HC Deb 11 August 1885 vol 300 cc1734-7

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Whether the following arrangement, as announced in the newspapers of last week, has received the sanction of the Privy Council, viz.: Sir J. B. Lawes, bart, has accepted Mr. Moreton Frewen's offer of 50 head of lean stock from Wyoming to feed and fatten in England; and, whether any, and, if so, what, precautionary measures will be enforced to guard against the introduction of contagious diseases by those animals, seeing that the Canadian Government deem it requisite to prohibit the transit of cattle from Wyoming through Canada as a precaution against the introduction of contagious and fatal diseases?


asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Whether it is the case that cattle from the United States are received without any quarantine into Canada at Sarnia, and are carried 400 miles through Canada to Montreal; whether cattle are constantly admitted into the North West of Canada from the United States without any quarantine; whether Montana Ranchemen are in the habit of driving their cattle to Maple Creek on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, and conveying them eastward by that road; whether, in reply to Lord Derby last year, Lord Lansdowne stated that, after inquiry, it appeared that the territories of Wyoming and Montana were found to be free from contagious disease; and, whether it is true, as stated by Land and Water, of 8th August, that— Last year some very large consignments of United States cattle were made by the new outlet northward by trail to Maple Creek, on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and thence eastward over the line, viâ Winnipeg, to St Paul and Chicago. It is now proposed to afford a better service between the Montana ranches and eastern American markets by building a line of railway from Medicine Hat, a thriving town in the Canadian North-West, on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, southwards to Fort Benton, Montana, a distance of 155 miles, and thus make Medicine Hat the point of joining the rails, instead of Maple Creek. The export live cattle and sheep trade of Canada continues this season to grow.


It will be for the convenience of the House if I answer the two Questions separately; and in reply to the hon. Member for Hereford (Mr. Duckham) I have to say that no arrangement of the kind mentioned has been sanctioned by the Privy Council, nor have they received any communication or information on the subject. The hon. Member for South Northumberland (Mr. A. Grey) asks me six Questions, which I shall be glad to answer to the best of my ability. But they have involved researches into papers, some of them extending as far back as 1880, and I confess I should have been glad of a somewhat longer Notice of the inquiries. In reply to the first, by an Order of the Canadian Privy Council, passed in 1880, the importation into Canada, excepting the North-Western States, of animals from the United States was prohibited. That order is still in force, the only exception being that animals are allowed under certain conditions to pass through Canada in bond from one part of the United States territory to another. In virtue of that exception, it is true that cattle are received into Canada at Sarnia, and are carried as far as Lynn, not Montreal, and from there they are taken on for shipment to United States ports. In reply to the second, cattle are not constantly admitted into Canada from the United States, excepting from extreme western points in Alberta and Assiniboia, near the Rocky Mountains, and then only subject to strict regulations as to their sanitary condition. As to the third, I have been unable to obtain information as to the practice of the Montana Ranchemen in driving their cattle to Maple Creek, and thence conveying them eastward. But if that is so, I apprehend it is only for the purpose of transit from one part of the State to another. In reply to the fourth, the only statement I can find from Lord Lansdowne is a negative statement, contained in a despatch to Lord Derby of September, 1884, in two paragraphs, to this effect— The result of the investigations which have recently been instituted by the desire of the Minister of Agriculture has been to satisfy him that, although there is no evidence to show that infectious disease at present exists in Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado, pleuro-pneumonia has undoubtedly manifested itself in Illinois. And then he goes on to say— In view of this state of things, the Dominion Government have come to the conclusion that the moment would be a very inopportune one for a relaxation of the precautions against the admission of disease. I have no information as to the truth of the newspaper paragraph referred to in the fifth Question; and in reply to the sixth, the exports of cattle and sheep from Canada in 1884 showed a falling off of some 25,000 animals since 1883. In regard to this year, I regret that I really have not had time to complete the comparison week by week, which would be necessary between this year and last year, since I saw the Notice of the hon. Member's Question.


asked the right hon. Gentleman whether Her Majesty's Government would use their influence with the Dominion Government to induce them to allow these cattle to be imported into Canada?


asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he would ascertain whether these cattle could be brought into this country at a remunerative price?


I apprehend, Sir, that the first duty of the Government is to ascertain whether cattle can be imported without risk of introducing disease; and, viewing the question in that light, I am unable to give an answer in the affirmative to the Question of the hon. and learned Gentleman. We have reason to believe that at the present time American store stock could not be imported into this country with a due regard to safety.


wished to know whether the Government had received any Report from veterinary surgeons to the effect that lean or store cattle would be less likely to introduce disease than fat cattle?


said, he was not aware that they had received any such information.