§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether several cases of pleuro-pneumonia have been detected amongst animals landed from the United States of America in this country since the month of July; and if he can state the total number of animals which were slaughtered by order of the Board of Agriculture in connection with the imports of Canadian cattle, amongst whom pleuro-pneumonia was discovered in October last, the number of different places, and the localities at which the slaughter was effected, and the amount paid in compensation?
§ *MR. LENG (Dundee)
At the same time, I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his attention has been directed to the serious injury which will he inflicted on the agriculturists in several large districts in Scotland if the importation of cattle for feeding, purposes from Canada should be prohibited during the coming season; whether he has received any representations from the Dominion Government as to the non-existence of pleuro-pneumonia in Canadian cattle; and whether he can yet indicate what course the Board of Agriculture is likely to take on the subject? I may also ask him in how many of the Canadian cattle slaughtered in Scotland pleura-pneumonia was detected; and whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that eminent veterinary surgeons were divided in opinion, and that some asserted that such animals were not affected by that disease but by another which was not contagious?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. H. GARDNER,) Essex, Saffron Walden
In reply to the first paragraph of the question of the right hon. Gentleman, I have to say that since July last 41 cases of pleuro-pneumonia, forming part of 18 different cargoes, have been discovered amongst cattle imported from the United States. With regard to Canada, the number of cattle slaughtered by order of the Board of Agriculture, in consequence of the discovery of pleuro-pneumonia amongst two cargoes imported from Montreal in October last, 527 was 1,394. These cattle had been traced to 79 different places in the Counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Elgin, Fife, Forfar, Kincardine, Perth and Ross. The amount paid in compensation was £18,130, but against this must be set a sum of £8,664 received for the carcases, &c. Four diseased animals in all were discovered amongst those imported, a fifth being a home-bred animal, which had been in contact with one of the beasts brought from Canada. Doubts were expressed by veterinarians and others in Scotland as to whether the disease detected was contagious pleuro-pneumonia, but the verdict pronounced by my own professional advisers was unanimous and unhesitating. Immediately upon the discovery of the diseased animals inquiries were instituted by the Canadian Government, and I was assured that after the most exhaustive examination in every part of the country not a single ease of pleuro-pneumonia was found to exist. I could not, however, resist the conclusion—although I confess I arrived at it with the greatest regret and reluctance—that the arrival of the diseased animals indicated either the existence of some centre of disease in Canada unknown to the authorities there, or some deficiency in the law relating to the importation of cattle into the Dominion, and this being so, I had no alternative under the Statute but to withdraw the privilege of free entry. I am aware of the strong desire felt in some districts of Scotland that the privilege should be restored, and I should be very glad to find myself able to give effect to those wishes. I cannot say, however, that there is as yet any such material alteration in the position as would justify me in doing so, but I shall give my most attentive consideration to any further representations on the subject which may reach me, either from the Canadian Government or elsewhere.