§ 10. Mr. KING
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether he has received from the Diseases of Animals Executive Committee for Somerset a request for an independent inquiry into the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at Butleigh; and if he can make any statement on the subject?
§ Mr. ACLAND
Yes, Sir. The request put forward has been most carefully considered by the President of the Board, and he has decided that it would not be in the interests of the efficient administration of 1290 the Diseases of Animals Acts that the incident should be made the subject of an independent inquiry. Supreme authority in all matters relating to the suppression of contagious diseases in animals has been vested by Parliament in the hands of the Board, and the President is not prepared to delegate to any other body his responsibility in the matter. In this particular case he has satisfied himself that there was no carelessness or dereliction of duty on the part of the veterinary inspectors concerned, and that the charge against them of having failed to diagnose the existence of foot-and-mouth disease at Butleigh at the time of their earlier inspections and during the interval in which the suspected animal was kept under observation has not been established. In his opinion the veterinary inspectors did not make a mistake in diagnosis; but, were it otherwise, he would still decide against holding an independent inquiry.
§ Mr. ACLAND
The matter was only decided last week, and we are informing all the parties interested.