HC Deb 25 May 1905 vol 146 cc1384-5
MR. WORSLEY-TAYLOR (Lancashire, Blackpool)

To ask the President of the Board of Agriculture, with reference to the compulsory sheep-dipping area in Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, created by virtue of Orders of the Board dated January 27th and April 15th, 1905, whether his attention has been called to representations from many parts of the said area that the provisions of the said Order will cause serious difficulty in respect of the dates fixed thereby for compulsory dipping, and in respect of the movement and sale of fat sheep and lambs, the season for which has just begun; what are the facts as to sheep scab which have made it necessary to create the said area; and if he will consider whether, consistently with maintaining due and reasonable precautions against the spread of sheep scab, the said Orders can be modified so as to avoid or lessen the difficulties aforesaid.

(Answered by Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.) I have received representations from the district referred to, to the effect that it would be more convenient to many of the flockmasters therein that the general dipping prescribed by the Orders should be postponed until the month of August and I am in communication with the local authorities concerned on the subject. If there is a general agreement that the later period would be more suitable for carrying out the operation of compulsory dipping in this area, I shall be glad to give effect to the wishes of those concerned. The application to the district referred to of the provisions of the Sheep Scab (Compulsory Dipping Areas) Order of 1905 was rendered necessary by the fact that disease had been detected within the area scheduled, and amongst sheep grazing over large tracts of common pasturage in the Clapham and Heasden districts. From inquiries made by inspectors of the Board it was further ascertained that the origin of several outbreaks of sheep scab which occurred in the districts surrounding this area was attributable to sheep moved from the area scheduled. It became necessary therefore, in the general interest, to take steps to eradicate the disease from this locality. As my hon. friend is aware, I am most anxious to avoid placing unnecessary restrictions upon the movement of sheep intended for immediate slaughter, but owing to the fact that sheep sold for slaughter are not necessarily at once removed from further contact with other sheep, it is impossible to exempt entirely such sheep from the requirements of dipping. If it is found to be practicable to devise some special provisions applicable to the case of young lambs which are being specially prepared for the butcher, I shall be glad to modify the Order accordingly. I may perhaps add that, in regard to all the areas scheduled under the general Order, I propose to suspend Part II. of the Sheep Scab (Compulsory Dipping Areas) Order of 1905, which deals with the movement of sheep out of such areas, until the spring of next year, so soon as I am satisfied that the prescribed dipping has been thoroughly and efficiently carried out.