§ MR. C. DARLING (Deptford)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether any case of foot-and-mouth disease has occurred in Schleswig-Holstein since 17th April last; whether those Duchies have been since then officially declared free from foot-and-mouth disease; and whether it is the intention of the Board of Agriculture now to redeem the promise given last year by Lord Salisbury, and to permit the importation of cattle from Schleswig-Holstein?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
The last case of foot-and-mouth disease reported to the Department was on April 6, and it is true that the Province of Schleswig-Holstein was declared free on April 23, rather 1396 less than a month ago. I may remind the hon. Gentleman that a similar declaration was made in August last which was followed by a fresh introduction of disease into Schleswig-Holstein in March of this year, of which we did not receive notice until several days after the outbreak. Foot-and-mouth disease, I regret to say, prevails extensively in Germany at the present time, and at no great distance from the Schleswig-Holstein frontier; and the fact that that Province was declared free on April 23 does not afford any guarantee that it may not be again re-introduced at any moment as it was in the spring within the limits of that Province. Under these circumstances, and taking into consideration the prevalence of the disease in Germany, it would be impossible, in my opinion, to permit the importation of live animals from Schleswig-Holstein at present with any regard to the precautions which it is my duty to take against the introduction of disease. I may add that the statements referred to on the part of Lord Salisbury were made under circumstances which were wholly different from the circumstances of the present time.