HL Deb 11 June 1875 vol 224 cc1691-706

, on rising to move for a Select Committee to inquire into the state of the law with regard to the transport of cattle by sea and land, said, he had hesitated at first to bring this question before their Lordships in the form in which he now submitted it, believing as he did that it would be sufficient to call the attention of his noble Friend below him to some cases of recent occurrence with reference to the transport of cattle which might have escaped his notice. But as on the former occasion when he brought the subject under their Lordships' attention, the Lord President seemed to dispute the accuracy of facts, some of which had been admitted by one of the Inspectors of the Privy Council at Deptford, and stated that he was not prepared to take any further steps in the matter or to make any regulations beyond those which at present existed; and, again, on a more recent occasion in their Lordships' House, he said that the Department over which he presided believed itself to be perfectly competent to manage the affairs intrusted to it without any assistance from without; and when he found upon further inquiry and upon the testimony of those who were most qualified to give an opinion that the cases to which he (Earl De La Warr) had referred were by no means isolated, but that there was a general want of the exercise of proper control and management in the transport of cattle, it seemed to him that the interests of the public, the interests of trade and agriculture, and the interests of humanity, after the painful revelations which had been made, required that some further steps should be taken, and that the best means would be to appoint a Select Committee of their Lordships' House. Being desirous of acting in concurrence with, and not in opposition to, his noble Friend, he proposed this course. He regretted to add that his noble Friend had given him to understand that he would strenuously oppose it it remained, therefore, for him to lay before their Lordships as briefly as possible some reasons for asking their Lordships to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the state and operation of the law with regard to the transport of cattle. So far as he was able to learn, there was very little law bearing on the subject. This, perhaps, might partly be accounted for by the fact that the importation of foreign cattle in large numbers was of comparatively recent date. Previous to the year 1842 no foreign cattle were, he believed, imported—Irish cattle were brought to this country as early as 1759. But since 1842 large and increasing quantities had been imported, and in 1873 the number of Irish animals was upwards of 1,500,000 head, and of foreign animals upwards of 1,000,000 head. From time to time a certain amount of evidence had been adduced bearing upon the subject of the transit of animals—some before a Committee of the House of Commons in 1866. In the year 1869, in an Act having chiefly in view the prevention of disease among animals, certain clauses were introduced empowering the Privy Council to make Rules and Regulations with regard to the transport of animals; and in the same year (1869) a Report was made by Dr. Simonds, an officer of the Privy Council, which so well described the evils which then existed, and which so much corresponded with what was now happening, that, with their Lordships' permission, he would read a small portion of it. Dr. Simonds said— Speaking in general terms of the importation of animals, it may be affirmed that they suffer immensely from overcrowding, defective ventilation, and want of water and food. Competition between shipping companies leads to small rates being charged, and to make up for this as many animals as possibly can be crowded into a cattle boat will be by the owners of the vessel. The result of this is, and especially in rough weather, that animals which get down cannot rise, and are often trodden to death or so bruised and injured as to render it necessary that they should be killed either on board or immediately on the vessel coming into port. … The remedy for this evil of over-crowding would be found in the licensing of vessels for carrying only a given number of animals according to their measurement.…Limitation of the number on board would also have a certain amount of beneficial influence on the ventilation of the lower and middle decks.…Suffocation of animals is of common occurrence. And, speaking of the Irish trade, Dr. Simonds added, "a great reform is needed in the whole system." Now, he (Earl De La Warr) could not give an opinion whether or not the Privy-Council had sufficient law in their hands to check existing abuses, but he thought he might say that practically there was proof that they had not, otherwise it could hardly be supposed that the ill-treatment complained of should have so long existed. What Dr. Simonds described in 1869 existed, as he would show their Lordships, in 1873, and what was going on in 1873 was still going on in 1875. Mr. James Odams, whose name he had before mentioned as speaking with great authority in these matters, said in 1873, speaking of Irish cattle— Train-loads of these leave Ballinasloe and other fairs for our south country markets in Essex, Norfolk, and Suffolk. On their arrival at Dublin the cattle are goaded into the hold of a vessel wild with excitement, and for 16 hours are compelled to inhale the most noxious gases. Landed at Holyhead in a heated condition, they have to wait