HC Deb 05 June 1893 vol 13 cc187-8
MR. FELLOWES (Hunts, Ramsey)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that the evidence given before the Committee on Swine Fever has been published by the Board of Agriculture, he is now able to say whether he intends to give effect to the recommendations of that Committee?

MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

I beg, at the same time, to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the important character of the evidence now issued on which the Departmental Committee on Swine Fever have based their recent Report, and in view of the recent serious increase of the disease, and the opinion of the Committee that the disease can only effectually be dealt with by a Central Authority, Her Majesty's Government will take steps to carry out the recommendations during the present year?


I am in communication with the Treasury with regard to the recommendations of the Departmental Committee, and at present I can only refer the hon. Member and my hon. Friend the Member for Northamptonshire, who has also placed a question on this subject on the Paper, to the statement made on behalf of the Government immediately before the Recess. I may perhaps add, however, that although, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already been good enough to inform the House, I am personally very anxious to take the disease in hand, an immediate decision on the subject is by no means a matter of such urgency as the frequency of the questions addressed to me with regard to it would suggest. I am informed by my professional advisors that the late autumn is the best season for the commencement of operations, and, with regard to the extent of the disease, I may say that so far from there having been any recent serious increase, as my hon. Friend states, the available statistics point to exactly the opposite conclusion. The number of outbreaks recorded last year was less than half the number recorded in 1891—in fact, smaller than in any year since 1884; and, although it is no doubt true that many outbreaks are unreported, there is absolutely nothing to justify the impression which seems to be gaining ground that the owners of pigs are face to face with a crisis of a very serious character.


If the Government are unwilling to bring in a measure on this question, will they give facilities for the Bill already before the House?


My hon. Friend must by no means understand that the Government are unwilling to bring in a Bill.