HC Deb 10 July 1883 vol 281 cc1020-87

said, that he rose to call attention, for the second time during the present Parliament, to the continued prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease in various districts of the country, and to the grievous injury it had inflicted, not only upon those who were more immediately engaged in the pursuit of agriculture, but also on the interests of the community at large; and he should conclude with a Motion expressive of his views upon the subject as follows:— That this House desires to urge on Her Majesty's Government the importance of taking effectual measures for the suppression of foot-and-mouth disease throughout the United Kingdom; and it is of opinion that while for this purpose it is necessary that adequate restrictions, under the powers vested in the Privy Council, should he imposed on the movements and transit of cattle at home, it is even more important, with a view to its permanent extinction, that the landing of Foreign live animals should not be permitted in future from any Countries as to which the Privy Council are not satisfied that the laws thereof relating to the importation and exportation of animals, and to the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and the general sanitary condition of animals therein, are such as to afford reasonable security against the importation therefrom of animals which are diseased. In making that Motion his contention would briefly be—First, that the whole of the losses which had been incurred by foot-and-mouth disease since the month of September, 1880, very shortly after this Government came into Office, must be traced to the landing of foreign live animals in England from countries infected with that disease abroad; secondly, that as long as that importation was permitted and continued we never could expect or hope to be permanently free from it in the future; thirdly, that it was the duty of the Government to take whatever measures might be in their power to effectually eradicate it from the country; in other words, to enforce adequate domestic restrictions in order to stamp it out at home, and to prohibit the landing of live animals in England from any infected country whatsoever, in order to prevent its re-introduction again from abroad; fourthly, and lastly, he should maintain that in taking that course Her Majesty's Government would be acting in the best interests, not only of the producers, but of the consumers of meat in this country, and of the general community at large. Before making good these propositions, he desired to call attention to two or three points in particular, which were raised early in the Session, in opposition to his views, by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella), representing the Department which was specially responsible for dealing with the question. The first of these was one on which he (Mr. Chaplin) was under the impression that all difference of opinion had long ago practically ceased, and that was, whether foot-and-mouth disease was indigenous to this country or not? The right hon. Gentleman stated, on a former occasion, that he had grave doubts upon the matter, and that he was by no means sure how far it was so. If there were any sufficient ground for believing that foot-and-mouth disease was indigenous to this country, then his (Mr. Chaplin's) position would be proportionately weakened. But, surely, it was impossible for anyone who had studied the volumes of evidence which had been forthcoming on the question to deny that the overwhelming mass of that evidence was totally adverse to that conclusion. He was aware that there was one case, certainly, it was true, of foot-and-mouth disease occurring in this country in 1839, at a time when the landing of all animals was prohibited by law, and had been for some considerable time; and that was sometimes adduced as evidence of its being spontaneous. But, unfortunately for his opponents, that argument would not bear the test of examination; for, although it was true that the landing of foreign live animals was prohibited, that prohibition, it appeared, did not extend to the landing of cattle from the surplus stores of some of our ships; and he believed that, in the opinion of men most competent to judge, it was as certain as anything could be, short of actual demonstration, that the disease at that time was introduced into this country in that way. He could give a long list of gentlemen of scientific attainments who were agreed that the disease was not indigenous to this country, but imported from abroad; and, unless very different evidence was produced, the assumption was justified that this disease was of foreign origin, and of foreign origin alone. But the right hon. Gentleman made another statement which he heard with even more surprise, and that was to the effect— That the evidence given to the Privy Council showed that breeding was not stopped by foot-and-mouth disease. That was diametrically opposed to the practical experience of every farmer who had had the misfortune to suffer from the disease.


I never said so.


said, he had read the copy of the speech in Hansard, where it was given; but he was glad the right hon. Gentleman did not maintain that.


said, he had denied it over and over again; he had said exactly the contrary.


said, the quotation in Hansard was as he had given it; but he was glad that the right hon. Gentleman did not acknowledge the accuracy of the statement, which had startled him (Mr. Chaplin) in no slight degree. He would, therefore, not pursue it further; but there was another statement which he wished to notice, of infinitely more importance, by which it was probable that the public had been much misled, and for which there was no solid and no just foundation. He alluded to the statements made, early in the Session, by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council, and repeated continually by those whom, he suspected, were more or less interested parties on many occasions outside—namely, that the effect of this Motion, which he (Mr. Chaplin) asked the House to accept, would be to enormously increase the present price of meat. Some had put it at 2d. or 3d. a-pound; others had stated—and the hon. Member for Southwark (Mr. Thorold Rogers), if correctly reported, was one of them—that it would double the price; and the Vice President of the Council himself had not scrupled to state from that Bench that if his (Mr. Chaplin's) proposition were accepted, it would raise the price of meat to famine rates for the population of this country. [Mr. MUNDELLA: Hear, hear!] Now, with all due respect to the right hon. Gentleman, he believed it to be impossible to imagine a grosser exaggeration than that statement, or one more utterly devoid of foundation or incapable of proof. If it were really so—if even there were grounds, reliable grounds, for believing that it might be so—he confessed that he, for one, should be greatly shaken in his views; and he should think, as often as the Prime Minister was reported to have said on one occasion, that he would think about abolishing the House of Lords before proceeding with this Motion; but he held an exactly opposite opinion, and he would state at once his reasons for doing so. What were the facts of the case? Let him ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to fairly and impartially examine them. It was not, and ought not to be, a Party question. He had no disposition to make it one; and if they would approach it in the same spirit, he was convinced that their opposition would be greatly modified, if it did not altogether disappear. How did the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President support his assertion? The right hon. Gentleman began by stating that the effect of his demands would be to exclude a supply of meat from abroad for home consumption here to the value of more than £9,000,000 sterling. Well, that statement, to begin with, was not quite correct, because it represented the total value of all our live imports at the present time, and it took no account of the animals which would still be permitted to land alive under the terms of the Motion. The House would perceive that it was only upon animals coming from infected countries that he desired to place any restriction; and, under the terms of his Motion, they would still be permitted to land from any countries as to which the Privy Council were satisfied with the general sanitary condition of the animals therein. Those countries at present were as follows:—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and British North America. He would explain to the House fully, before he concluded, how this arose; but, for the moment, it was sufficient to point out that the value of animals which came from those countries, according to the last Return he had, for 1881, amounted to £2,761,502. Now, if that sum were deducted from £9,200,000, which was said to be the total value of imported live animals, it would leave, roughly speaking, foreign live animals of the value of £6,400,000, and that was the total value of the imports at the present time with which he really proposed to interfere. He quite admitted that even £6,400,000 appeared, at first sight, and taken by itself, to represent a large amount of food with which to interfere; and so, no doubt, it was, until they compared it with the annual consumption of meat by the people of this country, and the moment they did that, they would then see that it was astonishing how small, how exceedingly trifling a proportion of the whole it represented. That was a point to which the attention of the public had not been by any means sufficiently directed, and as to which they had been very much misled. He remembered, at the time when the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President made his statement, that he asked across the floor—"What proportion of the whole of our annual consumption does your £9,000,000 represent?" But there was no reply. The right hon. Gentleman passed it by; and, probably, he was not in a position at the moment to say. He (Mr. Chaplin) was not at all surprised at it, because the annual consumption, of the country was not very easy to arrive at. There were no official statistics or calculations that he was aware of on the subject; but there had been various calculations by different authorities which might be taken, he believed, as approximately, if not substantially correct; and the House would, perhaps, allow him, therefore, to submit to them some of the results of these calculations as applied to the figures of to-day. Now, what was the annual meat consumption of the country? It might be divided under three heads—first, the meat produced at home; secondly, the meat imported alive from abroad; and, thirdly, the meat which was imported dead. The first of these, of course, was more or less uncertain, and a matter of calculation; but the last two could be given exactly from official Returns. With regard to the first, calculations, as he had already said, had been made before, and he saw no reason why they should not be made approximately correct again. Estimates, he found, had been made upon this subject at different times by Mr. H. M. Thompson, afterwards Sir Henry Thompson, and at one time President of the Royal Agricultural Society of England; by Mr. J. A. Clarke, and by Sir James Caird—by Sir Henry Thompson in 1871, by Mr. Clarke in 1871, and again in 1873 and in 1875, and by Sir James Caird in 1878. At first, in their estimates, there was no great difference between any of the three, although, in his later estimates, Mr. Clarke made the amount considerably less. But, taking the first Returns of each, what he found was this—that by an elaborate system of calculation, based upon the official Returns of all the animals in the country, but the details of which would occupy too much time to give to the House, Sir Henry Thompson, in 1871, estimated that the number of homegrown animals which went to the butcher every year represented 1,266,000 tons of meat; Mr. Clarke made it 1,214,000 tons, and Sir James Caird 1,225,000 tons. Now, applying the system of calculation adopted by Sir Henry Thompson to the Returns of 1882—and he had purposely taken the highest because the Returns were notoriously less than the real number of animals in the country, for many people still neglected to make any Returns at all—he arrived at this result—With regard to the first head of our whole consumption—namely, that of home-grown meat—it amounted to 1,175,000 tons at the present time. With regard to the second, the total live import amounted to 105,000 tons; and with regard to the third—namely, the import of dead meat—it came to 204,667 tons, making a total of 1,485,702 tons, as the gross annual consumption of meat in the country at the present time. Now, let him ask the House to consider how much of this supply he really proposed to interfere with by his Motion. The total live imports for the year 1882 came, as he had shown, to 105,000 tons. But from that must be deducted the animals which would be still permitted to land alive, under his Motion, from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and British North America. According to calculations he had made, the weight of the animals which came from those countries in 1882 would represent about 46,000 tons; and, if that were so, that would reduce the amount of live imports which he interfered with from 105,000 tons to 60,000, and 60,000 tons represented certainly not more than about 4 per cent of the whole annual consumption of the country. Now, that was literally all that he proposed to interfere with, and even that amount, small comparatively as it was, would not by any means be necessarily lost to the consumer; for it was quite possible, and in his judgment exceedingly probable, that the greater part of it would come to us in the shape of dead moat instead. Now, if that were so, and if his comparisons between the amount of meat produced at home and the amount of live meat imported from abroad were correct in any degree whatever—and he fully believed they were—was it conceivable, upon the facts and figures he had put before the House, that this Motion could by any possibility have the alarming effects upon the price of our meat, which were so freely attributed to it by some of the most ardent of their opponents? That disposed, he hoped, of the main arguments which had been used, and now let him ask what was the case in support of the Resolution? He ventured to think that their case, always a strong one, had been greatly strengthened by recent events; for not only had we suffered much in England, but, during the present outbreak, this disease had spread with most unfortunate and disastrous results to both Ireland and Scotland, which were free from it immediately before. What was his first proposition? It was this—that the whole of our losses since September, 1880, must be traced to the landing of foreign live animals in England from countries infected with that disease abroad. What was the history of the present outbreak? It distinctly bore out his first proposition; for he would point out, as he did two years ago, that for a period of nine months in 1880, this disease had been stamped out, and we were actually and entirely free from it altogether. At the end of that period, it was, unhappily, re-introduced by the landing of a diseased cargo, or cargoes of animals at Deptford from France. That had never been denied, although the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Chamberlain) had gone so far as to say he could not admit or acknowledge it had been proved. But he (Mr. Chaplin) thought he could set the right hon. Gentleman's mind at rest on this point by quoting, as a witness, a gentleman whose authority he felt certain he would not deny. He referred to Professor Brown, who presided with so much ability over the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council. This was what Professor Brown said. He (Mr. Chaplin) took it from a pamphlet on the history of foot-and-mouth disease, written by him for one of the Agricultural Societies of England—the Bath and West of England he believed—and this was what he said; after showing that the disease had been actually stamped out for nine months, he wrote as follows:— The tenth outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease commenced on October 1, 1880, when the affection was discovered in a London dairy, and there can he no doubt that it was re-introduced by a cargo of animals from France, among which it was detected when they were landed for slaughter at Deptford on September 20. Now, that statement, coming from that source, conclusively established the fact that, at a time when we were free and had been for nine months, it was reintroduced from abroad, and we had never got rid of it since. But what was the extent and character of these losses, which might have been so easily prevented? Since September, 1880, there had been very little short of 12,000 outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in different parts of the country, and the number of the animals attacked, though he had not the actual figures, must amount to many hundred thousands. To give the House an idea of how serious these losses were, he would quote a letter which he had received only a day or two ago from one of the leading agriculturists in the East of England, Mr. Herbert J. Little, a gentleman well known in this House, and this was what he said— On the 24th of May, foot-and-mouth disease was introduced to my farm by my sheep, which had been sent to the nearest wash dyke, no intimation having been made, and no suspicion existing in my mind that the disease existed in the neighbourhood. The whole of my sheep, about 600, became infected in a few days. Great loss of condition followed the attack. From the sheep it was transmitted to my cattle and pigs. The latter died off—so far as young ones were concerned—pretty quick, and I soon buried about 30. But it is among my cattle that the principal loss has occurred. Twenty of my cows were valuable shorthorns, all in full milk. One of these, a pedigree cow, of a valuable strain of blood, died of the disease. The remainder of this lot are so maimed and crippled from the disease that I cannot tell, at present, how far the immediate loss may go to, to say nothing of the certainty of many of them being permanently injured, and perhaps destroyed for breeding purposes. About 30 more heifers were rearing their own calves in the fields. These latter were beautiful animals, the pride of my farm, and in fine condition. I have already lost about half of them; but, as they still keep dying, I cannot tell the ultimate loss in this case any more than among the cows. Now, Sir, add to these losses the total failure of the milk supply, and the forced realization of a number of fine fat cattle, which were sent away lest the disease should reach them, and by which forced sale I was a loser of about £80, and you have a very unpleasant state of things, for which I must count the Government responsible. As I sit writing this letter, and listening, as I have to do day and night, to the melancholy lowing of my disconsolate animals, and, further, as I contemplate my own serious losses, and the deathblow which this attack has given to my efforts as a breeder, I ask myself why I and my class should be singled out for these penalties? We are engaged, under no ordinary difficulties, of late years, in a useful and honourable occupation; and we expect the protection of the Government, at least, against preventible disease, In that expectation he (Mr. Chaplin) entirely and cordially concurred. A calculation was made for him, about two years ago, by one of the leading farmers in Lincolnshire of the average direct loss which might he said to have arisen from an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease among the stock on his farm. His calculation was as follows:—That on every 100 beasts, averaging, say, £15 a-head in value, the loss must be estimated, in one way or another, at £4 a-head; and on every 100 sheep, worth £3 apiece, the loss could not be less than £1 a-head. From the inquiries he had made, he (Mr. Chaplin) believed that was by no means an extravagant estimate. Now, applying that standard to Mr. Little's stock, he was afraid his losses would amount to at least £1,200. If that was so, he could only say that he had his entire sympathy. But the House must remember that Mr. Little's was not by any means an isolated case. There had been, as he had said, nearly 12,000 similar outbreaks since 1880; and if they multiplied Mr. Little's losses by 12,000, they would arrive at a loss in millions, which it was positively appalling to think of. At any rate, there was no doubt that the direct losses of agriculturists during the last three years from this cause had been really enormous; and to these must be added the indirect losses they had undergone from the stoppage of movements of stock, from loss of markets, through discontinuance of the holding of fairs all over the country, from forced sales, and the general restrictions placed upon them, which were far greater than hon. Members had any idea of. And all this loss had been incurred, it must be remembered, at a time when farmers had been suffering from exceptional distress, and when it might have been so easily prevented, if only it had been thought right to do that which he asked the House to urge upon the Government to do at the present time. That was his first proposition. His second was that, as long as importation from infected countries was permitted, we never could hope to be permanently free from the ravages of this disease in future. It was the fact that, since September, 1880, in spite of the mischief which they knew had arisen from the landing of one cargo at Deptford, and in spite of their continued and incessant remonstrances with the Government respecting it since then, no less than 307 cargoes of live animals infected with foot-and-mouth disease had been allowed by the Government to be landed in different parts of the country from that time to the present. When they knew the disastrous results of the landing of a single diseased cargo in Deptford, in 1880, it needed no arguments to show—although it might be impossible to trace it, as at Deptford, when the country was otherwise absolutely free—that in all human probability the disease had been repeatedly introduced afresh since then, and it would continue to be introduced undoubtedly, from time to time, as long as the importation from infected countries was permitted. Then his third proposition was this—that it was the duty of the Government, as far as a Government could do, to free the country from this state of things in future. How was that to be done? In his judgment, it could be done in one way, and one way alone—namely, the Government must take measures which would be sufficient to stamp it out again at hon. home as it stamped it out before, and prevent its re-introduction from abroad. That it could be stamped out they knew from experience, and they were supported in that view by great authorities, such as the hon. Member for Bedfordshire (Mr. James Howard). But the House must remember that doing this entailed great loss and great sacrifices on the farmers; and, although the farmers were willing to submit to them, and did cheerfully submit to them, in the hope of the final extinction of the disease, all their sacrifices had been rendered vain by the deliberate importation of infected animals. They could not be expected to undergo all these sacrifices again; and he, for one, would be no party to continuing the restrictions on them, harsh, severe, and injurious as they were, unless, at the same time, the Government gave them the most effectual guarantee in its power against the re-introduction of the disease from abroad. He maintained that the Government ought to do this, at the present time, and that they had ample power to do all that was necessary under the law, as it existed at present. The existing law gave to the Privy Council, under Section 35 of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act of 1878, absolute discretionary power to prohibit the landing of animals from any specified country, or any specified part of it. And it further provided, by the 5th Schedule of the same Act, with regard to all animals that were not prohibited from landing by the Privy Council, that they were not to leave the wharf alive, but were to be slaughtered at the port. Then the law gave a further discretionary power to the Privy Council to exempt animals from compulsory slaughter at the port, if they were satisfied that the general sanitary condition of the animals, and the laws relating to animals in the country from which they came, were such as to afford reasonable security against the importation of disease. Now, how had the Privy Council exercised that two-fold discretionary power which was vested in them by the law? On the one hand, they had absolutely prohibited the landing of animals altogether from Austria, Italy, Greece, Russia, the Dominions of the Sultan, and some other countries besides, until the Order for their prohibition was cancelled. Those were countries from which there was always danger, more or less, of importing cattle plague. On the other hand, from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and British North America, they not only allowed the animals to land alive, but so satisfactory was the general healthy condition of those countries, that they also exempted the animals from compulsory slaughter at the port when they did land. Then, besides that, they had recently, within the last few weeks, issued an Order prohibiting the landing of all live animals whatever from France, because there was so much foot-and-mouth disease in that country at the present time. That was how the powers vested in the Privy Council were exercised at present; and all that he asked the Government to do by his Motion was this—to go a little bit further than they had gone at present, and to deal with every other country from which there are the smallest fear of importing this disease precisely as they were dealing with Prance at the present time. The law was quite sufficient, he believed, to enable them to do so; but if it were not, then let it be amended as quickly as possible. But he could not think that was necessary; there was foot-and-mouth disease in France, and the Government prohibited animals from landing. The disease had also been prevalent in Belgium, in Spain, the United States, and other countries during the present year; and if the Government were able to prevent the landing of animals from France, what was there to prevent them from prohibiting the landing of animals from other countries from which there was reason to fear the introduction of disease? That was a question to which they were entitled to have a very explicit answer from the Government. In the interests of the public, that was what the Government ought to do. We had a growing population, and a daily-increasing demand for meat. Where were we to look for an adequate supply? Not to America, for there, undoubtedly, the surplus supplies were being contracted every day, and the country had little more than it required for its own consumption. Neither could we expect any large permanent additions to our supply from Europe, except it was from Russia, and from that country we had always the fear of importing the cattle plague. It certainly was satisfactory to know that the fresh meat imported dead, for the first half of the present year, showed an increase of 27 per cent as compared with the corresponding half of last year, and that the live imports also showed an increase of 19 percent. He thought it very satisfactory that this increase of live imports was mainly due to one of the clean countries—namely, Denmark, with which he would not in any way interfere. For a large and permanent additional supply of meat at reasonable prices, such a supply as he desired to see available for the people, there were only two sources to which we could look with any certainty and assurance for the future. One of them was our own production at home, and the other was the development of a large dead meat supply with our Colonies—with Australia and New Zealand, for instance—from which large quantities of meat came. The present high prices of meat were, in his opinion, mainly owing to the greatly diminished stocks in our own country, caused chiefly by the losses arising from foreign disease, and, above all, by the cattle plague many years ago. It was certain that, with adequate security against the re-introduction of these diseases in the future, our flocks and herds would be largely developed and increased. The evidence given by witness after witness before the Royal Commission was so conclusive upon this point that advanced Radicals, like the hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. Joseph Cowen), and Pro- fessors of Political Economy, like Mr. Bonamy Price, were constrained to support that view. He knew well that, in moving his Resolution, he was rendering himself liable to much misrepresentation. He had often been accused of a desire to make food dear for the people of this country. But ungenerous and untrue charges of that nature in no way affected him, for nothing could be further from his wishes than to raise the price of food. Standing in the House of Commons, he declared that he advocated this measure, because he believed it was in this direction only that they should be able to secure large, abundant, and cheap supplies of meat. He proposed his Resolution, not in the interest of any particular class, but in what he honestly and conscientiously believed to be the interests of the whole population of this country; and he submitted it with confidence and hope to the verdict of the House of Commons. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given Notice.


