HC Deb 03 December 1906 vol 166 cc553-4

To ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland if he will make arrangements with the Department of Agri- culture, with a view to the more effective application of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Acts, whereby their veterinary inspectors, stationed in the country, will receive notice of any reported cases of disease within their districts direct from the police, and whereby, in reported cases of swine fever where their inspector is satisfied that the disease exists, the Department will authorise them to proceed forthwith with the slaughter of the animals affected, and thus obviate the delays consequent upon the present system.

(Answered by Mr. Bryce.) The veterinary inspectors of the Department of Agriculture are in charge of large districts, and are frequently absent from home on duty. If notifications of disease were sent direct to their private addresses by the police there might be considerable delay in such communications reaching them. Under the existing system, notifications of disease are sent by the Department, with the necessary instructions, to the inspectors wherever they may happen to be, and this system has been found, after many years' experience, to be the most advantageous from the standpoint of the effective working of the Diseases of Animals Acts generally. As regards the slaughter of swine for swine fever, that is quite a discretionary matter under the Acts, and it has been considered better that the Department should reserve to itself the power, in the individual cases, of directing whether slaughter shall be carried out rather than to issue a general authorisation on the subject to the district veterinary inspectors.