§ DR. COOPER
I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture whether the attention of the President of the Board of Agriculture has been directed to the shortage in the supply of cattle and sheep in the metropolitan markets and the consequent increase in the price of fresh-killed beef and mutton; and whether he will consider the advisability of removing the existing prohibition against the importation of cattle and sheep for immediate slaughter from Holland and Denmark, both of which have been officially declared to be free from foot-and-mouth disease.
§ Sir EDWARD STRACHEY (Somersetshire, S.)
My hon. friend is unfortunately not correctly informed as to the freedom of Holland from foot and mouth disease, for two cases of that disease are reported to us officially as having occurred at Helden on the 1st inst. My hon. friend, will, I think, see that this fact affords another illustration of the danger 1728 of assuming that because any particular country is free from disease at any particular moment no danger attaches to the importation of animals therefrom into this country. Our information is not very precise as to the extent of any shortage of supply and advance of prices, but any failure on the part of the Board adequately to discharge their statutory duty under the Diseases of Animals Acts would, we are satisfied, speedily have the contrary effect to that which my hon. friend desires.
§ Dr. COOPER
In view of the heavy rise in price of both beef and mutton, will my hon. friend consent to admit cattle and sheep from countries officially declared free from disease?
§ Dr. COOPER
Is this a Free Trade Government on general policy, but strongly Protectionist in regard to agricultural matters?