, in rising to second the Resolution, said, that he did so in the belief, as expressed by the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Chaplin), that he was advocating what was for the benefit of the consumers of this country, and not for that of the agricultural interest alone. Although representing a county, he (Colonel Kingscote) believed he was returned, not by the agricultural interest in that constituency, but by a large mining population; and if, in any way, he were to advocate measures which would enhance the prices of meat, he did not think his seat would be worth very many hours' purchase. However, if means were not taken to stamp out cattle disease, a state of things would soon be reached in which no one would devote that attention to the question of cattle breeding which ought to be given to it in this country. In 1880, England was nearly free from cattle disease; but in that year it was introduced from abroad through the Deptford Market, and since then it had prevailed to an extent which could not but cause the gravest anxiety. It had spread throughout the length and breadth of the land; and at that moment all over England, Scotland, and Ireland the agricultural community was suffering from the different restrictions imposed upon it by the outbreak. Those restrictions made by the local authorities varied in the most remarkable manner. Scotland was practically shut off from England, and so were Northumberland and Westmoreland from the other English counties, in consequence of the importation of foreign animals through Newcastle-on-Tyne. The restrictions were carried out in what he must call a nonsensical manner, seeing that every county had regulations of its own. Jobbers were allowed to accumulate their animals in different places; and, while those in which the disease had shown itself were left behind, others were taken around the country, and to the waterside markets, and so disseminated disease. He could assure those who thought that foot-and-mouth disease was a very trifling disease that it was not the farmers only, but the whole community, who were sufferers by it. The country was suffering more than any statistics could show from the disease, which destroyed not only the fertility of cows, but their milking qualities, and ruined the farmers who owned these animals and depended on their produce. Professor Brown, in his evidence before the Committee in 1877, said that one of the most important amendments of the existing system would be a uniform scheme applicable to the whole country, to be carried out by Privy Council Inspectors stationed in each district. And the Report said that, provided there was security from the importation of disease from abroad, the farmers of the country would be willing to accept any regulations. In fact, the farmers had suffered by the regulations without a murmur, and how had they been rewarded? He would say, without the least hesitation, that since 1877 the disease had been distinctly brought in from abroad. The Government were asked to-night not to shut the stable door after the steed was stolen, but to take those precautions that would prevent foot-and-mouth disease from coming here from countries abroad where it was known to exist. If we did not know how to take care of ourselves, foreign countries knew how to adopt measures for their own protection. Our American friends had at last awakened to the danger, and to the necessity of restricting the importation of animals from countries in which disease existed; and their Legislature had recently, by a clause in the States' Tariff Bill, prohi- bited the importation of hides or neat cattle under a penalty of $500 fine, or a year's imprisonment; but provided for the suspension of the prohibition, when the Secretary to the Treasury should signify that importation from any particular country might take place without danger of the spread of disease throughout the States. He only asked the Government to take those precautions which the United States had taken now. His hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Chaplin) had said that the dead meat trade could be easily carried out in this country. He (Colonel Kingscote) endorsed that opinion, and maintained, with his hon. Friend, that if the Government prohibited the importation of live stock tomorrow, we should, through the dead meat trade, not suffer a bit as regards the price of meat. He could say, having sat throughout the Committee of 1877 and the Royal Agricultural Commission, that the dead meat trade could be very quickly and efficiently developed if it were only forced upon the trade. There was no use in denying that the trade would resist to the utmost the introduction of the dead meat system, because there were two middlemen who would have to be done away with; but if they were to be done away with the price of meat would be very much reduced; and experience had proved that it would be perfectly practicable to rely solely on that source for the foreign supply of this country. It was ridiculous to say that the dead meat trade could not be carried on in hot weather. What was the use of the telegraph and all our other appliances if it could not? America and Australia could send us meat; but a deat set had been made against the dead meat trade, and prejudice had been excited against it, merely because the middlemen felt alarmed. But as long as disease was allowed to run its course through the length and breadth of the land, agriculturists would not breed sheep and cattle. In fact, cattle breeders in this country were becoming few and far between; and he contended that every encouragement ought to be given to live stock breeders, otherwise they would soon disappear altogether. As for the two Amendments on the Paper, of which Notice had been given, he did not see much difference between that of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold) and the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. The Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford merely said that, while continued and vigilant exercise on the part of Her Majesty's Government of the powers entrusted to it was called for, the House did not consider it necessary to make further provision by legislation on the subject. But further provision by legislation was not asked for. The powers the Government had were sufficient, and what the supporters of the Resolution wanted was, that the Government should take precautions against the introduction of the disease which was known to exist in other countries. As to the other Amendment, that of the hon. Member for Forfarshire (Mr. J. W. Barclay), to appoint a Select Committee upon the subject, for which a good deal might have been said earlier in the year, what, in the name of fortune, was the use of proposing a Select Committee in the month of July? What could a Committee do in the matter at that time of the year? He did not know what could possibly be the object of the hon. Gentleman, unless he thought that the whole House were simple and idiotic, or else he wished to make fools of them all by urging upon them such a proposition. With the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford he found no fault at all. It was not much more controvertible than the statement that two and two made four, and that was all he could say of it. He believed that the Act of 1878 gave the Privy Council power to do all that was desired; and he called upon them to do it, and supported the Resolution of his hon. Friend for that one object. The recent action of the Government with regard to this question had very much disappointed him. It appeared that there was not a Minister, but that a new Agricultural Department had been formed—a Council of Agriculture; and the result was this—that after more than one deputation had been received, not only courteously, but also satisfactorily, the Lord President of the Council told a deputation of salesmen and others that they "had given him power to resist further demands" on the part of the agricultural interest. In the present state of things, deputations were received by the Lord President, Questions in the House were answered by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and the Vice President of the Council was, he believed, to represent the Government that evening. It seemed to him that, amid all this uncertainty, the agricultural interest was tossed about in a way that was not at all satisfactory. He cordially supported the Motion of his hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Chaplin), and in doing so he spoke on behalf of the consumer, as well as the agricultural interest; and he believed that if the disease were allowed to go rampant throughout the land, both the farmers and the general body of consumers would be most injuriously affected.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House desires to urge on Her Majesty's Government the importance of taking effectual measures for the suppression of foot and mouth disease throughout the United Kingdom, and it is of opinion that, while for this purpose it is necessary that adequate restrictions, under the powers vested in the Privy Council, should he imposed on the movements and transit of cattle at home, it is even more important, with a view to its permanent extinction, that the landing of Foreign live animals should not he permitted in future from any Countries as to which the Privy Council are not satisfied that the laws thereof relating to the importation and exportation of animals, and to the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and the general sanitary condition of animals therein, are such as to afford reasonable security against the importation therefrom of animals which are diseased."—(Mr. Chaplin.)


