HC Deb 21 January 1924 vol 169 cc493-5

asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister of Agriculture, whether, in paying compensation in respect of cows slaughtered in districts infected with foot-and-mouth disease, consideration will be given to the heavy losses sustained by dairy farmers due to loss of business turnover?

Colonel GIBBS

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply to a similar question by the hon. Member for Whitehaven (Mr. Gavan Duffy) on the 17th instant.

30. Mr. DODDS

asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister of Agriculture, whether he will take steps to create facilities, either by means of credit banks, loans at low interest, or otherwise, to help farmers to purchase livestock to replace stock lost on account of foot-and-mouth disease?

Colonel GIBBS

In view of the fact that the full value of any stock slaughtered on account of foot-and-mouth disease is paid to the owners out of public funds, there is no necessity to create any special credit or loan facilities.


Will the hon. and gallant Member represent to the Minister of Agriculture that there are many farms which cannot be dealt with on the basis of the present compensation?


Does that answer refer to dairy herds?


asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister of Agriculture, whether he is aware that foot-and-mouth disease first appeared in Aberdeenshire in a pure-bred herd- on the farm of Towie Barclay, and that the policy of slaughter has not yet been adopted in respect to this herd, in spite of the repeated demands of the county council that that policy should be adopted; and if he will now instruct the Ministry of Agriculture to have the affected animals destroyed at once?

Colonel GIBBS

It has always been the policy of the Ministry, in cases of pedigree herds of high value which become affected with foot-and-mouth disease, to have the animals isolated and treated if suitable accommodation exists on the premises for the purpose. All the cattle in question have now fully recovered. The answer to the second part is therefore in the negative.

32. Mr. MARTIN

asked the President of the Board of Education, as representing the Minister of Agriculture, whether he is aware of the great loss and damage being sustained by owners of fat cattle in Aberdeenshire through the restrictions at present imposed on the movements of live stock in consequence of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the country; whether he is aware that there is a great dearth of slaughterhouses in the districts which comprise the controlled areas, with the result that stock owners are unable to dispose of their fat stock for slaughter; whether, in these circumstances, he will consider the advisability of modifying the restrictions so as to enable animals to be removed, under licence, to premises outside the controlled area for immediate slaughter; if he will consider whether the present area of control, namely, 15 miles, is excessively wide; and whether he is aware that a more efficient method of combating the disease, with the minimum amount of interference with the trade from unaffected farms, might be secured by the adoption of smaller areas of control and more strict regulations as to the movements of persons resident within those restricted areas?

Colonel GIBBS

With regard to the first two parts I am aware that considerable inconvenience and loss frequently fall on stock owners in consequence of the restrictions which the Ministry imposes on the occurrence of foot-and-mouth disease.

Experience has convinced the Ministry that it is not safe to modify the restrictions in the way suggested in the third part, because disease is so liable to be spread by offals coming from slaughter houses. The movement of persons and things from infected premises is subject to strict regulation, but the Ministry is advised that it has no power to impose restrictions on the movements of persons in other parts of controlled areas. The Ministry endeavours to reduce the controlled area in each case as soon as circumstances render it safe to do so, but in the first instance the Ministry considers it necessary to control an area of 15 miles' radius around an infected farm.


In view of the many complaints that have arisen in connection with the administration of this Act recently, will my hon. and gallant Friend consider the advisability of transferring the administration of this question in Scotland to the appropriate Scottish authority?

Colonel GIBBS

I will certainly inform my right hon. Friend of that suggestion.