§ MR. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether any and what means have been employed by Her Majesty's 1144 Government to induce the Argentine Government to make regulations to ensure the better treatment of cattle and sheep shipped from Argentina to Great Britain; and whether, in view of the fact that the loss of cattle shipped to this country from the River Plate during 1897 amounted to 80 per 1,000, and of sheep to 36 per 1,000, whilst the loss on shipments of cattle and sheep from Canada was only about 8 per 1,000, he will insist on more efficient inspection and more stringent regulations as to fittings and ventilation of ships, and to the abolition of covered or between deck cargoes of animals, with the object of lessening the sufferings of these beasts on the voyage from the Argentine provinces, which, owing to heat and length of voyage, must always be fairly large?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE
We have for some time past been in semi-official communication with the representatives of the Argentine Government on this subject, and I believe that they fully realise that it would be to the interest of all concerned that the trade should be placed on a more satisfactory footing. It should, however, be remembered that the character of the cattle carried and the nature of the voyage differ very materially in the case of Canada and the Argentine, and too much weight must, therefore, not be attached to the comparison drawn in, the Question. I am in full sympathy with the object which the honourable Member has in view, and we shall spare no pains to bring about a diminution of the losses referred to. But I do not think that the solution of the matter lies in any of the directions which he is good enough to indicate.