HC Deb 26 February 1908 vol 184 cc1752-4
MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, whether he can give any further particulars as to the second outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at Edinburgh; whether any source of infection can be traced between the two infected places; and whether there is any suspicion that foreign forage had been used by the owner on both farms.


The second outbreak occurred in a cowshed about half-mile distant from the one in which the first outbreak was detected and among cows belonging to the same owner as in the previous case. The probability is that the disease was conveyed by mediate contagion between the two infected places. There is no evidence as yet which suggests that foreign forage has been used on the second set of premises. It was used on the premises where the first outbreak occurred and there is no reasonable room for doubt that it was the medium by which infection was introduced.

MR. CHAPLIN (Surrey, Wimbledon)

I beg to ask to what country or countries the Order prohibiting the importation of foreign hay and straw will apply. What, is the evidence and information now before the Board which has satisfied the Department that the disease was imported with foreign hay or straw, and from what country or countries was the fodder imported.


said it was proposed, subject to revision, to prohibit hay and straw from being landed in this country from all Europe except Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and from certain South American States. The hay in the present case was imported from the Netherlands, where foot-and-mouth disease has been very prevalent during the last autumn and the present winter. The hay was first used for bedding these cows three days before the first symptoms occurred, and within two days afterwards 81 out of 110 cows were found to be affected.


Is it not a fact that the Board of Agriculture was warned a considerable time ago of the danger of the importation of foot-and-mouth disease from the Netherlands by the Central Chamber of Agriculture and urged to prohibit the importation of fodder from that country?


That may have been so, but I would remind the right hon. Gentleman that only on one occasion in the whole history of these diseases in this country, and never because of previous outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, but only during the cattle plague, which is more serious than foot-and-mouth disease, was hay prohibited from coming from any country and then only for a few months. On this occasion the Government have acted very promptly and much more stringently than any previous Government under like conditions by deciding to prohibit hay and straw from being landed in this country for agricultural purposes from countries where foot-and-mouth disease exists.


Am I right, then, in supposing that foot-and-mouth disease has been imported by these means because His Majesty's Government did not take the steps that were urged upon them by the Chamber of Agriculture?


The right hon. Gentleman must understand nothing of the kind.

In reply to a further question—


said the Order would come into force when it had been fully considered; it was in draft.


Will the prohibition apply to every country in which there has been foot-and-mouth disease for the last six months?


Practically that will be so.

MR. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)

Will a similar Order be issued for Ireland.

MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)

Yes, Sir.