§ MR. CHANNING
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether the Board obtains from time to time information as to the prevalence of cattle diseases in other countries; whether the Board has any information as to the alleged recent prevalence of foot and mouth disease in Normandy; and whether information and warnings as to the prevalence of disease in other countries cannot be issued promptly in this country.
§ * THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE (Mr. LONG,) Liverpool, West Derby
Yes, Sir, we obtain from time to time all the information we can with regard to the prevalence of disease in cattle in foreign countries; and with regard to Normandy, we know that foot and mouth disease has rarely been absent in recent years from the northern departments of France. I scarcely think that any advantage would be gained by the adoption of the suggestion, the fact that the importation of animals from any particular country is entirely prohibited being of itself a clear indication that the country is a dangerous one so far as the possibility of the introduction of the disease is concerned.
§ COLONEL GUNTER (Yorkshire, W.R., Barkston Ash)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture if he is 928 able to give any reason for the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in this country; and if it can be in any way attributable to the importation of foreign hay, straw, or other forage.
§ MR. CHANNING
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Norfolk will be made; and whether steps will be taken to secure the prosecution of the persons who concealed the outbreak.
§ * MR. LONG
We have been already making and we shall continue to make every possible effort to trace the origin of the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Norfolk, and if it should appear that any failure to comply with the requirements of the law as to the notification of disease has occurred action would be taken against the persons responsible.
§ SIR SAMUEL HOARE (Norwich)
I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he can give any information as to the probable length of time during which it may be necessary to enforce the present restrictions on the movement of cattle in Norfolk; and whether he will consider some revision of the regulations with the view of lessening, so far as can be done with safety, the great inconvenience and loss which the farmers and the cattle dealers in Norfolk are experiencing owing to the present unfortunate outbreak of cattle disease.
§ * MR. LONG
The continuance of restrictions on the movement of cattle in Norfolk must necessarily depend upon the course which the disease may take, and I cannot therefore make any definite announcement on the subject. But I quite realise that the existing orders can only be kept in force for a comparatively short period, and with a view to meet some of the more pressing difficulties to which they give rise we passed an order 929 yesterday, which is to come into operation on Friday, giving facilities for the movement of animals from one part of a farm to another, and from places outside the infected district into the boroughs of Norwich, Lowestoft, and Yarmouth. I may add that I fully realise the loss and inconvenience to which the hon. Baronet refers, but I have thought it my duty to make every effort to prevent the disease, if possible, from becoming epidemic throughout the country.