§ MR. JOHN GATHORNE-HARDY (Kent, Medway)
I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Agriculture a question of which I have given him private notice. It is whether he cannot modify the restrictions imposed in consequence of the foot-and-mouth disease, and whether he considers them any longer necessary in the neighbourhood of Sittingbourne?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
In reply to my hon. Friend, I regret to inform him that, although the county is free, I believe, from it every where else, foot-and-mouth disease continues to linger most obstinately in the district of Kent immediately to the north of Sittingbourne; and for some reason or other which I am unable to fathom at present, notwithstanding every effort and the most stringent precautions, we have failed in arresting its progress. Under these circumstances, I am afraid I cannot give an undertaking to-day to carry out any modification of the restrictions imposed; but I am well aware of the annoyance which they cause, and to-morrow the head of the Veterinary Department, Professor Browne, accompanied by the Chief Inspector of the Board of Agriculture, will visit the district by my direction for the double purpose of investigating and reporting—first, what measures, if any, can be taken for the eradication of the disease; and, secondly, whether any modification of the restrictions can be made with due regard to the safety of 218 the rest of the county? As soon as I get the Report of these gentlemen I hope to make a further communication on the subject.