, in rising to move the following Amendment— That the recent prevalence of foot and mouth disease calls for the continued and vigilant exercise on the part of Her Majesty's Government of the powers entrusted to it, not only with reference to the movement of live animals at home, but in regard to their importation from abroad, but this House does not consider it necessary, under present circumstances, to make further provision by legislation on the subject, said: I am glad to think that the hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Chaplin) has given great advantage to my case; for he has, in the frankest and most complete manner, accepted my view of the question by declaring that no legislation is required; and, in order to confirm that, my hon. and gallant Friend (Colonel Kingscote) has, with even greater emphasis—and there are no two greater authorities on the subject in the House—unhesitatingly accepted the proposition I now submit to the House. Another advantage which I have is that, although myself inferior in authority, I am able, without imputing any unworthy motive to the hon. Gentleman opposite, or questioning the sincerity of his purpose, to say what he (Mr. Chaplin) could not say in this matter—namely, that I rerepresent no less an interest than that of the great body of the people. ["Oh, oh!"] If any hon. Members doubt that, I will give them an invitation to Manchester, or any other large centre of population in this Kingdom, and ask the people to judge then and there between them and me. The hon. Member comes forward, at a time when the price of meat is very high, with a policy which I shall contend would probably make it much dearer. He represents most ably, I admit, but avowedly, that which he conceives to be the interests of the producers of meat in this country. I shall endeavour to show that the agricultural interest will not be well advised if it presses this Motion. He brandishes before the eyes of the House the Report of the Duke of Richmond's Commission on Agriculture. Perhaps it is due to modesty—I will so assume—that the hon. Member has not informed the House how he triumphed over that Commission in this matter, as I hope he will not triumph in the House this evening. Is it not a fact that he forced the Duke of Richmond to surrender his judgment in this matter? The Duke was the author of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill of 1878, which was relieved of its most intolerable proposals by the Liberal Opposition in that year. When the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire brought the proposal which he makes to-night before the Commission on Agriculture, I believe I am right in saying that the Duke of Richmond, together, I think, with Lord Vernon and others, opposed it, because the Duke of Richmond felt that, if he had been still President of the Council, he could not, in accordance with his views of duty, act upon the policy of this Resolution without legislation; and that he was not disposed to bring forward such legislation as would be needful to prohibit the importation of live animals for immediate slaughter from all countries which were not entirely free from the common diseases of such animal life. I beg to inform the House that the Report of the Royal Commission, which the hon. Member presents with such confidence, is not, in reality, a unanimous Report; I believe there was a division upon the point of policy embodied in the hon. Gentleman's Resolution, and that the noble Duke the President, together with my right hon. Friend the Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld), and others, were defeated by the zeal of the hon. Member, and by the fervour which he inspired in the minds of other Gentlemen who had seats on that Commission. The House is acquainted with the composition and the career of that Commission. It lost the co-operation, first, of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. Goschen) and of Lord Spencer; then it lost Lord Carlingford, and domestic affliction deprived it, to a large extent, of the attendance of my right hon. Friend the Member for Halifax. Its Report is a compromise; and while I desire to speak with nothing but respect for the Commission, I feel quite able, upon unquestionable grounds, to ask the House not to accord undue weight to the conclusions contained in that document. I firmly believe I might appeal to the hon. Member to withdraw this Resolution in the interests of agriculture. An hon. Member of the Conservative Opposition, speaking to me the other day of this Resolution, said, very frankly, that he questioned the policy of the hon. Member. "For," said he, "I think the price of meat is high enough." More explicitly, I would venture to warn the hon. Gentleman and his Friends not to press their advantage too far. The people of this country, as anyone may see, are very long suffering. The fact is that, owing to their divorce from the soil, which is peculiar to this country, they are slow to interfere in these matters. The hon. Member who makes this Motion is more than suspected of dislike for the law which established Free Trade in corn. He and the right hon. Gentleman his Colleague of North Lincolnshire (Mr. J. Lowther) dally with Protectionist doctrines; and the result is that the House is somewhat incredulous when the hon. Member disclaims any such leaning or intention in his present movement. It is not wonderful the House should assume this attitude, when we regard the effect of the hon. Member's Motion. I do not know what course Her Majesty's Government would take if this Resolution were carried; but this I can say, with certainty—that, if legal sanction were given to his proposal, no live animals could be imported into this country for the food of the people, except from Canada and the petty Kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. I am much surprised to hear the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire speak of the salt beef, pork, and bacon which come into this country, when the question is limited to that of fresh meat. Although there is some exaggeration and some unconscious misrepresentation in the hon. Member's account of the ravages of disease, I am quite willing to admit the great importance to the interests of the population of the extirpation of disease. I not only admit the necessity of dependence for the larger part of our supply of meat upon the flocks and herds of this country, but I will acknowledge a strong desire that we should be more largely than at present dependent upon that chief source of supply. We must, in this connection, remember with reason and sympathy the recent losses of British agriculture—though such losses have been by no means confined to this country. I have no doubt that it is not foreign importation, but rather the miserable character of recent seasons, which has given such fatality to animal disease. But it is not only the bad seasons from which our agriculture has suffered. Farmers have lost much more than £100,000,000 of capital, and the consequence has been that flocks and herds have suffered from poor feeding, in seasons when a generous feeding was peculiarly needed. Disease has spread from that cause, and no wonder there has been a serious decline in the cattle and sheep of the United Kingdom. For the general purposes of agriculture the climate of this country is one of the best in the world; but, under a severe strain, our agriculture has shown but little power. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire wants to administer a modicum of Protection. I wish to give all reason able immunity from disease; but I must confess that the want of power shown by our domestic agriculture, under the stimulus of very high prices, forms a strong argument against the Resolution. As to the Act of 1878, Clause 35 gives the Privy Council power to make any Order, restricting the import from foreign countries; and, in face of their powers under that clause, I cannot understand how any hon. Member could desire to go beyond the Amendment which I shall presently move. But the action of the Council must be governed also by the words of the 5th Schedule; and we find there that, except in case of the presence of cattle plague, there is a strong obligation to admit animals for slaughter at the foreign animals' wharves from all countries. As to foot-and-mouth disease, the condition of the United States last year would probably have justified the Council in admitting animals not merely to these wharves, but to the interior of the country, because that Schedule requires nothing but "reasonable security against the importation of diseased animals;" and if there is not that "reasonable security," then the cargoes are to be landed at the several wharves for immediate slaughter. I need say no more to show that legislation is unnecessary, or that it would be necessary, if the policy of the hon. Member was to be adopted. I would now ask the House to look at the circumstances of the present import of live animals. In spite of all restrictions, in spite of all the difficulties of carriage, in spite, also, of the improvements in the method of preserving and carrying beef and mutton, the importation of live animals is a growing trade. That is a very remarkable fact. The total number imported last year from foreign countries—1,483,838—is larger by 200,000 than the total of any previous year. It is customary to compare the number imported with the total of our flocks and herds, and to call it insignificant. But the home supply of meat represents but a small proportion of the total of animals in the land; and I believe that, of the animals killed for food upon this Island, the imported supply, including that from Ireland, largely exceeds 80 per cent. I have shown that this is a growing trade. But I will also show that it grows more rapidly than the dead meat trade. While the total of live animals imported last year was the largest, the import of fresh beef fell more than 40 per cent. from 812,000 cwt. to 460,000 cwt., and the import of 188,000 cwt. of fresh mutton does not bring up the total to the former figures. In the first six months of this year the import of fresh mutton has not increased. Even with very high prices, the import of beef is less than in 1881; while the import of live animals in the first half of this year has increased by 50,000. Contrast this with the last Report of the Australian Frozen Meat Company, which shows a loss of £3,080 on the importation of 21,641 carcases of mutton. A few days ago I saw the latest importation of frozen sheep from New Zealand. In the summer air the exposed carcases were becoming moist and flabby; but there can be no doubt that the frost of 112 days had not deprived this meat of all quality as good food. I obtained the opinion of the person to whom the largest consignment of this meat was made. He himself, interested constantly in its sale, does not pretend that the meat has or can have the quality of meat which has not been frozen. Much of the natural flavour and quality has, he says, gone out of it in the freezing. It is obvious that, in freezing, the vessels containing the juices of the meat must burst, and lose their contents upon thawing. But those who are interested in the trade tell me that that is not all the loss. One of them illustrated it in this way. He said—"If you want to know what is the difference in frozen meat, take two bottles of port wine, and taste both after one has been frozen for three months." These are the opinions of men who are every day engaged in selling frozen meat, and they are, I think, conclusive. There is great risk in the trade, not only from fluctuations of price in the New and Old Worlds, but also because, while the cost of fitting a ship with refrigerators involves some thousands of pounds, that outlay is liable at any moment to be wasted by the invention of some superior process. I mention these facts to show that the import of live animals is a matter of much consequence to our food supply, and that the House must not assume that a dead meat supply would arrive, sufficient to prevent a great rise in price, if the landing of live animals were prohibited. In the first six months of this year, while the import of fresh beef was less than in 1881, that of live cattle and sheep was greater by 50,000 than in 1882. In the last 20 years the price of mutton has risen by more than 3d. a lb. It has been officially stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) that, if the policy of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire were adopted, there would be a further addition of 3d. per lb. to the price of meat. Now, I wish to point to another matter which tends to the increase of the im- port of live animals, and that is, the improved methods of carriage. I observed that, when the Duke of Richmond, since his conversion by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, spoke of this question the other day, his Grace referred to the enormous waste of animals by casualty at sea. The Duke of Richmond was, however, careful to quote only the losses in 1879 and 1880, the two years together showing a loss of more than 30,000 animals. That represents a fearful waste and suffering. But I have no fact to lay before the House more encouraging and remarkable than that, in the two succeeding years, the loss has been reduced to 9,000 in 1881, and actually to 3,000 in 1882, including shipwreck, and every form of casualty. We see, thus, that in only four years, and with increasing imports, the loss at sea has been reduced by the enormous improvement of 80 per cent. Such are the conditions of the import of live animals. Even under severe restrictions it is a flourishing trade, one with which, in the interest of the consumer, it behoves this House to be most careful not to interfere unadvisedly. The Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire is aimed at the annihilation of this trade. If his policy were carried into law, it means the prohibition of all imports of live animals, with a temporary exception for Canada and the three Scandinavian Kingdoms. Now, let us pass to consider what are the reasons why this policy which he recommends should be adopted? He alleges that foot-and-mouth disease is spread throughout the country from these foreign animals' wharves. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not deny the possibility; but I assert there is no positive proof in any case of the spread of disease from these markets. And the extent of foot-and-mouth disease in these markets has been extremely small. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire would prohibit at one blow the importation of animals from the United States of America; but, while no fewer than 231 cargoes, containing more than 100,000 sheep and cattle, arrived from the United States in 1882, not a single case of foot-and-mouth disease was reported. He (Mr. Chaplin) would prohibit entirely the landing of sheep from Germany. But, out of 507 cargoes of German sheep, containing nearly 500,000, there were only 57 sheep landed in 1882 with symptoms of foot- and-mouth disease. These are landed at foreign animals' wharves, such as Deptford and Birkenhead—places which are treated strictly as infected places—for immediate slaughter. The hon. Member would abolish these markets, and one of the consequences of his policy might be to bring upon the Exchequer claims for compensation amounting, I should say, to £1,000,000 sterling. The City Corporation alone have spent nearly £300,000 upon their Market at Deptford. Three years ago I said in this House that I thought the management of Deptford Market left much to be desired. Now it is more careful, and the accommodation has been greatly enlarged. I do not think they can be too careful at these markets. A case of foot-and-mouth disease may arise any day. But the question for this House is, whether the risk, which is extremely small, is worth the danger to the interests of the consumer? I feel sure that it is well worth the risk, and that, while we ought to make every reasonable effort to check and to extirpate disease, we can never expect to gain absolute immunity. We receive every day straw, vegetables, and material in a hundred forms which may convey the contagion of disease. Hundreds of people pass in and out, to and from the shores of Europe and America. If there were none but a dead moat trade, our butchers and dealers would cross in large numbers to the Continent, without any of those precautions which are now taken at the foreign animals' wharves. You can only get utter security from contagion at the cost of an intolerable isolation. In 1839, when one of the most extensive outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in this country, there was no such intercourse, and the importation of foreign animals was, and had for years been, prohibited. The last Report of the Privy Council contains some interesting facts, showing that a dead meat trade does not follow the prohibition of the import of live animals. Since 1877, the importation of cattle from Belgium and Germany has been unlawful. Formerly, we drew annually about 25,000 head from those countries; that is, about 175,000 cwt. of beef. But now the fact is that, since the prohibition of live cattle, we have imported less beef from those countries than they used to send when the import of animals was permitted. At one period of last year foot-and-mouth disease appeared in 26 of our counties; and this extension was probably due to the wet seasons, which favoured the extension, and to the low condition of the stock owing to the impoverishment of the farmers. I have now shown that the importation of live animals is a large trade, and is not a declining trade; that you cannot stop that trade without causing a material increase in the price of meat. I have also shown that the risk of infection from abroad is one which cannot be wholly avoided, and that it is probably reduced to the smallest possible dimensions at the foreign animals' wharves. I would like to add a word as to the decrease in our flocks and herds, and especially in the sheep stock. Within the last nine years the decline in the number of sheep in this country has been no fewer than 6,000,000. That has been caused largely by a disease which is consequent upon excessive damp and low feeding. But it has taken place, and the reduction remains under two conditions which it is most important for the House to bear in mind; the first is the continually rising price of mutton; and the second is the decline in the production of food for stock by the conversion of arable land into grass land. I was glad to see that the hon. Baronet the Member for South Devon (Sir Massey Lopes), in the Recess, drew attention to this sad decline in the agriculture of the country, and bade his hearers remember that, owing to this conversion, the soil is producing less food every year. It is one of the most inveterate fallacies that all land will produce more meat under grass than under tillage; and the indiscriminate conversion of land into grass—due, as I hold, to the absence of economic law from our land system—is a great evil. Before I sit down I should like to say that I am not sure our foreign animals' wharves are well placed. I think it would render contagion less possible, and I am certain it would greatly improve the condition of the meat, if foreign animals coming to this country for slaughter were placed for a day or two after landing in good air and upon pure food, which cannot be had in the reeking atmosphere of such a place as Deptford Market. I am certain—and I presume to speak on this subject as one who, for some years, has spared no pains and labour to master a question so important to the food supply of the people—that in their interests it would be well if we admitted more liberally the importation of foreign animals under the condition of slaughter at the place of landing. But I would not have the landing-place and slaughter-houses in populous places, where the liability to contagion is increased, and where the condition of the animals and of the meat suffers by impurity of the atmosphere. In my opinion, the best imported cattle come from the United States. When they arrive in the Thames there is a charge of about 9s. a-head for conveying them in the City Corporation boat and for standing in Deptford Market until slaughter, which is compulsory within 10 days. Now, I should like to see Deptford, converted into a dead meat market in connection with the foreign animals' wharf, removed to some place like Thames Haven, with an area of 100 or 200 acres of land, and with every reasonable precaution for sanitary isolation. I am surprised at the very excellent condition in which foreign animals land at Deptford—better, certainly, than after a long journey by railway train. But if they passed a few days after landing in an open station in the Kent or Essex marshes, and if the carcases were allowed to cool in that purer atmosphere before being sent by boat or rail to Deptford, there would be an immense improvement in the quality of the meat. It should be remembered that 918,082 foreign animals were killed last year in Deptford Market—that is, for five days in the week more than an average of 3,500 per day. The Resolution of the hon. Member would prohibit the import of this vast supply. Neither live nor dead, not one of that million of animals would have come to our shores if legislative effect had been given to the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. I should like to see slaughter conducted in a better atmosphere, but so near that the cooling of the meat should not take place in transit. I am certain that the carcases could be sent into London far more cheaply than the cost at which the animals are now conveyed, and that the risk of contagion, small as that now is, would reach an irreducible minimum. When that is done, I should hope that the import of live animals might be doubled by a more liberal policy and by the firm establishment of a trade which it is clear must not be prohibited. We cannot ignore the interests of British agriculture; but it is a perilous demand which is made in the interests of agriculture that we should help to raise the price of meat to 1s. 6d. a lb. The success of the hon. Member would in time be deplored by those who now support his movement. To show how far-reaching in other trades would be the consequences of the policy of exclusion, I may mention that if, in 1882, the desire of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire had been enforced, there would hare been a loss of 50,000,000 lbs. of tallow, and of 1,500,000 hides and skins to the markets of this country. I find in the doctrines of the hon. Member an insidious revival of the policy of Protection. [Laughter.] I have warrant for that suspicion. Lord Carnarvon is not a less cautious man than the hon. Member; and Lord Carnarvon, addressing, the other day, his neighbours at Newbury, let the cat out of the bag. He said—"He believed they did not object to the importation of foreign dead meat." Believed! I am sure Lord Carnarvon spoke from honest belief, that it is open to doubt whether the supporters of this movement in favour of dear food would be satisfied, even if the importation of live animals were prohibited. I am sure that policy of prohibition will not be sanctioned. I would entreat hon. Members not to be misled in this matter, and especially hon. Members from Ireland, to whom I have a peculiar right of appeal. In the borough of Salford, the annual sales of Irish stock amount to a value of more than £3,000,000. There is no equal business with Ireland in any other town of Great Britain. The compulsory slaughter of Irish cattle on the other side of St. George's Channel would, perhaps, be the next advance of those who are behind the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. And I say to the Irish Members that it is for the interest of their country that they should resist this movement. Hon. Members who represent the landed interest are sometimes very unwary; I think I remember that one of them proposed to admit store stock from Ireland, but to exclude fat cattle. That, however, was too barefaced to go forward; but it serves to illustrate the ideas which are in the minds of some, at least, of the supporters of the Resolution. I do not believe that the agricultural interest would be benefited by the success of the Motion. I do not question the sincerity of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire; it is his prudence which is, I think, at fault. He is overdoing the part of the farmer's friend, and his success would be followed by a strife between the people and the producers, which, I am confident, will not be to the advantage of the latter. Sir, the question before the House is one which must and should be determined by the interest of the consumer. I trust that what is called the landed interest—a term which I never employ, and I do not acknowledge, because I know not how to separate the interests of the people from those of the soil—I trust that the producers of food in this country will not seek their advantage in any limitation of supply; but that, while vigilant, as we should all be, for the avoidance and extirpation of disease, they will always be ready to render allegiance to those wider and general interests which should control and direct the action of the Legislature. I beg to move the Amendment of which I have given Notice.


