§ MR. WARNER (Stafford, Lichfield)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the widespread continuance of swine fever, it is the intention of the Board of Agriculture to continue the present regulations; and if he will consider the desirability of again conferring with local authorities as to the best means of dealing with the subject?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. W. H. LONG,) Liverpool, W. Derby
The results of our operations against swine fever have not been recently so satisfactory as we could wish, but nevertheless the number of outbreaks in 1898 was less than half the number confirmed in either of the years 1894, 1895 and 1896, and I am certainly not prepared to abandon the precautions taken to keep the disease in check. I shall be very glad to consider any representations which may be made to me by individual local authorities, but experience has shown that their views and interests differ very widely, and I doubt whether any advantage would be gained by the convocation of another conference as has been suggested.
§ MAJOR RASCH (Essex, S.E.)
Is the right honourable Gentleman aware that if he would rescind the regulation regarding compensation it would probably get rid of the disease altogether?
§ MR. STRACHEY (Somerset, S.)
Will the right honourable Gentleman reconsider his decision not to allow swine, fit for slaughter, to be removed, as was done by one of his predecessors in office?
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE
I am afraid it is not possible to reconsider the arrangements. In issuing the new regulations to which the honourable Member for Lichfield refers, our object was to reduce as far as possible inconvenience to pig owners. Reverting to a sort of middle course such as has been suggested is impossible.