§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether the Department is aware that anthrax exists and is increasing at Grays in South-East Essex; that animals are pastured in fields where others, slaughtered owing to anthrax, are buried; and that one was dressed for food and taken along the high road; and what steps will be taken to stop the spread of the disease?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. H. GARDNER,) Essex, Saffron Walden
It is the case, I regret to say, that several outbreaks of anthrax have recently occurred at Grays, and on communication with the Local Authority, I learn that the carcase of one animal subsequently declared to have been affected was taken to a slaughterhouse and partly dressed before the Inspector of the Local Authority was made aware of the facts. It will be for the Local Authority to consider whether there is reason to believe that any offence under the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts has been committed. I understand that a few animals are pastured in fields where diseased carcases have been buried, but the responsibility for this rests with the owner of the animals, and I doubt whether the Local Authority could with advantage be empowered to intervene. The steps to be taken to prevent the spread of anthrax are set out in the Anthrax Order of 1892. The execution of this Order rests with the Local Authority, with whom, however, I will communicate further with reference to the particular cases to which the hon. Member directs attention.
§ MAJOR RASCH
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of putting anthrax under the same Regulations as pleuro-pneumonia?
§ MR. H. GARDNER
Yes. I have considered that question very often during last year; but, as I am at present advised, there would be no benefit gained by the compulsory slaughter of animals suffering from anthrax.