, in rising to second the Amendment, as one affecting the interests of his constituents, said, he desired to do nothing to prejudice the agricultural interest, or to lessen the importation of foreign cattle. The fact that the Motion made by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) was seconded by an hon. and gallant Member on the Government side of the House, and that he (Mr. Giles) had seconded this Amendment showed that this was not a Party question, as it ought not to be, having reference to the supply of food for the people. His hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire was attempting to do that which he (Mr. Giles) conceived was an impossibility. He was not quite sure what they were contending for; but the hon. and gallant Member who seconded the Resolution (Colonel Kingscote) said at once that he did not wish for any alteration in the law, and that that was the effect of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold). His (Mr. Giles's) own idea of the precautions necessary in order to stamp out the disease was simply that the landing places should he isolated, and that the infected cattle should he slaughtered at the port of debarkation. At some eight or nine of the principal ports of the country over £500,000 had been spent in providing means for the reception and isolation of cattle, and the expenditure upon shipping, as applied to this purpose, would reach fully the same amount; so that a sum of at least £1,000,000 sterling would be lost if the proposal of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire were carried. There were many other weighty reasons why the landing of live cattle should not be prohibited. Professor Brown said that no exporting country was free from one or more of the diseases coming within the terms of the Act of 1878 as affecting live stock; and he also said that if we were to shut out the importation of live animals from suspected as well as from infected countries, we must be prepared to sacrifice the annual importation of no less than 344,000 cattle and of 1,114,000 sheep. Out of that large number imported it was proved that only 859 were diseased. This fact deserved very serious consideration; for surely it would be preferable to submit to that slight risk and loss rather than to imperil the supply of food. And it should be noted that, although the stock of live cattle was not increasing, the population was constantly increasing—in fact, the number of live stock in England, Wales, and Scotland since 1882 showed a decrease from 36,000,000 to 32,000,000 head. They all knew that meat was dear enough now, and if further restrictions were imposed the price would probably be increased by 15 or 20 per cent; and in the interest of the million, rather than that of a class, he would point out that the stoppage of the supply of foreign meat would deprive the poor of a very large portion of their means of subsistence. To such a proposal he was sure they would never willingly submit; and he, therefore, begged to second the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford.

Amendment proposed, To leave out all the words after the word "That," in order to add the words "the recent prevalence of foot and mouth disease calls for the continued and vigilant exercise on the part of Her Majesty's Government of the powers entrusted to it, not only with reference to the movement of live animals at home, but in regard to their importation from abroad, but this House does not consider it necessary, under present circumstances, to make further provision by legislation on the subject,"—(Mr. Arthur Arnold,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


, who had the following Amendment on the Paper:— That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the working of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts 1869 and 1878, and specially as to whether it is possible to take further steps for preventing the introduction of contagious diseases from Abroad, without unduly interfering with the supply of food; and also whether the provisions for preventing the spread of disease can be made more effective, said, he fully agreed with the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) in asserting the right of the farmers of the country to call on the Government to protect them, to the full extent of the powers entrusted to them by Parliament, from the introduction of infectious diseases from abroad. He must say, however, that he did not fully understand what was the object of the Resolution which the hon. Member had submitted to the House. It seemed to him (Mr. J. W. Barclay) that the hon. Member must mean one of two things—either that the Government had not acted with sufficient vigilance and care, or that he asked the Government to adopt a new policy, and to go beyond the powers which had been entrusted to them by the House. In the first instance, he should have expected that the hon. Member would have moved a Vote of Censure on the Government for their laxity; and, in the other case, the hon. Gentleman should have pointed to further legislation; and, if so, he (Mr. J. W. Barclay) should have been, in that case, happy to support him. The powers possessed by the Government were clearly stated in the discussions on the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Bill in 1878. The general provisions in respect of the powers of the Privy Council were embodied in the 5th Schedule of that Bill, and were to the effect that all foreign cattle were to be slaughtered at the port of debarkation; but if the Privy Council were satisfied that no disease existed in the country whence the cattle came, they were to have discretionary power to remit the Slaughtering Clause, and admit the cattle into the country. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire referred to the first portion of Section 35 as giving power to the Privy Council to prohibit the importation of animals from any country they thought proper. But it was well understood that that clause was introduced for the purpose of giving the Privy Council powers to deal summarily with any new disease, and specially for the purpose of dealing with rinderpest. But if any doubt existed on that point, he wished to point out that a precisely similar clause existed in the Act of 1869, Clause 16 of which provided that the Privy Council might, from time to time, by Order in Council, in relation to foreign animals, prohibit their landing generally, or at any particular ports. That was precisely the clause which appeared in Section 35 of the Act of 1878; and if the view now advanced was correct, the Conservative Government which passed that Act might have exercised the same powers under the Act of 1869. It seemed to him clear that the Government had no power to exceed the restrictions they had already placed on the importation of foreign animals; and if there was anything to be done, the Resolution before the House should point to now legislation, for the purpose of carrying out the views which the hon. Member was advocating. He, therefore, could not look upon the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire as one that could be followed by any practical results, because the Government could not act in contradiction of the views expressed by their own officers. Neither could he support the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold), for the reason that he did not consider the existing legislation with regard to cattle disease perfect. After referring to the various Committees that had sat on this subject, the hon. Member said they were now asked to take what was clearly a new step by the Motion of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. That, he thought, was a step well worthy of the consideration of the House; but it seemed to him that this was a question which ought to be discussed upon a Bill to be introduced by the Government, and that before they proceeded to that step further inquiry should be made. If they were to proceed further in the suppression of foot-and-mouth disease, they should have a Committee to inquire into the experience of the working of the Act of 1878. There were several Amendments that occurred to him as desirable in the existing legislation. One Amendment that he would suggest was, that the local authorities in England should be representative, and not the Quarter Sessions. In Scotland, the representative bodies acted with very great promptitude and decision, and the action of the local authorities in Scotland had been attended with very great success. Were it not that disease was imported from time to time from the South—in the case of his own country particularly by Irish cattle—there would be no disease; and if they could prevent the introduction of those diseased animals from Ireland the existing state of the law would be perfectly satisfactory to the farmers in Scotland. Another defect in the existing legislation was, that in every county in Scotland there were many local authorities who sometimes issued contradictory regulations. It certainly would conduce very much to simplify the restrictions for stamping out disease, if there were only one local authority for each county, the burghs being represented on that local authority. He thought it ought to be the duty of the new Agricultural Department to see that the Act was carried out by the local authorities, and if they failed, the Department should step in and carry it out at the expense of the local authority. Another point to which he wished to invite the attention of the House was, that fawners were very deeply interested in the importation of store cattle from abroad. The Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire pointed at the total prevention of the introduction of store cattle from abroad. He looked forward to great advantage from the importation of store cattle from America. He quite admitted that, in the present state of affairs in the United States, it would be unsafe to allow the importation of store cattle; but the United States Government were beginning to take such measures as he hoped would have the effect of exterminating these contagious diseases. When that was accomplished, it would be a great advantage to the farmers of this country if store cattle were permitted to come from abroad. It was very desirable to encourage the breeding of cattle; but, as between breeding and importing store cattle, it was really a question of profit, and all depended on whether it was more profitable to breed or to import store cattle. He was in favour of allowing the British farmer to get the advantage of store cattle from abroad, if he could possibly do so, without the risk of disease being imported at the same time. If the Resolution of the hon. Member was passed, they should be just precisely where they were, unless it was intended as a Vote of Censure upon the Government, because, if the Government had no power to go further, it was necessary that they should have legislation. It was, of course, impossible to carry any Bill on the subject through the House this Session. The Select Committee could commence its Sittings at once, and lay out the ground which it proposed to investigate, and legislation might take place next Session on the Report of that Committee. That, he thought, was the proper course to adopt in the circumstances, and likely to have results most quickly.


