HC Deb 28 October 1912 vol 43 cc7-12

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will state what is the cost per head of keeping store cattle for fourteen days' quarantine at the port of landing; and whether the whole of such cost is defrayed by the owner of the cattle?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Runciman)

The cost to some extent depends upon the circumstances of each particular case, the size, age, and condition of the animal, and so forth. But, except where artificial feeding stuffs are required, the total expense for wharf and lairage dues, bedding, and feeding, varies from 22s. 3d. to 2Rs. 6d. per head. The answer to the second part of the question is in the affirmative.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he could not see his way to permit quarantine to take, place in Ireland instead of after landing in England?


That does not arise out of the answer.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say on whom the cost of this falls?


In answering the second part of the question on the Paper I said the answer was in the affirmative.


The right hon. Gentleman does not say anything as to the loss during quarantine, or whether coupled with the unsaleability of the animals, it does not practically mean the total destruction of the Irish store cattle trade.


I cannot admit there is loss during quarantine, for the information I have received is that, so far from there being deterioration in quarantine, many of the animals are better after they come out than when they go in.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that it is impossible at present for any Irish farmer to sell his cattle?


You should vote against the Government.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that the compensation paid to farmers for the enforced slaughter of cattle through foot-and-mouth disease does not meet the loss through depletion of stock; and whether he will consider the question of granting loans on easy terms to such farmers, and also to those whose crops are destroyed by floods or continuous heavy rains?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, I regret that I can add nothing to the answer which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for the Southport Division on Monday last.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his inspectors at the English ports where stock is imported from Ireland have found any diseases in the stock which are in the schedule of notifiable diseases; and, if so, what they are?


Thirty-four sheep have been found to be affected with sheep-scab. No other cases of notifiable disease have been discovered.

16. Captain MURRAY

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether ha is in a position to make any statement regarding the importation of Irish store cattle into the port of Glasgow?


The demands for accommodation for Irish fat stock at the Glasgow Wharf have been so considerable during the last few days as to render it-impracticable for any space there to be devoted to the reception of store cattle without detriment to the fat-stock trade, and up to the present no offer of accommodation elsewhere has been made by any or the authorities or railway or shipping companies concerned. Inquiries are, however, being made with a view to find suitable premises at which store stock could be landed for detention for the prescribed period. If the fat-stock trade falls off it may be possible to set aside a portion of the Glasgow Wharf for the reception of stores.

Captain MURRAY

May we take it if this accommodation were available, the right hon. Gentleman would allow Irish stores to be imported at Glasgow for distribution throughout Scotland?


Yes, certainly, but I cannot at the present moment override the orders which have been issued by the local authority, and which, of course, affect the case.


asked whether there is any information at the Board of Agriculture about a cure for foot-and-mouth disease used in Argentina which is also efficacious as a preventative of the disease; and whether, although curative treatment of diseased animals as an alternative to slaughter is undesirable in this country, the Board is prepared to consider and advocate the use of preventative medicinal treatment as well as preventative inoculation in the case of animals likely to be exposed to the risk of infection?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. The answer to the second part depends upon whether any method of preventative medicinal treatment or of preventative inoculation is available which would not be attended with the risk of the spread of infection. At present I am not aware that any such method is available.


asked if the Prime Minister will have favourable consideration given to the claim of Edward Sheridan and others for compensation for loss consequent on an Order of the Board of Agriculture under which 111.cows shipped from Dublin to Heysham before the Order was issued were kept some time at Heysham, and then returned to Dublin and detained there until unsaleable, seeing that that first Order was more drastic than was subsequently found to be necessary and that the disease apprehended never appeared among the cows in question?

The PRIME MINISTER (Mr. Asquith)

I can add nothing to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Agriculture to the hon. Member's question on this subject on 7th August last, who explained that there is no power to make compensation in cases of this kind out of public funds.


Is that the practice in this country, when a department inflicts loss on an individual as in this case?


No, Sir. I do not profess to be familiar with the circumstances, but I am told that is the present state of the law.


May I ask the Vice-President of the Irish Board of Agriculture, in view of the large money interests involved, what is the present position of foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland?

110. Mr. C. BATHURST

had a question on the Paper: What is the present position of Ireland as regards foot-and-mouth disease?

