HC Deb 25 May 1903 vol 122 cc1639-40

I beg to ask the hon. Member for North Huntingdonshire, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he will say whether the origin of the alleged cases of contagious disease, said to have occurred amongst cattle in Argentina, has been discovered; what the nature of the disease is supposed to have been; whether it is now considered to be at an end, or what stoppage of live cattle exports from the River Plate will be entailed, and what is the extent of the district of Argentina supposed to be affected; and what is the number of cattle actually ascertained to be affected and destroyed.

MR. AILWYN FELLOWES (Huntingdonshire, Ramsey)

The Board were informed by the Argentine Government on the 8th inst. that foot-and-mouth disease had been reported to exist amongst imported cattle then undergoing quarantine at Buenos Ayres, and that the exportation of animals from that port had been prohibited. The animals affected appeared to be healthy on their arrival, but the disease broke out among them eleven days afterwards. The outbreak is attributed to green alfalfa from a small holding in the province of Buenos Ayres where a few cases of the disease have since been discovered. These facts point to the probability that foot-and-mouth disease still lingers in a few centres unknown to the Argentine Government. It is not possible to forecast the future course of events in the case of a disease of such extraordinary infectivity as foot-and-mouth disease, but we shall, of course, use every possible means of obtaining full information on the subject.