I am afraid, Sir, after what fell from the hon. and gallant Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote), that I ought to apologize to the House for taking part in the debate, and that the duty of replying upon the Resolution should be left to the person who is now responsible for the Agricultural Department; but I think that, as I have only recently been relieved of the duties connected with the Department, and as I have been in charge of it for nearly three years, if there is any blame attached for any laches or shortcomings on the part of the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council, I am responsible for, and at least ought to be able to answer for, those laches. I have had, what I shall ever regard as long as I live, the honour and the great privilege of serving under Lord Spencer as President of the Council; and I am certain that no man who ever occupied that position ever devoted himself more thoroughly to the work of the Department than Lord Spencer did. The noble Lord is himself a practical farmer, and has the greatest sympathy with all questions relating to agriculture; and, moreover, he brought to bear upon the discharge of his duties a zeal and earnestness which I believe have never been, and never will be, surpassed. I can safely say that whatever credit may be due for anything which has been done in carrying out the Act during the last three years is entirely due to Lord Spencer. I can say that, for my own part, I brought no special knowledge, and no experience, to the work of the Department; but this I did bring—a resolution to support loyally my Chief in any measure he deemed necessary for dealing with disease, and a determination not to shirk any responsibility, either from any unpopularity it might bring from my own side of the House or elsewhere, in carrying out measures, however strong or rigorous they might be, for the purpose of stamping out the disease. During the two years before May, 1882, the Act was administered entirely under the personal control and superintendence of Lord Spencer himself, and my noble Friend succeeded the Duke of Richmond, who was the author of the Act. If any man was determined to make the Act a success, it was the Duke of Richmond. The noble Duke also was a practical farmer. He had thorough sympathy with farmers, and no man ever brought to the discharge of his duties a greater determination to stamp out disease than the Duke of Richmond did when he passed the Act in 1878. At that time he had the very able assistance of Professor Brown, of the Veterinary College, and Mr. Lennox Peel, the Clerk to the Privy Council. Mr. Peel was the right hand of the noble Duke, and one of the best public servants we ever had. Lord Spencer brought the same practical knowledge and the same sympathy with the agricultural interest to bear upon the subject as his Predecessor; and, what is more, he devoted to it his great power of work, and that mastery of all details, which is one of his great characteristics. His ambition was, I am certain—because I was in daily communication with the late Lord President—his one ambition was, to free the country from disease. Lord Spencer, as the Head of the Department, acting upon the experience of his Predecessor, and with the aid of an admirable Staff, and with arrangements already made for carrying out the system—by his own vigorous administration, by the import- ant improvements he introduced into the Metropolitan and Provincial markets, by the series of Orders by which he completed the machinery of the measures for suppressing disease—has brought the Act into a state of efficiency which is only now beginning to tell on the disease throughout the country. I am satisfied that Lord Carlingford is proceeding on the same line as my noble Friend (Lord Spencer) and that he is devoting himself to the new Agricultural Department. If hon. Gentlemen opposite, and, indeed, some hon. Members behind me, will only give the Act time to prove its efficiency—it has only been in work for four years at present, seeing that it began in 1879—if they will only give the Act time to show itself, I think they will find that it will give the country the maximum of security with the minimum of restriction on the food supply of the people. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite have intimated by their cheers and by their speeches that the Privy Council of the present Government have been wanting in their devotion to the protection of the agricultural interest. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) read a letter, in which the writer said that he placed all shortcomings at the door of the Government. [Cheers from the Opposition.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheer that sentiment. Let us see if there is not a witness somewhat more impartial than the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire and Mr. Little. I am about to quote from a speech made by the Duke of Richmond in the House of Lords, on the 16th of April last. The noble Duke said— I am quite prepared to admit that Her Majesty's Government have done all in their power to check this disease. The Lord President has carried out the Act in the most energetic manner, by placing severe restrictions upon the farmers of the country, and by shutting up fairs and markets. The Veterinary Department of the Privy Council, which I had the honour to re-organize under the direction of Professors Brown and Cope, has been all that could be desired. I doubt, indeed, whether I should have been able to carry out the severe restrictions which the noble Lord (Lord Spencer) imposed."—(3 Hansard, [278] 277.) The fact is that the Duke of Richmond himself, in the handsomest manner, has again and again admitted to me that he could not have done more than we have done, and that we have gone beyond what probably he would have been permitted to do. The reason of that is very obvious. We have been able to enforce restrictions, because we have not been suspected of any desire for Protection; and it is well known by every hon. Member that our only object has been to prevent disease. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire suggests that the repeated Motions which have been brought forward indicate a want of success, and the dissatisfaction which exists in regard to the action of the Privy Council, and their administration of the Act of 1878. For my part, however, I maintain, on the contrary, that the Motion of the hon. Gentleman to-night, and the other Resolutions which he has repeatedly moved, together with the speeches he has made, are themselves tributes to the success of the Act of 1878. For the last three years foot-and-mouth disease has almost been the only disease mentioned in this House. Was that so in 1877 and 1878? In those years, almost every Member in this House thought solely of rinderpest and pleuro-pneumonia, and foot-and-mouth disease was almost spoken of with bated breath as a secondary question. I am speaking within the recollection of every Member of the House who was here in 1878, when I say that pleuro-pneumonia was the fatal disease then spoken of; and it was mainly on account of pleuro-pneumonia that the Act of 1878 was passed. Foot-and-mouth disease was treated as requiring much less consideration than pleuro-pneumonia. Then let me show what the Act of 1878 has done, and what the arrangements of the Privy Council have done for the restriction of pleuro-pneumonia, which, it must be remembered, is a fatal disease. Animals once attacked by it never recover from it. [Mr. CHAPLIN: This is a debate on foot-and-mouth disease.] No; it is not a debate upon foot-and-mouth disease alone, and what I wish to show is, that the Act of 1878 has worked well on behalf of the agriculturists of the country generally; that it is still working well; and that if hon. Members will only give it a fair trial, it will do the work which it was originally introduced to do. In Great Britain, in 1877, there were 2,077 outbreaks of pleuro-pneumonia, and 5,330 animals were attacked. In 1878 there were 1,721 outbreaks; in 1879, 2,170; and they gradually diminished, until in 1882 there were only 494 outbreaks against 2,077 in 1877, and the number of animals affected was reduced from 5,330 to 1,200. I believe that we have every right to expect that in two or three years from this time, if the local authorities will only use the powers invested in them, and slaughter the animals that have been in contact with beasts infected by pleuro-pneumonia, the disease will be altogether stamped out in this country, as it has been in Holland. Is that no small praise to the Act? Holland was the great focus of pleuro-pneumonia. It was the scourge of Holland down to 1871; and in that year there were no less than 6,079 cases of pleuro-pneumonia in the small stock of that country. Then they commenced to do what we are now doing, and what has been the result? They began in 1871 with 6,079 cases; in 1872, there were 4,009; in 1873, 2,479; in 1874, 2,414; in 1876, 1,723; in 1878, 698; in 1880, 48; in 1881, 99; and in 1882 none. Through the operation of the Act, pleuro-pneumonia has been reduced in this country by 75 per cent. and we have not had a single case of rinderpest. Not even a single case of sheep-rot had occurred; and, although we have been subjected to an attack of foot-and-mouth disease, even that has been kept within limits, compared with all former attacks. That, I think, will prove that the work of the Act has been successful. The hon. Member spoke of hundreds of thousands of attacks. There have been only 12,000 outbreaks, and 200,000 animals have been affected in three years, out of 32,000,000 which exist in the country. Far be it from me to depreciate the importance of foot-and-mouth disease to the farmers. I never have done so, and the hon. Member has misunderstood the effect of anything I have ever said with regard to breeding. The worst case that ever came to my knowledge happened to a personal friend of my own in North Nottinghamshire. He got foot-and-mouth disease among his ewes, and he lost 800 lambs. That was the worst case I ever knew, and I have not been in this Department for three years without knowing something about this matter. But what I have pointed out is surely no insignificant result of four years' working of the Act; and it is not fair to come down to the House and make an attack, which is virtually an attack upon the Government, for not having performed their duty. [Cries of "No!"] That is all very well; but I have heard responsive cheers from hon. Members opposite, and I know the signification of them; and, if it is necessary, I can produce a letter from Mr. Clare Read, who is not an unimportant authority in this House, and also from other authorities, thanking us for the courage we have displayed in standing by the restrictions imposed by this Act. I will just refer to what Mr. Clare Read wrote on the 27th of July, 1882. After sending me a letter of thanks, he said— We have in Norfolk only one infected place of pleuro and one of swine fever, and no other case of any sort of contagious disease. We have not had such a clean hill of health in Norfolk for 30 years. Since the markets were stopped, we have only had one fresh outbreak of foot-and-mouth, and, telegraphing up to your office, you promptly declared an infected district, and the disease did not escape from it. Norfolk has been entirely free from that disease for some time past.


What did Mr. Clare Read say at a deputation a short time ago?


I have not seen Mr. Clare Read at a deputation; but I know that Mr. Clare Read is the last man to deny his own handwriting. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Chaplin), on a recent occasion, declared that the Act of 1878 was one of the best and wisest measures ever passed for the benefit of the agricultural community. He now calls on the House to subvert the Act entirely. [Mr. CHAPLIN: No; to carry it out.] Instead of asking us to carry it out, the hon. Member calls upon us to destroy it—to eviscerate and emasculate it, and to deprive it entirely of its main principle. The principle advocated from one end of the opposite Benches to the other was the principle of slaughter at the ports. Here is a description of what were the objects of the Act, and how they were to be accomplished. This is a speech delivered by an hon. Gentleman, on the 27th of June, 1878, when the Act was passed. The hon. Gentleman said— Its object was to stamp out diseases at home, and to prevent their re-introduction from abroad, and it sought to attain its objects by imposing severe restrictions at home, and enacting compulsory slaughter at the ports. It was not intended by compulsory slaughter to stamp out disease, but to prevent disease from coming in, and it had not been shown that the object would not be attained. Of course, it was the common object of all not to restrict, but to enlarge supply, and not to increase, but to lessen, the cost of food to the people."—(3 Hansard, [241] 345.) Who was it who, on that occasion, told the House that the object of the Bill was to enact compulsory slaughter at the ports? It was the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire himself, and, in the opinion of the hon. Member, the whole object of the Act was to enact compulsory slaughter at the ports. Tonight the hon. Member asked the House to abolish compulsory slaughter altogether, and to substitute for it total prohibition. [Mr. CHAPLIN: I say that compulsory slaughter has failed.] In that case, the hon. Member should come down with a Bill, and not with an abstract Resolution. He should ask us to legislate. Let us have a plain, straightforward statement, not for compulsory slaughter, but for total abolition. The right hon. Baronet the Member for East Gloucestershire (Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) said, in 1878, that he doubted if we could anticipate the period when foot-and-mouth disease would not prevail, even in the healthiest countries. He added that it might be necessary to enforce compulsory slaughter at the ports, as it was only by that means we could get rid of the disease. And the hon. Baronet the Member for West Essex (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson), who had charge of the Bill, must have made 50 speeches on compulsory slaughter; all declaring that the object was not the restriction of importation; that that was the last thing contemplated; but that what was contemplated was the regulation of importation by slaughter at the ports. In short, I might almost exhaust Hansard if I were to read all the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the same effect. I cannot believe, therefore, that it is the intention of the House to-night to pass this Resolution without inquiry—to see how, wherein, and why, the Act has failed. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for West Gloucestershire (Colonel Kingscote) says that it is too late to inquire. If it is too late to inquire, it is evidently too late to legislate. [Mr. CHAPLIN: We do not want legislation.] Then, what does the hon. Member propose? Does the hon. Member intend that the Privy Council should violate the whole spirit and intention of the Act of Parliament? [Mr. CHAPLIN: No.] I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman does not quite understand the nature of the Act that was passed. The contention, as expressed in the Resolution, is that slaughter at the ports has proved ineffectual; and, therefore, it is necessary to have total prohibition. ["No, no!"] Let me show hon. Members what the Resolution does mean before we go further. [Mr. CHAPLIN: Read the Resolution.] The Resolution is exceedingly plausible, and most ingenious; but it means total prohibition. ["No, no!"] Let me show the House how it runs. The main principle of the Act of 1878 is that all animals should be slaughtered at the port of landing, subject to two exceptions. What are those two exceptions? They are that the Privy Council should have power to prohibit absolutely the importation of animals from exceptionally diseased countries; and it is further required that the rule of slaughter should be suspended in the case of animals from exceptionally healthy countries. The rule is slaughter at the ports. The exceptions are total prohibition and free admission. Now, from all countries subjected to cattle plague the universal rule established by our Predecessors, and also for all countries likely, on account of their proximity, to be affected, has been to prohibit all importation—for instance, from Russia, the Turkish Provinces, Germany, Austria, and other countries where cattle plague constantly exists. Those are cases in which you would be entirely justified in having recourse to prohibition; and prohibition was enforced, long before the passing of this Act, in regard to those countries. Thus, in the exercise of the discretion vested in the Privy Council, they have, in exceptional cases, brought temporally under Schedule 5 certain other cases; and, because they have done that, the hon. Gentleman comes down and says—"You ought to prohibit universally." ["No, no!"] I say yes; and let me explain. The Privy Council could not work the Act unless they had this discretion, in exceptional cases of outbreak of disease, to come in and suspend importation. Let us take the first case that happened. Portugal, for instance, sent her animals here. She was an exceptionally healthy country, and the animals she sent were admitted into the interior of this country. But before the Government were aware of it we discovered that they had foot-and-mouth disease in Portugal. It was discovered by a veterinary surgeon who was travelling in that country. We made our own inquiry, and at once said—"The disease itself exists, and your animals must be slaughtered at the port." Before a single diseased animal came in, we condemned them to be slaughtered at the ports. That was a stage downwards; but there are stages upwards. We compelled them to be slaughtered at the port, and then the disease became so bad that the wharves at Oporto became impregnated with disease. The ships became impregnated with disease; and, that being the case, we said—"We shall have nothing but disease if we allow it to go on. We will, therefore, suspend the importation for a month, in order that you may inspect and disinfect your landing stages, wharves, and vessels, and provide means for sending us healthy cattle." We suspended the importation for a month or two, and the result of the very stringent measures that we adopted was that perfectly healthy cattle were obtained, and we have received healthy cattle ever since. Indeed, I may say that there are no fatter, or more useful, cattle now in the market than the Peninsular cattle. But the hon. Gentleman opposite would not allow them to come in. His Motion is to prohibit them altogether; and when next they are allowed to come in, they will be permitted to go straight into the country. ["No, no!"] I say, yes; because you destroy the intermediate stage. The importation from Canada and other countries has been restricted. The hon. Gentleman, in his estimate of the Returns, said that there had been a large increase of healthy stock from America. Let me warn the hon. Gentleman against the danger of prophesying. In 1878, the hon. Gentleman omitted America from the Bill, because he said it was a healthy country, and free from disease. But what was the result? In less than one month after the Act came into operation the whole of the American supply of cattle had to be slaughtered at the ports of debarkation. How is the hon. Member to know, if he carries his Resolution to-night, and it comes into operation to-morrow, that the three countries, which he says to-day are free from disease, may not be infected to-morrow? We should then be in this condition—that we should not have a single foreign animal entering our ports. What I want to ask the House is this. The hon. Gentleman has condemned the words of the Schedule which compel us to admit foreign animals, when in a healthy condition, and he has inverted them so as to compel us to exclude all animals, on the slightest suspicion of their not being free from disease, so that we should be surrounded with difficulties. If we are not satisfied, if we have the slightest suspicion that disease exists in any country, we are to prohibit the importation of live animals from that country. That is not the Act, and it is contrary to the spirit of the Act, and the intention of the Act. The Resolution says— That this House desires to urge on Her Majesty's Government the importance of taking effectual measures for the suppression of foot and mouth disease throughout the United Kingdom, and it is of opinion that, while for this purpose it is necessary that adequate restrictions, under the powers vested in the Privy Council, should be imposed on the movements and transit of cattle at home, it is even more important, with a view to its permanent extinction, that the landing of Foreign live animals should not be permitted in future from any Countries as to which the Privy Council are not satisfied that the laws thereof relating to the importation and exportation of animals, and to the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and the general sanitary condition of animals therein, are such as to afford reasonable security against the importation therefrom of animals which are diseased. What conditions are there there? Total prohibition, and free admission. What has become of compulsory slaughter? What animals are you to slaughter, if diseased animals are to be prohibited, and healthy animals are to be admitted freely? What are you going to slaughter? I want to know what would be the effect of this Resolution? I am prepared to show—and I think I shall be supported in my contention by those who have had the daily administration of this Act—that the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman, if carried into practical operation, would be as disastrous to the producer as to the consumer. In 1882, the total exports from foreign countries, including sheep and swine, amounted to 1,483,858. Of that number, if the Resolution were carried, no less than 1,169,776, would come under the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman, and would at once be excluded from the country—upwards of 1,100,000 out of 1,400,000, and these would be not the poor inferior cattle, but fine large fat animals from America, animals weighing not from 500 to 550 lbs., but from 1,000 to 1,500 lbs. What would be the effect on the people of this country of excluding four-fifths of the whole of their foreign meat supply? These four-fifths of the entire supply would go at once, and there would be only one-fifth left, and that would follow immediately when the first suspicion arose that there was a single diseased animal among them. So that it is within the range of possibility that, within a month after the passing of the Resolution, we shall have the total prohibition of the importation of foreign animals. How would that affect the consumer? The hon. Gentleman says it would not affect them at all. I was astounded to bear the hon. Gentleman say so, for I never heard a greater statistical blunder in my life, that the amount of meat to be excluded only amounted to 4 per cent of the whole consumption. [Mr. CHAPLIN: Of the whole annual consumption.] Doss the hon. Gentleman include foreign meat, and bacon, and pork of every kind? He first drew attention to the home production, and then he came to the foreign importation, and he said that 4 per cent was the only amount excluded from the fresh meat supply.


