HC Deb 04 August 1885 vol 300 cc1058-60

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Whether there has been for some time past widespread prevalence of pleuro-pneumonia in Ireland, and whether every recent outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia in England is directly traceable to the importation of Irish store cattle; whether the present practice of giving less than the full value as compensation for the slaughter of the diseased animal encourages the farmer to conceal the fact of disease, and to sell the diseased animal; whether an epidemic of pleuro-pneumonia in the State of Illinois last year was promptly and effectually suppressed by the system of purchase at full price and slaughter; whether British graziers are allowed to import Irish lean stock notwithstanding the widespread prevalence of pleuro-pneumonia in Ireland, but are not allowed to import lean stock from Western America, notwithstanding the immunity from every form of cattle disease in that country; and, whether the Privy Council will make use of the powers conferred upon them by the third section of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1884, to permit the importation into this country of store cattle from such specified parts of the United States as may be proved to be free and exempt from all disease?


said, that before the Question was put, he wished also to ask the right hon. Gentleman. Whether it was not the fact that cattle in Ireland, with the single exception of the county of Dublin, had been singularly free from disease for a considerable period?


In reply to the two first parts of the Question of the hon. Member (Mr. Albert Grey), it is not the case—and this perhaps will be an answer also to the hon. and gallant Member for Galway County (Colonel Nolan)—it is not the case that there is a widespread prevalence of pleura-pneumonia in Ireland. The hon. Member (Mr. Albert Grey) is also mistaken in supposing that every recent outbreak of the disease in England is directly traceable to the importation of store cattle into England from Ireland. According to the latest official Returns, it will be found that the disease is confined to the Province of Leinster, and principally to Dublin and the neighbourhood; and I find from last week's Return that there were not more than five fresh cases of outbreak and no more than 14 animals attacked in the whole country. In reply to the third paragraph of the Question, it must be to some extent a matter of opinion whether the present scale of compensation encourages farmers to conceal the fact of the existence of disease. We have no evidence of the fact to lead us to believe that it does; but, in any case, the scale is prescribed by law, and the Privy Council have no power to increase it. Fourthly, I have to say that, according to the latest Returns we have received, the disease still existed in Illinois and other Western States in the spring of the present year, and I am very sceptical, therefore, as to the epidemic of which the hon. Member speaks having been effectually suppressed during last year. Under these circumstances, we are not prepared to admit cattle from those States, except subject to slaughter and quarantine.


asked, Whether the right hon. Gentleman could inform the House whether it was not a fact that the Canadian Government deemed it requisite to prohibit the removal of cattle through Canada from the Western States of America in consequence of disease existing in those States?


in reply, said, there was no doubt that that was the fact.