HC Deb 10 May 1894 vol 24 cc773-5
MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture, in reference to a letter from the Colonial Office to the Board of Agriculture, dated 26th April, 1894, in which Lord Ripon states— That he has great difficulty in accepting the view that it is merely a type of contagious pleuro-pneumonia, and that it is not a disease due to the hardships and' exposure of the journey to this country. That he regrets, therefore, that the Board have not felt themselves in a position to acdept the recommendation in the letter from this Department of the 15th ultimo, that the restrictions should be removed on the opening of the trade for the approaching season.…That, as he understands that the importation of store cattle does not usually begin till July or August, he hopes that the period of special examination which the Board propose to fix will not be extended beyond the middle of June, so as to allow time for making arrangements for that trade after the expiry of the period if no further suspicious cases should be found; and whether a reply has been sent by his instructions to that letter, what is the date and the nature of that reply, and whether he will lay it upon the Table? At the same time I will ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the facts disclosed in the correspondence between the Board of Agriculture and the Colonial Office recently laid upon the Table, that a case of undoubted pleuropneumonia was found in an animal landed at Deptford in this country from Canada on the 22nd of October last, not seven months ago, and that the Board, in their letter of the 15th of August, 1893, have pointed out that that disease may remain undetected for a period of 15 months, he will reconsider his determination to exempt Canadian animals from slaughter at the ports, provided that no case of disease is disclosed by the special examination which is to commence on the 18th of this month, but which is not to be protracted?


No reply has as yet been sent to the letter to which the right hon. Gentleman refers, and I do not know that any "will be necessary. If I find that a reply is expected and would be desirable, I will certainly include it in any further Papers to be laid before the House. Nothing has occurred during the past three weeks which leads me to modify the statement I made to the House on this subject on the 23rd ultimo, and with reference to the period of incubation, I may refer the right hon. Gentleman to the reply I recently made to the hon. Member for North Down, when I stated that some of the witnesses examined by the Committee of 1888 are said to have asserted that they had known cases of the development of the disease after no less a period than 15 months, but that no properly authenticated case of the kind was known to the veterinary officers of my Department. The evidence of those officers before the Committee points to a very much shorter period as necessary for safety.


Arising out of the question, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman what period of freedom from any case of imported disease is, in the opinion of the Department, necessary before Canadian cattle can be landed without being at once slaughtered and without exposing the cattle in this country to the risk of disease?


I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to put that question on the Paper.

MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick's)

Has there been any conflict of opinion among the Veterinary Authorities on the subject dealt with in his answer?


No, Sir; they are unanimous in the opinion.


Has not a case of anthrax recently occurred in South Essex?


I do not see how that arises out of the question on the Paper.