HC Deb 29 May 1913 vol 53 c327

asked whether, in view of the anxiety and apprehension caused among agriculturists both at home and abroad by reports of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain on the eve of the re-opening of the Argentine and other oversea ports to British live stock, he will take steps to prevent the public notification through the Press of suspected outbreaks of the disease until the latter has been confirmed by the veterinary inspectors of the Board?


I am aware that there have recently been several reports of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in Great Britain, all of which have happily proved on investigation to be false alarms. Some apprehension is no doubt caused by such reports, and they are frequently cabled abroad without the official contradictions which the Board publish as soon as they are satisfied that the cases are not foot-and-mouth disease. The impression given in foreign countries is that Great Britain is not free from the disease, whereas the truth is that it was completely eradicated six months ago, and has not since broken out. If the Press will be good enough either to avoid giving publicity to unconfirmed rumours or to give the fullest publicity to the Board's contradictions, they will perform a great service to British agriculturists.