HC Deb 05 March 1883 vol 276 cc1408-9

asked the Under Secretary of State for India, Whether it is true that a regiment of Bengal Cavalry, infected with glanders for some time, and without being accompanied by a veterinary surgeon, was sent to Egypt; that the horses were not medically inspected before embarkation from India; that some of them died or were destroyed for glanders on shipboard before the regiment reached Egypt; that many were destroyed while in Egypt, and a troop had to be placed hors de combat at Suez, the horses of the other regiments and corps being placed in great peril of infection; that on the return voyage to India, and subsequently, many more of these Bengal Cavalry horses have been destroyed for glanders; and that an officer of an infantry regiment died at Lucknow of glanders, as well as two natives, these persons having been on board ship with these horses returning from Egypt, and there becoming infected; and, whether it is also the fact that with more than 7,000 animals despatched with the expeditionary force from India to Egypt, there were only two veterinary officers, while the proportion in the Imperial Army is one veterinary surgeon to two hundred and fifty or three hundred animals?


Sir, an inquiry was made two months ago of the Government of India, as to the precise extent to which glanders prevailed among the Bengal Cavalry during the recent campaign and previously. Their detailed Report may be shortly expected. No information has reached the India Office of any officer or other person having died of this disease after their return to India; but inquiry will at once be made on this and other points raised by my hon. Friend. British veterinary surgeons are never employed on the establishment of the Bengal Native Cavalry, but instead each regiment has on its establishment two "Salootrees" (a very competent body of men), and these accompanied the corps to Egypt. The recently organized transport service is also provided with "Salootrees," and the full war establishment was attached to the transport in Egypt. Each battery of artillery had its British veterinary surgeon, and a veterinary surgeon on the staff accompanied Sir Herbert Macpherson as superintendent.