied with the answer.


I have the best reason for stating that the hon. Member who puts this Question had no idea or intention of casting any imputation on any hon. Member. We have received no complaints of the hardships referred to in the Question of the hon. Member; but since he has directed our attention to the matter we have asked local authorities for an explanation, which, as soon as received, shall be communicated to the hon. Member. I think it is only right to add that the administration of the Acts by the local authorities of Somerset has been most successful.


said, he was thoroughly satisfied with the statement of the Vice President.