Mr. T. W. RUSSELL (Vice-President of the Board of Agriculture, Ireland)

The hon. Member for the Wilton Division of Wiltshire (Mr. C. Bathurst) has a question on the same subject. I do not know whether I may be allowed to answer it now?


Yes, with the permission of Mr. Speaker.


In connection with the disease three separate districts in Ireland are scheduled, comprising:—(1) The county of Kildare and part of counties Wick-low and Carlow. Five outbreaks occurred in this district a few miles apart, three in county Kildare and two in county Wick-low. There has been no disease in county Carlow. The last case in Kildare occurred on 16th September; the last in county Wicklow on? st October. But for its proximity to Wicklow, Kildare would now be free, the last case in that county being on 16th September. I may add that I have to-day arranged with my right hon. Friend that the restrictions in county Kildare shall be materially relaxed. (2) Portions of counties Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim. Five outbreaks occurred in this district all near each other, the latest on 5th October. There has been no disease in Cavan or Leitrim. (3) The greater part of county Westmeath and small adjoining portions of Longford, King's County and Meath, with a radius, roughly speaking, of fifteen miles from Mullingar, in or about which town the disease has appeared on thirty-three different premises since 18th October. In connection with these Mullingar outbreaks 503 animals, namely, 279 cattle, 205 sheep, twelve swine, and seven goats, have been slaughtered; number yet to be slaughtered, 129. There has been no disease in Long ford or King's County. A portion of Meath is scheduled owing to its proximity to Mullingar. Seven counties have in all been infected. Four of these are now actually freed from restrictions. In three the disease has been mature for forty-two, twenty-eight, and twenty-three days. At Mullingar, county Westmeath, the disease is confined to the town and immediate neighbourhood.


Is it the case that tip to the present moment not a single case of disease has been reported from the entire province of Munster, nor in the case of any one of the cattle exported from Munster?


Not a single case of disease has1 appeared in the province of Munster, nor in the case of Connaught. In the 400,000 cases where fat cattle have been exported, and have been slaughtered on arrival, a post mortem examination has been held, and there has not been a single trace of disease found.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman the President of the English Board of Agriculture, in view of the terrible losses that Cork traders are suffering by reason of the recent Order at Cardiff, whether he can see any way whatever to save these men the hundreds of pounds loss they will be at if this quarantine Order is maintained?


I am afraid I cannot yet modify the period of quarantine which I announced last week. But it may be for the convenience of some of the Cork traders if I point out that although two counties adjoining Cardiff have, I believe, issued an Order prohibiting importation into their areas, they have no power to prevent through railway traffic from Cardiff to the counties which will receive these animals.


Would the right hon. Gentleman allow thirty-two milch cows, worth each about £22, belonging to one man, to go through, and thus save that man 600 sovereigns?


Oh, yes, certainly; at the end of the period of quarantine the Board will certainly see that through traffic is not interrupted by the county authority. I have announced that already.


May I ask the Vice-President, arising out of his answer, whether the people in South Kildare may take it that the fair of Athy, due in the early part of next month, will be held in the usual course for the sale of cattle, sheep, and pigs?


I would rather not give an undertaking at the present, but Kildare area will be materially restricted tonight.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether all the animals in the enclosed town park at Mullingar have been slaughtered since the outbreak took place?


My impression is that the number left cannot be very large. Over 500 have been slaughtered and 179 are to be slaughtered to-day or tomorrow. I do not think there can be many left. The important thing to be remembered with regard to Mullingar is that the disease has not got outside and is entirely confined to the town area.


May I ask the Vice-President whether, in view of the fact that Connaught is free from cattle disease, he can see his way to declaring the Port of Sligo open for the exportation of store cattle to such ports in England and to Scotland as will receive them.


Will the right hon. Gentleman make any announcement as to the opening of Holyhead for the shipment of cattle from Greenore?


Both these questions were on the Paper to-day and as the hon. Members did not put them, I handed them in for circulation with the Votes. The arrangements at Holyhead are under the control of the London and North-Western Railway Company, and we hope for accommodation there very shortly. Sligo is one of the ports from which cattle can go at the present time. I have made arrangements to-day and the hon. Gentleman will receive full particulars.


May I ask the Vice-President now as there has been no case of disease since early in October, whether he will revise the areas so that Ennis-killen and Lisnaskea will be open?


I will consider how far it is possible to change the area, but I cannot take away the restrictions altogether.