HC Deb 25 February 1887 vol 311 c566
MR. BEADEL (Essex, Chelmsford)

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Whether his attention has been called to a recent outbreak of anthrax at a farm near Chelmsford, Essex, whereby 60 out of 62 head of cattle either died or were slaughtered; and, whether the Privy Council will institute urgent inquiries as to the origin and cause of such outbreak?


An inspector was sent to Chelmsford as soon as we were informed of the extensive outbreak of anthrax; but he did not succeed in obtaining any evidence as to the cause of the outbreak. It was stated that no change had been made in the management of the cattle, and no fodder, litter, or manure had been brought on to the farm from foreign sources. It may be remembered that anthrax depends on the introduction into the blood of the spores of a minute organism (bacillus anthracis); and out of a multiplicity of possible channels through which these microscopic germs may be conveyed, it is often difficult, and sometimes quite impossible, to select the actual one. I may add that specimens of the different articles of food of which the cattle partook, and some of the drinking water, are being used for the purpose of ascertaining by experiment whether they contain any of the infective matter of anthrax.