What I said was that the whole annual consumption of meat in the country might be divided under three heads—first, home-grown meat; secondly, meat imported alive; and, thirdly, meat imported dead; and, in the dead meat, I expressly include fresh meat, salt pork, and all other meats except hams.


The hon. Member is still very much in error. Four per cent is 1–25th part of the meat supply of this country. The hon. Gentleman says that only comes to £6,250,000. Now, 25 times £6,250,000 amounts to something like £160,000,000; and therefore it means that £160,000,000 are spent in meat in this country. Does the hon. Member stand to that? If he does, he is a greater authority than Sir James Caird, or any other man I ever heard of, who has made a calculation. I never heard of £160,000,000 a-year being spent in meat in this country. [Mr. CHAPLIN: I never said it was.] But the hon. Member said 4 per cent. and I am prepared to say that the importations of the last six months were at the rate of from £10,500,000 to £11,000,000 a-year. The Resolution of the hon. Member would exclude £8,500,000 of that importation, and, multiply that by 25, you get more than £200,000,000. [Mr. CHAPLIN: What is the actual weight?] I can give you the value very much better than the weight. The average weight of the animals, however, could be ascertained, and the figures added up accurately. In 1878 Sir James Caird estimated that our home supply of meat and dairy produce, exclusive of milk, but including butter and cheese, amounted, in value, to £100,000,000. Since that time he estimates that, owing to the great falling-off in sheep, the meat supply has been diminished by something like 10 per cent. so that about £9,000,000 now represent the home supply. Now, the foreign supply of live meat alone is over £10,000,000. I have heard an hon. Member say that it was diseased; but I am sorry to say that it is much healthier meat than our own, and out of 30,000 animals imported within the last six weeks only six were found to be diseased. I wish we could say we could export 30,000 animals and only have the same amount of disease. After the most careful investigation I have been able to make, and after consulting Sir James Caird, and Mr. Giffen, and Captain Craigie's Reports two or three times over, I find that one-sixth of the fresh meat consumed in England, and one-ninth of the fresh mutton, are supplied to us from abroad. I should like, only the hour is so late, to trouble the House with some extracts from a letter from Sir James Caird. I made inquiries of Sir James Caird as to the increasing supply we are happily getting in this country from the earlier maturity of meat. There is no doubt that, owing to that fact, an increased supply is brought to the market, during the last 30 years, much earlier than it used to be. As far as cattle are concerned, they come into the market a year earlier than they used to do, and the sheep very much earlier also. An hon. Friend opposite told me recently that he had sold a lot of Dorset lambs at 72s. a-head, and that meat was produced in the market at a very much earlier period than was the custom in former times. Sir James Caird writes to the following effect:—After corroborating what I have already mentioned, as to cattle arriving at maturity at a much earlier age than they used to do, he goes on to say that any change in the laying out of arable land in grass is more than counterbalanced by the great increase of population, which increase has brought an increased demand for supply that has required, since 1872, an addition of one-tenth to our home stock of cattle, or, that failing, an equivalent import of animals from abroad. Ireland did not send us a single bad animal during the whole of my experience. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire ridiculed the idea, which I threw out on a former occasion, that the effect of the falling-off in the supply would be to raise the price of meat 2d. or 3d. per lb.


I did not. The statement I complained of was this—that it would raise the price of meat to famine rates.


And I contend that 2d. or 3d. per lb. higher than the present price of meat would be famine rates to a considerable portion of our population. At this moment, the two things that press the heaviest on the earnings of the working man are the cost of rent and the price of meat. I am satisfied that, in speaking of 2d. or 3d. in the lb., I am within the mark. I say there is no instance on record of the supply of any article of ordinary consumption having been decreased by one-tenth where an increase of more than 2d. or 3d. in the lb. was not brought about; a decrease of one-tenth in the supply of corn, cotton, coal, or almost any article of daily consumption, means an increase of at least three-tenths in the cost. What proportion of the foreign supply of meat is sold in London? Of all the animals sold at the London market more than 50 per cent of the cattle are foreign, more than 61 per cent of the sheep are foreign, and 94 per cent of the swine. That, by the most moderate calculation, would supply fresh meat for the whole population of Scotland; and certainly it could not be taken out of the supply of this country without the most serious risk of a meat famine arising, especially amongst the poorer classes of our population. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire says we shall have a dead meat trade if this trade in live animals is reduced, and that is the contention of my hon. Friend behind me (Mr. James Howard). Well, I am surprised at that, after the statements that have appeared again and again about the results of our prohibitions in Germany and Belgium. If the hon. Member will only turn to the last Report of the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council, he will find that Professor Brown states that during the six years before 1877—that is to say, the six years of the prohibition in regard to those two countries—we had lost about 25,000 head of cattle annually from Germany and Belgium, representing something like 1,000,000 cwt. of beef. Such has been the effect of total prohibition in Germany and Belgium. We prohibited live cattle coming from Germany and Belgium for fear of the rinderpest, and we had six years experience of that prohibition. We did not receive, in exchange for that prohibition, one single pound of dead meat. It is said—"If you stimulate the dead meat trade, you will benefit the Colonies, as you will then develop the supply from New Zealand and Australia." It is also said—"Cannot you have a dead meat trade with your Colonies;" but hon. Gentlemen who say that do not have regard to the facts of the case. What are the facts with regard to the Australian and New Zealand dead meat? The meat goes to the refrigerators at from 8s. to 10s. a-head, and it has been sold in this country at from 5½d. to 6½d. per lb. How much does the Australian grower get for his mutton? Why, if it sells at 6d. a-lb. he gets exactly 2½d.,d. going to the cost of refrigeration, carriage, and sale in the London market. Could you expect America and the Continent of Europe to send us meat when their prices are so near to ours? They would not send us meat at prices so near their own, but would send it to the markets nearer their doors. How could you expect them to send their meat, and lose what the butchers call the fifth quarter—namely, the offal? The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire says that if the Government will only prohibit the importation of live animals we shall be able to produce all the meat we require at home; but I do not credit that. I believe we have produced all we can at home, and of that I am assured by the very best judges. There is a great difference of opinion upon this question, and my own is worth nothing; but I hear from men who are well informed on this question that now-a-days a farmer has every inducement to send stock to market, but that yet the supply has fallen off, not so much on account of the foot-and-mouth disease, as from causes which are not preventible. The country lost in 1879–80 nearly 3,000,000 sheep from fluke and river-rot; and this is not the only nation that suffered. In Prussia the stock decreased from 19,000,000 to 14,000,000, owing to bad seasons; and Now Zealand, Australia, and America have also lost vast quantities of sheep and cattle owing to the prevalence of wet seasons. All over the world the inclement weather has had the same effect. How long do you think it would take the farmer to overtake the constantly-increasing demand if no adequate supply is coming to this country? Why, it would take many years and £40,000,000 or £50,000,000 to overtake the demand. This country can take all the foreigners can send to market, besides all it can obtain from homo growth. We are adding to our population a Leeds or a Birmingham every year, and these people have to be fed. What would total prohibition do? Would it secure that entire immunity from contagious disease that the hon. Member anticipates? In 1871 we had no less than 65,000 attacks of foot-and-mouth disease, and the number of animals affected was something enormous, as much as 650,000, I believe. During the last three years we have had 12,000 cases, and 200,000 animals attacked. As a matter of fact, in one month in 1871 there were more animals attacked than in the whole of the last three years. Look at the condition of the country now as compared with what it was in 1841. If you could not keep the disease out in 1841, how are you going to keep it out now? It is admitted that the foot-and-mouth disease is the most infectious and most insidious disease that you can possibly have; and you know that the infection can be carried, not only by animals, but by drovers and others. It has recently been conveyed to Ireland by other means than an animal. ["No, no!"] Well, I know all about the bull; I have a full Report here from Lord Spencer and the Head of the Veterinary Department, and I know that the bull had nothing to do with it—he took the disease when he got there. The disease was taken by the drovers and dealers that go from England. The hon. Gentleman says it has been taken out at Deptford. The disease is so subtle that one hon. Member was reduced to the supposition that the infection had been taken to his animals by the sea-gulls. The hon. Gentleman was not far wrong in supposing that the germs of the disease are conveyed with the greatest possible ease, and that it is with the greatest possible difficulty that you can eradicate them. The market produce which comes from France—hides, hoofs, horns—all these may carry the disease with them; even the ships that convey them may bring the disease. How, therefore, can we hope that we shall escape, even if we stop the importation of live animals? Every ship that comes into our ports is, in itself, a centre of disease; but the greatest danger of all that could be set up would be that which would be established if the hon. Gentleman succeeds in what he desires. The plan of slaughtering animals abroad would not answer the purpose, for the consequence would be that large dead meat markets would take the place of the Deptford Market in France, Boulogne, Ostend, and other parts. We should have our butchers and dealers passing backwards and forwards to those markets day by day, bringing home the disease with them; and, bear in mind, there would then be none of those regulations in force which are now applied so effectually. I believe the more the House inquires into this proposition the more it will be found to be fraught with danger, both to the producer and the consumer. If the hon. Member will move for a Committee of Inquiry to ascertain what should be done, I believe that good ground could be found for it. I have never seen a Notice of that kind on the Paper from him, however. We have had five years' experience of the working of the Act, and it is quite possible that it might be amended. I think, and I have always thought, that it would be an excellent thing if we could, by some means or other—I am only throwing out the suggestion—that it would be a good thing if, when a cargo of animals arrives, there were some place separate—an island in the Thames, for instance—to which they could be taken. At any rate, the Act has been five years in operation, and it has been worked with the utmost rigour by the Privy Council Department. The Department has acted in accordance with the lines laid down in that Act; and we cannot go beyond the law, although we are as anxious to do everything in our power to eradicate the disease as the hon. Gentleman himself can be.


I desire to address a few observations to the House with regard to the vote which I am about to record. My right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) has thrown out a suggestion that the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin), instead of the Motion before the House, would have done well to move for a Committee of Inquiry. Three or four months ago I placed upon the Order Book of this House a Notice of Motion upon that subject; but I received so little encouragement from the Government that I allowed the Notice to drop. I should not have said one word as to the administration of the Act of 1878, if it were not for the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council, who has challenged inquiry as to its administration; and, therefore, I would ask why, when the outbreak took place from the Deptford Market, in a certain cattle-shed in London, the Government did not exercise the power which the Act gave of slaughtering the animals in contact with those diseased?


said, the disease was not carried out by animals, but by men?


