HC Deb 17 April 1896 vol 39 cc1172-3
MR. R. J. PRICE (Norfolk, E.)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he has any information that the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, on the 11th instant, declared portions of Essex and the adjacent counties of Suffolk, Cambridge, Hertford, Middlesex, and Kent to be infected with a maligant form of pneumonia; and, whether, considering the fact that such a condition of things will probably lead to a still greater restriction of the supply of store cattle, the Government will again consider the question not only of postponing the Diseases of Animals Bill, but of allowing the importation of Canadian store cattle under whatever regulations the Board of Agriculture may think proper?


I have seen Reuter's telegram as to the declaration of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, but I have no other information respecting the matter. The declaration is presumably based upon the fact that two outbreaks of pleuro-pneumonia, one at Canewdon in Essex, and another at Mile End, have recently occurred, but there is no ground for the suggestion that these outbreaks will have any effect whatever upon the supply of store cattle, and I cannot consent to adopt the course proposed by the hon. Member.

In answer to Dr. FARQUHARSON,


said, that the outbreaks in Essex had been traced to animals bought in the London market. He presumed they were home-bred animals. [Opposition cheers].


I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he is aware that an outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia has occurred at Sixteen Acre Marsh, Barking, Essex, some week since, and that another outbreak has since taken place in a White-chapel dairy yard: and, whether the Government will, with due precautions, institute scientific experiments as to the system of inoculation practised in the Colonies as a preventive of pleuro-pneumonia?


I regret to say that two outbreaks of pleuro-pneumonia have recently occurred, one near Rochford in Essex, and another at Mile End. In the latter case, which is that to which the hon. Member specially refers, the diseased animal had been purchased at the Islington Market and sent to a marsh at Barking and from thence to the slaughter-house at Mile End, where it was discovered. My veterinary advisers are well acquainted with the system of inoculation as practised in the colonies, and I do not think that any further inquiries respecting it are necessary.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether his scientific advisers have endeavoured to trace the source of infection, and whether he will communicate the result of their inquiries to the House?


Certainly, we have instituted the most careful inquiries in connection with the outbreak, and have endeavoured to trace the source of the infection. I shall be perfectly prepared to give the information asked for when the inquiries are completed.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in view of the serious outbreak of pleuro-pneumonia in Essex, he will accelerate the Diseases of Animals Bill so as to minimise the risk of further infection?


Certainly, I will do my best to accelerate the passage of that Bill, because agriculturists in this country will resent the severe, restrictions placed on them unless they are permanently protected from risk from outside.

SIR J. KINLOCH (Perthshire, E.)

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he intends to have all animals suspected of having come within the infection slaughtered?


All the animals which could be discovered as having been in contact, so far, had been slaughtered.

MR. A. J. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)

Is there any ground for the suggestion that in this case contagion came from outside?


If the right hon. Gentleman had informed himself of the facts he would have known that that could not be so.