§ 39. Mr. FALCONER
asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the dissatisfaction expressed with regard to the delay in inspecting and dealing with the case of foot-and-mouth disease which has occurred at Redford, in Forfarshire; and whether, in view of the magnitude of the interests at stake and the importance of having cases of cattle disease attended to with the utmost despatch, he will make arrangements which will ensure immediate inspection and action by qualified persons resident in the county in the event of any other ease arising?
Owing to the reduced service telegraphic instructions sent from the Ministry on Sunday, 6th January, did not reach the Ministry's veterinary inspector until the morning of the 7th instant. All the cattle concerned were slaughtered that day and the pigs on the following day. With regard to the second part, I may explain that it would have been following a common practice if the local authority had communicated with the Ministry's inspector direct, arid had this been done, the slight delay which did occur would have been obviated.
§ Mr. FALCONER
Does the Minister of Agriculture realise that if a fully qualified county inspector had been appointed, he would have been able, in a few hours, to deal with this question of foot-and-mouth disease, thus saving the whole of the flocks and herds being exposed to risk for two days before action was actually taken?
I cannot answer with regard to the particular days, but I should have thought that this supplementary question was replied to by the second part of the answer which I have given.
§ Mr. FALCONER
Is it not a fact that intimation was made in the usual form on the morning of Saturday in the week on which the disease broke out, and this information was communicated to the Ministry by the chief constable imme- 259 diately on its receipt; and is it not a fact that when these matters were considered by the local authority the Chairman expressed himself very strongly with regard to the carelessness of the Ministry?
I have no knowledge of the actual moment at which the information reached the Ministry. All that I am in a position to state is that they sent their instructions off on Sunday, and there was apparently a delay of twenty-four hours in the instructions reaching their destination.