HC Deb 18 May 1914 vol 62 cc1561-4
8. Mr. FIELD

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is aware that a number of persons interested in the animal industry of Great Britain have protested against the embargo imposed by local authorities against Irish live stock; and whether he can state the most recent arrangements regulating movement and quarantine, with the object of facilitating free trade in the United Kingdom?


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether that part of Ireland lying east of the Barrow is as free from foot-and-mouth disease as the counties north of the Boyne; and, if so, will he allow the same privileges to the people of both districts in the shipment of live stock to British markets?


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether he is now in a position to announce any modification of the present restrictions on the importation of fat and store cattle from Ireland?


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will state whether he received a copy of a resolution from the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce; and whether he will take steps to relax the restrictions on the shipment of store cattle from the North of Ireland to the extent of reducing the four days' detention period in the lairages to ten hours as heretofore as, unless this is done, injury will be wrought to the interests of the trade both in Ireland and in Great Britain?


I am aware that objection has been raised to the action of the local authorities, and in view of the fact that there has been no extension of the area affected with foot-and-mouth disease in Ireland, I hope that they will now see their way to withdraw their regulations. With regard to the second part of the question, the Board have decided, after consultation with the Irish Department, to issue a new Order to-morrow, allowing animals from any port in the northern part of Ireland to be landed on and after Friday next at Ayr, Barrow-in-Furness, Fleetwood, Glasgow, Greenock, Heysham, Stranraer, and the Wallasey lairage at Birkenhead, subject to ten hours' detention at the landing-place, after which they will be released without further restriction; animals shipped from ports in the south-eastern part of Ireland, namely Dublin, Rosslare, Waterford, and Wexford, will also be admitted to the Woodside lairage at Birkenhead, Bristol (Avonmouth), Cardiff, Deptford, and Manchester for slaughter at the landing-place within ninety-six hours, and to Bristol (Cumberland Basin), Fishguard, Holyhead, and Silloth, subject to four days' quarantine at the port, after which they may be moved by licence to specified premises where they will be kept under observation for a further period of fourteen days unless slaughtered in the meantime.


Will the right hon. Gentleman use his influence with the local authorities to have the movement of live stock facilitated, so that the trade can be carried on?


It is only the Scottish counties that have in force the restrictions to which the hon. Member refers. I am keeping them informed of the position in Ireland as we ascertain it day by day.


May I ask whether this ten hours' detention applies to lambs? Can the right hon. Gentleman see his way to allow lambs to proceed to their destination, to be slaughtered immediately on arrival from Ireland, without that detention at Holyhead or any other port?


I think the hon. Member will recognise that the ten hours' detention is the same period as in the Regulations under which landing was conducted last year and this year when the outbreak occurred. It is that ten hours that will apply to all animals alike.


Will not the admission of this cattle into England make foreign countries less likely to open their ports for our pedigree cattle? As the right hon. Gentleman is aware, we are very anxious to have those ports open as soon as possible?


The only relaxation of Regulations material to that point is in regard to the northern ports of Ireland, where, as far as anyone can ascertain, there have been no cases whatever of foot-and-mouth disease during the present year. The relaxation with regard to the south-east corner of Ireland is under very severe restrictions, and such foreign countries as wish to know about it are being fully informed. It is a matter of opinion, but I am told that it will not have any effect whatever on the export trade.


Has the right hon. Gentleman made any protest to the local authorities in Scotland who continue their embargo against Irish cattle; and is not the action of these authorities a reflection on the officers of the right hon. Gentleman's own Department?


It would be quite improper for me to protest against the action of the county authorities. They are charged with the duty of protecting their areas from disease, and all I can do is to make representations to them as to the position in England and Ireland, so that they may not take action on wrong grounds.


asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether, in the case of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, he will consider the advisability of adopting the English method of dealing with the disease, namely, to draw a cordon at a radius of, say, fifteen miles around the place where the disease exists and allow the trade in livestock to pursue its normal course in unrestricted areas?

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

Whenever the circumstances appear to warrant such a course, the Department are desirous of limiting its action in the manner suggested in this question. In dealing, however, with an oubreak of serious dimensions, it is only prudent, having regard to the extent to which interchange of stock normally occurs between different parts of Ireland, that the more ordinary safeguards should be reinforced by further precautions designed to protect the unaffected areas of the country.


May I ask why it is necessary to adopt much more stringent precautionary measures in Ireland than in similar circumstances in Great Britain?


The reason ought to be obvious. Ireland is a great agricultural country, and the precautionary measures necessary to be taken in England are very different to those necessary in Ireland in these circumstances.

36. Mr. P. WHITE

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture whether he will change the line which runs across Ireland from Oranmore to Mornington, county Meath, so that it will run via Kilmessan to Skerries, county Dublin, to enable people living in the neigh bourhood of Drogheda to ship their cattle at that port?


I regret that at the present moment it is not practicable to alter the boundary line as suggested.


Can the right hon. Gentleman state when he is likely to alter it?


If things continue to go on as I am glad to say they are—with the exception of a very small area in one portion of the county Cork, there is no foot-and-mouth disease, and this line is kept up at the present time merely as a matter of precaution—I hope very soon to be able to remove it.

37. Mr. P. WHITE

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture whether it is by a prohibition of his Department that the Great Northern Railway Company will not accept bookings of cattle from the stations of Duleek or Beauparc, county Meath, for either the ports or markets of Dublin or the port of Drogheda; and, if so, will he state the reason for the order?


The stations of Duleek and Beauparc are on the northern side of the boundary line, but cattle from the district south of the line cannot be booked at these stations, which are only available for stock from the northern area.


rose to ask Question No 38.


The hon. Member has now exhausted his right.