There can be no question that the disease escaped from the cattle market; and it is also a fact, that cannot be denied, that the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council allowed the disease to escape into the country. If the Department had exercised the powers which the Act gave them, of "putting out the fire" in that particular shed, we should not have been debating this question at the present moment. I would also ask why the Government, when foot-and-mouth disease had been reduced, as it were, to a nutshell in the country, did not exercise the power conferred by Clause 29 of the Act, which empowers the Privy Council— To slaughter, and pay compensation for animals, other than those affected with pleuro-pneumonia and cattle plague. This is the third occasion on which the subject of cattle regulations has been brought before the present Parliament. The first occasion was on the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold), who proposed to relax the existing restrictions; with the view of allowing imported animals to be moved inward. I thought it my duty to oppose that proposal, and I did so on two grounds—first, because of the danger of such a step to our own flocks and herds; and, secondly, because it would have disturbed a compromise arrived at, after long contention, only two years previously. There were three parties to the settlement of the question in 1878. One of those parties maintained the necessity of total prohibition of live animals, of slaughter at the port of embarkation; and another party upheld the doctrine of unrestricted importation; while the third—and, as I thought at the time, the more moderate and wiser party—contended for slaughter at the port of debarkation. The Act of 1878 was based upon this principle. It was thought by hon. Members on both sides, when that Act was passed, that it would be sufficient to safeguard the owners of the flocks and herds of the Kingdom, and that it was an arrangement satisfactory to the great bulk of the farmers. The next occasion on which the subject was discussed was when the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, in the subsequent year, brought forward a Motion very similar to that which he has proposed to-night, and which I felt compelled, reluctantly, to oppose. I opposed that Motion precisely on the same ground that I had done that of the hon. Member for Salford—namely, that an Act of Parliament, which had been passed with great difficulty only two years previously, containing some 88 clauses and 7 Schedules, should not be lightly disturbed; that, since the Act was passed, the country had been subjected to only one outbreak; and that the circumstances were not sufficiently serious to take the step indicated in the Resolution. I said on that occasion— That it was too soon to upset the compromise arrived at, after years of contention, between the great centres of population and the agricultural interest; and I was further influenced at that time by an expression of opinion from Professor Brown, the Head of the Veterinary Department, who had assured the Council of the Royal Agricultural Society that the Act of 1878 was sufficient, if it were vigorously enforced. Two years have elapsed since that Motion was discussed, and experience has proved, either that the opinion of Professor Brown was erroneous, or that the Act of 1878 has not been vigorously enforced. Whether that opinion was erroneous or not, and whether the opinion since expressed by the Lord Chancellor, as to the insufficiency of the Act, be sound or not, the fact remains that the farmers of the Kingdom and the cattle trade have been subjected not only to a vast amount of inconvenience, but also to frightful losses. What is still more serious is, that we seem to be no nearer to the extirpation of this troublesome disease than we were in 1880; and I believe that Professor Brown entertains little hope of stamping out the disease within a reasonable time, unless invested with far greater powers. When times were tolerably good, farmers endured the losses without making any great complaint; but now, when it has become a simple struggle for existence, there is no wonder that they demand—as they have a right to demand—more efficient means for stamping out the disease and preventing its importation from abroad. I have suffered great losses from time to time in my own flocks and herds, and can therefore sympathize with others, and I believe if hon. Friends near me had been subjected to similar losses, their sympathies would also have been extended more than they are to the struggling tenant farmers. It is quite true, as the Vice President of the Council has said, that the Act of 1878 has been most efficacious, so far as pleuro-pneumonia and rinderpest are concerned; but it is equally true that the Act has been a failure in respect of the troublesome disease which we are discussing to-night. Nor is this disease so innocuous as some of those middlemen, who are connected with the cattle trade, would lead the public and Parliament to believe. Foot-and-mouth disease is an eruptive fever, and although it is not so fatal as some other diseases, it is highly contagious, and inflicts frightful losses on the country. Cows affected with this disease speedily lose their milk. They are apt to become barren, and the disease leads also to abortion. In fact, foot-and-mouth disease strikes at the very root of food production. "Oh! but," say some of those interested men in the cattle trade, "this disease does not come from abroad; it is generated at home; it existed in this country long before there was importation." That also was the tendency of the observations of my right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council; but, with the permission of the House, I shall, in a few minutes, show the utter groundlessness of that assertion. It is true that Dr. Layard, as long ago as 1747, chronicled an outbreak of cattle murrain in this country; but, although it was of an eruptive character, it is evident from his statements that it was not the troublesome disease with which we now have to contend. I shall quote an extract which will show that it was of foreign origin. What said Dr. Layard as long ago as 1747? He said— Care and time may extirpate the disease; at least, such devastation as has happened of late years may he prevented. But, of all cautions, prohibiting the importation of infected cattle and hides is of the greatest importance; since, for want of due attention, this distemper may repeatedly be introduced. That extract conclusively shows it was the prevalent opinion of the time that the disease was of foreign origin. Now, I would call attention to a few facts which tend to show—if they do not conclusively prove—that our native cattle are not liable to outbreaks of contagious disease. I am in possession of the library of a distinguished agriculturist, the late Mr. Fisher Hobbs; and, looking through that library, I discovered a number of essays and books on the epizootic diseases of this country. In none of the books published in the early part of the present century can I find the least mention of any of the contagious diseases now prevalent. In Pearson's House, Cattle, and Sheep Doctor, published in 1811, the author, a veterinary surgeon of long experience in the grazing county of Leicester, treats of some 60 diseases of cattle and sheep, and of their remedies; but no mention whatever is made of either foot-and-mouth disease or pleuro-pneumonia. Clater was a great authority on cattle diseases, and no mention is made of those two diseases in the early editions of his Cattle Doctor; but in the 10th edition, published in 1853, I find the following remark:— Since the eighth edition of this work was published, a new disease (foot-and-mouth) has appeared among cattle and sheep, and for the last 12 years has spread through the Kingdom, scarcely sparing a single parish. As to the origin of this disease, after careful investigation, I have come to the conclusion that Professor Youatt was right, when he traced the first outbreak to certain lots of the bovine species, which were imported in 1839 for the Zoological Gardens, after which foot-and-mouth disease was immediately discovered in the suburbs of London. As to the alleged spontaneous origin of this disease, this is also a question of great importance. Take the case of Ireland. In giving evidence before the Select Committee of this House in 1877, I ventured upon a prediction. I said that although Ireland was a hot-bed of foot-and-mouth disease, if it were once stamped out, it would never appear again until it was re-imported. That has been the case. After the Act of 1878 was put in force, not a single case of foot-and-mouth disease occurred in that country, which was formerly a hotbed of the disease, until re-introduced by a bull sent there in the present year. The Vice President of the Council has said that it was taken by drovers. At all events, whether taken by drovers or by the bull from Liverpool is not material to the argument that foot-and-mouth disease was stamped out in Ireland, and that no case occurred until it was re-introduced. Then take the case of England. After the outbreak of rinderpest in 1865, foot-and-mouth disease and pleuro-pneumonia were all but stamped out in this country, and no serious outbreak occurred again until their re-importation. Then, after the Act of 1878, foot-and-mouth disease was completely extirpated in England, and not a single case occurred in any part of the country until that unfortunate cargo of animals was landed at Deptford. Evidence was adduced, in 1877, to show that animals themselves are the chief carriers of disease. Evidence was also given to show that there were remote places in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, in which this disease had never been known. The explanation was that these remote places were not importing, but exporting districts. For the assertion that these diseases are generated by dirt, exposure, or from any other natural cause—although alleged by interested middlemen—there is not a particle of foundation. There is not an atom of evidence to show that those diseases are indigenous in our native cattle, and no veterinary surgeon of any eminence in this country or Europe has ever given in his adhesion to any such theory. These contagious diseases are no more indigenous to the cattle of this country than are yellow fever or leprosy or cholera morbus in the human family. Seeing the danger of those imported diseases to the flocks and herds of the country, it behoves Members of this House to look calmly and deliberately at the extent to which we are dependent for our meat upon foreign sources, and more especially at the extent to which we are dependent upon infected sources. In 1875, when writing Our Meat Supply, I went into minute calculations of the relative supplies of home and foreign meat. Those calculations were very widely published, and they formed the bases of some of the calculations referred to by the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire. The average consumption of meat per head of the population of this country is about 100 lbs. Of that, 78 lbs. are supplied by animals bred in the United Kingdom, 15 lbs. are supplied in the shape of foreign dead meat, 3 lbs. came in live animals from countries which are free from disease, and 4 lbs. from countries which are infected with disease. Therefore, of every 100 lbs. of meat consumed, we are only dependent upon foreign live animals to the extent of 7 lbs. These are facts which I defy the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) to gainsay. Ireland sends us double the number of live animals and twice the weight of meat that is imported from all foreign countries put together. Looking to the relative proportions of our supply of meat and to the extent which those foreign diseases lessen the home supply, and looking to the difficulty—almost the impossibility—of stamping out those diseases when they get a hold of the country, I have come to the conclusion that the time has arrived when we should say to other countries—"Till you can show a clean bill of health, you must slaughter your animals on your own side." Nor is this a recently-formed opinion. When examined before the Select Committee in 1877, I stated as follows:— I think that the country would not submit to the slaughter of cattle at the ports of embarkation, though I have no doubt that that would he the safer plan, because there would be less fear of conveying the disease by the animals themselves, and there would be less to fear of convoying it by means of hay, straw, and manure, and by persons going on board those ships in our own ports. But, as I say, I do not think that the country is quite ripe for such a step as slaughter at the ports of embarkation. I am clearly of opinion, however, that in the interests of the community it would be very desirable, so long as these diseases exist upon the Continent, to slaughter all fat animals at the port of debarkation. Those who argue that by thus checking the importation of live animals we shall be re-introducing the principle of Protection, forget the fact that the surplus meat of the world must find a market either alive or dead. Meat does not differ from cotton or any other product in that respect. As a Free Trader, I protest, when we ask what is merely a question of proper sanitary regulations, to have fiscal questions dragged in. Breeding facilities are neither increased nor diminished by such regulations. Some people seem to imagine that meat can be increased the same as other products; but that is altogether a mistake. The number of animals which can be produced in a country depends upon the number of mothers. If you tell me the number of cows in the country, I shall be able to tell you what the production will be for 20 years to come. It should be remembered that there is no demand for the exclusion of dead meat, or for the exclusion of live animals if they come from countries free from disease, and therefore it is idle to twit farmers with a desire to return to Protection. If meat were 6d. per lb. instead of 1s. there would be some ground for the suspicion. I probably know the opinion, the inner thoughts of the farmers of England, as well as any Member of this House, and I say they demand nothing in the shape of Protection. The demand for greater safeguards against the introduction of disease comes from Liberal farmers just as strongly as from Tories—and I am very glad to say we have an increasing number of Liberal farmers in the country. The farmers of the Kingdom demand—and they demand as with one voice—that there should be greater security against the introduction of disease; and if the present Government resists that demand, they will find out their mistake at the next General Election.


said, that considering the length of time at which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. James Howard) had addressed the House, and looking to the lateness of the hour (1.5 a.m.), he should not attempt to follow his right hon. Friend the Vice President of the Council (Mr. Mundella) through the numerous lanes into which he had led them in his discursive speech. There were one or two points, however, in the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin) upon which he (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) wished to touch very lightly. As he understood the Motion of his hon. Friend, it did not imply that total prohibition which the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council attempted to make out. What he (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) understood the Motion of his hon. Friend to mean was, that the Privy Council should, in any case where, to their knowledge, there was a likelihood of disease being imported from a country into England, they should prohibit the importation of live animals from that particular country; and the speech of his hon. Friend pointed distinctly to that very fact, because, when he stated that he asked for this prohibition, he, at the same time, pointed out that a large deduction had to be made from the tonnage, which he estimated the foreign trade at in respect of those countries which were free from disease, and which, therefore, this Motion would not affect in the slightest degree. If he understood the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Mundella) aright, his argument was that the Privy Council had not the power, under the Act of 1878, to do as the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire desired. But surely the right hon. Gentleman did not appreciate the powers given him by the Act of 1878. He (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) had, as the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council knew perfectly well, something to do, not only with the drafting, but with the carrying of the Act through the House; and he ventured to say there was clear and absolute power given by that Act to the Privy Council to prohibit the importation of live animals from any country where disease existed. The words of the Act were— The Privy Council may, from time to time, make such general or special orders as they may think fit for prohibiting the landing of animals," &c., &c. But, if he wanted an additional argument as to the powers of the Privy Council, he would point to the action of the Privy Council itself, and to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman made that evening. The right hon. Gentleman stated, in justification of the action of the Privy Council in carrying out the Act of 1878, that in the case of Portugal, when it was found that the slaughtering at the ports had failed, they introduced prohibition, and thus stamped out the disease. He (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) understood that that was all his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire desired by this Motion. He might even go a step further in showing the powers of the Privy Council, for it was not very long ago that they prohibited the importation absolutely from France, for the very same reasons that prompted them in the case of Portugal. All his hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lincolnshire desired was, that in cases where a country was shown to be not free from disease, the importation of live animals from that country should be prohibited; and he (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) maintained that the Act of 1878 fully empowered the Privy Council to do that. They themselves had exercised that power in two particular instances, and there was nothing in the Act itself to prohibit them from carrying it out in every case in which they believed there was a danger of the importation of disease from abroad. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council laid great stress upon the loss there would be to the consumers, if the course suggested by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire were pursued. They could only judge by what had happened in the past, and he (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) would refer the right hon. Gentleman to the Report of the Veterinary Department of the Privy Council for 1881. The right hon. Gentleman would there find that it was stated that, though there was a reduction of supply, on account of the restrictions which were then imposed—a reduction of live stock, amounting in that year to 37,992 animals—there was no marked increase produced in the price of meat. That was what happened in 1881; and they might venture to say that, if in cases of countries similarly situated to France and Portugal, the Privy Council carried out a like provision, there would not be the terrible consequences anticipated by the right hon. Gentleman. He (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) had only one or two more remarks to make. One was with regard to what had always been said about the impossibility of the dead meat trade. The evidence given before the Committee of 1878 went to show that the dead meat trade did not exist, simply because uncertainty existed in the quarantine arrangements. If there was any idea that there would be a general stoppage of the importation of live animals into this country, whenever disease was suspected, all witnesses agreed that the dead meat trade would increase rapidly. Now, the second point to which he wished to allude was the appointment of a Committee. The right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Council hinted that if this Motion had taken the form of the appointment of a Committee the Government might have assented to such a proposal. Now, the Motion had been before the House of Commons and the public very nearly since the beginning of the Session; and if the Government had intended to adopt the course which the right hon. Gentleman hinted at, they ought to have moved for a Committee. It was an absolute farce to propose in July the appointment of a Committee to sit in July for the purpose of dealing with a question to which the agricultural population of the country attached such vast importance. The suggestion on the part of the Government for the appointment of a Committee appeared to him (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) to be nothing more or less than the shelving of an inconvenient subject.


said, he would not detain the House many minutes; but there was a point to which he wished to refer before they proceeded to a Division. The hon. Baronet who had just sat down (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) had said they could not proceed with a Committee on this subject in July. If it was too late to proceed with a Committee of Inquiry on this subject in July, it certainly was too late to legislate on this subject. [An hon. MEMBER: There is no legislation proposed.] He (Mr. Dodson) maintained that the Resolution could not be carried out without legislation; and his hon. Friend (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) had entirely misconceived and misconstrued the Resolution which he had endeavoured to interpret. In a few words, what was the basis of the Act of 1878? The general rule laid down in the 5th Schedule was, slaughter at the ports of debarkation of animals which came from abroad. To this rule there were, however, two exceptions. One was a mandatory direction to the Privy Council to admit animals free from countries as to the sanitary laws and conditions of which they were satisfied; the other was a discretionary power, conferred on the Privy Council by Section 35, to prohibit the importation of animals from time to time from specified countries, under certain circumstances. What was the effect of the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin)? It was entirely to do away with the general rule of the Act of 1878. There was to be freedom of admission on the one hand, or absolute prohibition on the other. The hon. Baronet who had just sat down (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) stated twice, if not three times, in the course of his speech, that the effect of the Resolution of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lincolnshire was only this—that the Privy Council should be directed to prohibit the importation of live animals from countries in which they had positive evidence that disease existed. But the reverse was exactly the case. The hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, with great ingenuity, had taken from the Schedule of the Act the words embodying the conditions under which the Privy Council was required to admit animals free from certain countries; and, reversing them, he called upon the Privy Council to prohibit the importation of animals from all countries that did not satisfy those particular conditions. These were the words of the Resolution, and he would read them for the benefit of hon. Gentlemen opposite. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen who were going to vote for this Resolution, perhaps, would rather not hear a different interpretation to that given by the hon. Baronet (Sir Henry Selwin-Ibbetson) put upon it. The words of the Resolution were— The landing of Foreign live animals should not he permitted in future from any Countries as to which the Privy Council are not satisfied, as to three things. The first was, if they were not satisfied that the laws of any country relating to the importation and exportation of animals were such as to afford reasonable security against the importation of disease therefrom; the next was, that the laws thereof relating to the introduction or spreading of disease were such as to afford reasonable security against the importation of disease; and the third was, that the sanitary condition of the animals therein was such as to afford reasonable security against the importation of disease. Therefore, they were to be satisfied as to two points with regard to law, and then as to the sanitary condition of the animals; and, whenever the Privy Council were not satisfied as to these three conditions, they were to be called upon in future to prohibit the landing of foreign live animals. Now, that was an actual prohibition of the importation of live animals into this country, except in the case of countries from which they were bound by the Act of 1878 to admit animals absolutely free. He maintained that they could not carry this out without legislation. The Government would be quite ready to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold), that the Privy Council should be both vigilant and firm, at home and abroad, in carrying out their powers. They would be ready to agree to the Motion for a Committee; but, without inquiry, they could not agree to the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire, which would necessitate legislation. The Act of 1878 was one which ought not lightly to be disturbed. It was a compromise arrived at after careful inquiry, not between two Parties in that House, but between two competing interests, the producer and the consumer. It was an equitable arrangement; and he believed it resulted in powers being conferred on the Privy Council which, if they were properly exercised, were reasonably sufficient for the protection of the country. He would say only one word in conclusion. He did not accuse any hon. Member who supported this Resolution of any intention of establishing Protection. He was not one of those who suspected the farmers of seeking the re-establishment of Protection under the name of Reciprocity, or Pair Trade, or whatever other alias it might assume. He did not believe it would be from the agricultural interest that the first suggestion would come. What the farmers sought for, and what they were justly entitled to, was protection against cattle disease. Well, the Privy Council had large powers entrusted to it in that respect. They were using, and intended to use, so far as they thought they could justly do so, all the powers they had to prevent the importation of disease into this country; and he thought he might claim, since the establishment of an Agricultural Department, with which he was connected, that they had given proof of the sincerity of their intention to work in that direction. They had forbidden the importation of animals from Prance, and had put pressure upon Germany as to importation from that country—so much so, that the German Government had revised its regulations as to the exportation of sheep from that country; and he believed it had resulted in greater security in the case of animals exported from Germany. He had no wish to detain the House any longer, except to say that, for the reasons he had stated, the Government could not, and did not, think they would be justified in accepting the Resolution of the hon. Member for Mid Lincolnshire.


