HC Deb 26 March 1907 vol 171 cc1658-9
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he is aware that, for the week ending 9th March last, there were twenty-eight outbreaks of anthrax and thirty-six animals attacked by the disease in seventeen different counties in England, Wales, and Scotland; whether in consequence of the spread of anthrax throughout the country, which is not only financially disastrous, but dangerous to human beings who have to deal with it, the Board of Agriculture will institute an inquiry as to the origin of the disease and as to what steps should be taken to stamp it out; and whether consideration will be given to the question of the desirability of paying compensation to those who have suffered heavy losses through the disease.


The Answer to the first part of my hon. friend's Question is in the affirmative, but I am happy to say that the disease is not increasing throughout the country, the number of cases this year being slightly less than in the corresponding periods of 1905 and 1906. Investigations are proceeding both as regards the nature of the disease and the means by which it is spread, and any amendments in the existing Orders on the subject which may appear to be necessary will at once be made. The Board are only empowered to pay compensation where animals are compulsory slaughtered. In the case of anthrax it is, as a general rule, inadvisable to resort to slaughter owing to the extreme danger of spreading the disease if any of the blood is spilt.