said, many statements had been made in the course of the debate to which, under ordinary circumstances, he should have been greatly tempted to reply. At that late hour of the night, however, he would altogether forego the temptation. One word he might be permitted to say, in reply to an observation of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Dodson). The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Motion could not be carried out without further legislation. If that were so, then further legislation let there be. But that was not his (Mr. Chaplin's) opinion; it was only the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman. All he asked for was that they should deal with all foreign countries, from which there was a fear of importing foot-and-mouth disease, precisely in the same way as they were dealing with Prance at the present time; and no Member of the Government had ventured to tell him what prevented them prohibiting animals from Belgium and Spain, whilst the same law prevented their landing them from France. The right hon. Gentleman complained that he had taken the words of the Schedule of the Act for his Motion. He had done that advisedly. The right hon. Gentleman said he called upon the Government to do three things negatively. He called upon the Government to do what they had a right to do at the present moment—he called upon the Privy Council to satisfy themselves as to the sanitary condition of the countries from which live animals were imported, and, having satisfied themselves, then to take certain steps—that was to say, to act in a manner different to the way in which they were acting now. The right hon. Gentleman said he was ready to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Arthur Arnold). He (Mr. Chaplin), however, was not prepared to accept that Amendment, because it meant nothing. There had been more than one Select Committee to inquire into this question; and, in addition to that, he would remind the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster of the Royal Commission on Agriculture, which sat for three years, and had only just finished its labours. It did appear to him that the proposal to appoint a Committee was only a plea for delay. Under those circumstances, and in consequence of the reply of the Government, he had no alternative whatever, except to take the sense of the House on his Motion.


, who rose amidst loud cries of "Divide!" was understood to say that he regarded the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Vice President of the Privy Council was most delusive. He had represented that all the animals imported were heavy fat cattle, weighing from 1,000 to 1,500 lbs., whereas by far the greater proportion were sheep.


rose, and was also received with marks of disapprobation.


The hon. Member is, no doubt, aware that he has no right to make a second speech.


I did not intend to make a second speech, Sir; but, with the indulgence of the House, I wish to make an observation. [Loud cries of "Divide!"]


The object of the hon. Member is simply to ask leave of the House to withdraw his Amendment; and this is certainly the first time within my recollection that an hon. Member has been refused permission to make such a statement.


I wish to say that I have no objection to an inquiry; and I, therefore, ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


said, he would only express his regret that the Government had not made up their minds to grant an inquiry sooner. He would move the Amendment which stood on the Paper in his name.

Amendment proposed, To leave out all the words after the word "That," in order to add the words "a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the working of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts 1869 and 1878, and specially as to whether it is possible to take further steps for preventing the introduction of contagious diseases from Abroad, without unduly interfering with the supply of food; and also whether the provisions for preventing the spread of disease can be made more effective,"—(Mr. J. W. Barclay,) —instead thereof.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

The House divided:—Ayes 200; Noes 192: Majority 8.

Alexander, Colonel C. Biddell, W.
Allsopp, C. Biddulph, M.
Amherst, W. A. T. Biggar, J. G.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Birkbeck, E.
Bailey, Sir J. R. Blackburne, Col. J. I.
Balfour, A. J. Boord, T. W.
Barttelot, Sir W. B. Borlase, W. C.
Bateson, Sir T. Bourke, rt. hon. R.
Beach, rt. hon. Sir M. H. Brise, Colonel R.
Beach, W. W. B. Broadley, W. H. H.
Bective, Earl of Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.
Bellingham, A. H.
Brooks, W. C. Heneage, E.
Bruce, Sir H. H. Henry, M.
Brymer, W. E. Herbert, hon. S.
Bulwer, J. R. Hicks, E.
Burghley, Lord Hildyard, T. B. T.
Buxton, Sir R. J. Hinchingbrook, Visc.
Callan, P. Holland, Sir H. T.
Cartwright, W. C. Home, Lt.-Col. D. M.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hope, rt. hn. A. J. B. B.
Cecil, Lord E. H. B. G. Howard, E. S.
Christie, W. L. Howard, G. J.
Cole, Viscount Howard, J.
Collins, T. Inderwick, F. A.
Compton, F. Johnstone, Sir F.
Coope, O. E. Kennard, Col. E. H.
Corry, J. P. Kennard, C. J.
Cowper, hon. H. F. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Craig, W. Y. Kenny, M. J.
Creyke, R. Knight, F. W.
Cross, rt. hon. Sir R. A. Knightley, Sir R.
Curzon, Major hon. M. Lacon, Sir E. H. K.
Davenport, H. T. Lawrance, J. C.
Davenport, W. B. Lawrence, Sir T.
Dawnay, Col. hon. L. P. Leamy, E.
Dawnay, hon. G. C. Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.
Digby, Col. hon. E. T. Leigh, hon. G. H. C.
Donaldson-Hudson, C. Leighton, S.
Douglas, A. Akers- Lennox, rt. hon. Lord H. G. C. G.
Duckham, T.
Dyke, rt. hn. Sir W. H. Levett, T. J.
Eaton, H. W. Lewisham, Viscount
Ecroyd, W. F. Loder, R.
Egerton, hon. A. de T. Long, W. H.
Egerton, hon. A. F. Lopes, Sir M.
Elcho, Lord Lowther, rt. hon. J.
Emlyn, Viscount Lowther, hon. W.
Estcourt, G. S. Mac Iver, D.
Ewing, A. O. M'Lagan, P.
Feilden, Lieut.-General R. J. Macnaghten, E.
Makins, Colonel W. T.
Ffolkes, Sir W. H. B. March, Earl of
Filmer, Sir E. Maskelyne, M. N. H. Story-
Finch, G. H.
Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W. W. Master, T. W. C.
Maxwell, Sir H. E.
Fletcher, Sir H. Maxwell-Heron, Capt. J. M.
Floyer, J.
Folkestone, Viscount Miles, Sir P. J. W.
Forester, C. T. W. Miles, C. W.
Fort, R. Mills, Sir C. H.
Foster, W. H. Monckton, F.
Fowler, R. N. Moreton, Lord
Fremantle, hon. T. F. Morgan, hon. F.
Galway, Viscount Moss, R.
Gardner, R. Richardson- Mulholland, J.
Newport, Viscount
Garnier, J. C. Noel, rt. hon. G. J.
Gibson, rt. hon. E. Nolan, Colonel J. P.
Giffard, Sir H. S. North, Colonel J. S.
Goldney, Sir G. Northcote, rt. hn. Sir S. H.
Gordon, Sir A.
Gore-Langton, W. S. Northcote, H. S.
Gregory, G. B. O'Beirne, Col. F.
Gurdon, R. T. O'Brien, W.
Halsey, T. F. O'Kelly, J.
Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. Onslow, D.
Paget, R. H.
Hamilton, I. T. Pell, A.
Harcourt, E. W. Pemberton, E. L.
Harvey, Sir R. B. Percy, Lord A.
Hastings, G. W. Phipps, C. N. P.
Hay, rt. hon. Admiral Sir J. C. D. Phipps, P.
Plunket, rt. hon. D. R.
Portman, hn. W. H. B. Stanley, rt. hon. Col. F.
Power, R. Stanley, E. J.
Pugh, L. P. Storer, G.
Raikes, rt. hon. H. C. Sykes, C.
Rankin, J. Talbot, J. G.
Rendlesham, Lord Thornhill, T.
Repton, G. W. Tollemache, hon. W. F.
Ridley, Sir M. W. Tollemache, H. J.
Rolls, J. A. Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Rose, C. C. Walrond, Col. W. H.
Round, J. Warburton, P. E.
St. Aubyn, Sir J. Warton, C. N.
Sclater-Booth. rt. hn. G. Welby-Gregory, Sir W.
Scott, Lord H. Wiggin, H.
Scott, M. D. Wilmot, Sir H.
Selwin-Ibbetson, Sir H. J. Winn, R.
Wroughton, P.
Severne, J. E. Wyndham, hon. P.
Smith, rt. hon. W. H. Yorke, J. R.
Smith, A. TELLERS.
Stafford, Marquess of Chaplin, H.
Stanhope, hon. E. Kingscote, Col. R. N. F.
Acland, Sir T. D. Courtney, L. H.
Acland, C. T. D. Cross, J. K.
Allen, W. S. Currie, Sir D.
Armitage, B. Davey, H.
Armitstead, G. De Ferrières, Baron
Arnold, A. Dilke, rt. hn. Sir C. W.
Asher, A. Dillwyn, L. L.
Ashley, hon. E. M. Dodds, J.
Balfour, Sir G. Dodson, rt. hon. J. G.
Balfour, rt. hon. J. B. Duff, R. W.
Barran, J. Dundas, hon. J. C.
Bass, Sir A. Earp, T.
Bass, H. Ebrington, Viscount
Blennerhassett, Sir R. Edwards, H.
Bolton, J. C. Edwards, P.
Brand, H. R. Egerton, Adm. hon. F.
Brassey, H. A. Errington, G.
Brassey, Sir T. Farquharson, Dr. R.
Brett, R. B. Fawcett, rt. hon. H.
Briggs, W. E. Findlater, W.
Bright, rt. hon. J. Fitzmaurice, Lord E.
Bright, J. (Manchester) Flower, C.
Brogden, A. Fowler, H. H.
Bruce, rt. hon. Lord C. Fry, L.
Bruce, hon. R. P. Fry, T.
Bryce, J. Gabbett, D. F.
Buchanan, T. R. Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.
Burt, T. Gladstone, H. J.
Buszard, M. C. Gladstone, W. H.
Buxton, F. W. Gordon, Lord D.
Buxton, S. C. Gower, hon. E. F. L.
Cameron, C. Grafton, F. W.
Campbell, Sir G. Grant Sir G. M.
Campbell, R. F. F. Grant, A.
Campbell-Bannerman, H. Grant, D.
Grey, A. H. G.
Carbutt, E. H. Grosvenor, right hon. Lord R.
Causton, R. K.
Cavendish, Lord E. Hamilton, J. G. C.
Chamberlain, rt. hn. J. Harcourt, rt. hon. Sir W. G. V. V.
Chambers, Sir T.
Cheetham, J. F. Hardcastle, J. A.
Childers, rt. hn. H. C. E. Hartington, Marq. of
Clifford, C. C. Hayter, Sir A. D.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Henderson, F.
Collings, J. Herschell, Sir F.
Colman, J. J. Hibbert, J. T.
Cotes, C. C. Holden, I.
Hollond, J. R. Playfair, rt. hn. Sir L.
Hopwood, C. H. Porter, rt. hon. A. M.
Illingworth, A. Potter, T. B.
Ince, H. B. Powell, W. R. H.
Jackson, W. L. Ralli, P.
James, Sir H. Rathbone, W.
James, C. Richardson, J. N.
James, W. H. Richardson, T.
Jardine, R. Ritchie, C. T.
Jenkins, Sir J. J. Roberts, J.
Jenkins, D. J. Rogers, J. E. T.
Jerningham, H. E. H. Roundell, C. S.
Johnson, E. Russell, Lord A.
Kensington, rt. hn. Lord Russell, G. W. E.
Kinnear, J. Samuelson, B.
Lambton, hon. F. W. Samuelson, H.
Lawson, Sir W. Seely, C. (Lincoln)
Lea, T. Seely, C. (Nottingham)
Leake, R. Sellar, A. C.
Leatham, E. A. Shaw, T.
Leatham, W. H. Sinclair, Sir J. G. T.
Lee, H. Slagg, J.
Leeman, J. J. Smith, E.
Lefevre, right hon. G. J. S. Smith, S.
Spencer, hon. C. R.
Lubbock, Sir J. Stanley, hon. E. L.
M'Arthur, Sir W. Stansfeld, rt. hon. J.
M'Arthur, A. Stanton, W. J.
Mackie, R. B. Stevenson, J. C.
M'Laren, C. B. B. Stewart, J.
Maitland, W. F. Summers, W.
Mappin, F. T. Tavistock, Marquess of
Martin, R. B. Tennant, C.
Milbank, Sir F. A. Thomasson, J. P.
Monk, C. J. Thompson, T. C.
Morgan, rt. hon. G. O. Trevelyan, rt. hn. G. O.
Morley, A. Vivian, Sir H. H.
Morley, J. Walter, J.
Morley, S. Waugh, E.
Mundella, rt. hon. A. J. Webster, J.
O'Shaughnessy, R. Whitbread, S.
Otway, Sir A. J. Whitley, E.
Paget, T. T. Whitworth, B.
Palmer, C. M. Williams, S. C. E.
Palmer, J. H. Wilson, C. H.
Parker, C. S. Wilson, I.
Pease, Sir J. W. Wodehouse, E. R.
Pease, A. Woodall, W.
Peddie, J. D.
Pender, J. TELLERS.
Pennington, F. Barclay, J. W.
Philips, R. N. Giles, A.

Main Question put. Resolved, That this House desires to urge on Her Majesty's Government the importance of taking effectual measures for the suppression of foot and mouth disease throughout the United Kingdom, and it is of opinion that, while for this purpose it is necessary that adequate restrictions, under the powers vested in the Privy Council, should be imposed on the movements and transit of cattle at home, it is even more important, with a view to its permanent extinction, that the landing of Foreign live animals should not be permitted in future from any Countries as to which the Privy Council are not satisfied that the laws thereof relating to the importation and exportation of animals, and to the prevention of the introduction or spreading of disease, and the general sanitary condition of animals therein, are such as to afford reasonable security against the importation therefrom of animals which are diseased.