the making up of trains to convey them a further journey of some hundreds of miles, occupying upwards of 24 hours, without hit or drop or interval of rest. This was confirmed by the same gentleman in 1875, who said, in a letter dated the 7th of May last, with reference to what he had just read to their Lord-ships— You ask me if the state of things exists now as described in page 4 of my pamphlet. I have no hesitation in saying they do, and in an extended degree. He (Earl De La Warr) would only mention one additional fact, of which he had been credibly informed—that such was the condition in which Irish cattle frequently arrived, bruised and ill-treated, that the price of the meat was often lower in the market in consequence. He could multiply other testimony; but he ventured to think that, after the facts which he on a recent occasion brought under their Lordships' notice, he had stated enough to show that the law was practically insufficient for securing the proper treatment of animals in transit, especially by sea. It was not his intention to enter into any detail with regard to the transport of animals by land, as he believed much had been done by Railway Companies to improve it; but should their Lordships grant the Committee it would doubtless form a subject of inquiry. He would now pass to the Rules and Regulations of the Privy Council. Those, he believed, which were of any importance bearing on this subject derived their authority from the Act of 1869. The noble Duke would correct him if he was wrong. Now, it could not be denied that if the Regulations which had been made had been acted upon, they would have tended much to alleviate the sufferings of those unfortunate animals which were sent from one part of the world to another for the purposes of human food. He might give as an instance two Orders of the Privy Council, dated July 31, 1870— Places used for animals on hoard vessels. 1. Every such place shall he divided into pens by substantial divisions. … 4. Every such place, if enclosed, shall be ventilated by means of separate inlet or outlet openings of such size and position as will secure a proper supply of air to the place in all states of weather. But the question was, whether these and such like Regulations were enforced? Were there proper pens in cattle vessels? Was there proper ventilation? Was there no overcrowding? And, he would ask, were the vessels duly licensed? Were there proper places for the cattle on landing? Was attention given to the mode of treatment of animals after they were landed? He regretted to say that the answers which he had received to these questions were chiefly in the negative; that, with few exceptions, there were no pens for cattle on board vessels; that ventilation was, in most cases, of the worst description; that there was no attention to the treatment of animals, either on board vessels or after they were landed; that the accommodation when they were landed was often bad and insufficient; that cattle vessels were not licensed; that, in many instances, they were not provided with food or water. Then, as regarded inspection, there was no doubt the Privy Council had considerable powers in this respect; but were they exercised with a view to the treatment of animals in transit by sea and land? He rather behoved that the duties of the Inspectors had been very much confined to inspection with reference to disease. On this subject Mr. Odams said— The Privy Council exercise no power at any of the landing-places for cattle with regard to cruelty, feeding, or watering; the only duty they perform is examination as to disease and quarantine. This statement was confirmed by Mr. Henry Martin, who was well known in connection with the Live Cattle Importation Company. He said— The Inspectors of the Privy Council do not examine into the accommodation provided in cattle ships, only looking into the condition of the animals themselves. It did not appear that there were any travelling Inspectors. These were some of the reasons which had induced him to believe that, however good the Regulations of the Privy Council might be, they were not put in force in a manner to secure the principal objects for which they were intended. Then, the question of difficulties which arose in dealing with local authorities with reference to proper accommodation at landing-places seemed to be an additional argument in favour of Parliamentary inquiry. In many, if not in all instances, wharves where cattle were landed were in the hands of private persons; strangers were not admitted, and he was informed that officers of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals obtained admission with difficulty. But there was another question which he could not pass over without notice, and which deeply concerned the interests of agriculture and the interests of the public generally—he meant the alarming extent to which diseased cattle were imported into this country—affecting the question of the use of diseased meat for human food, and as spreading disease throughout the country. The number of imported foreign cattle increased, and was likely to continue to do so, and he could not conceive a more important subject for their Lordships' consideration. Many of their Lordships were doubtless aware that there was a Cattle Market at Deptford, but it might not, perhaps, have come to their Lordships' notice that that Market was solely for the purpose of receiving diseased cattle, which, if not too much diseased, were slaughtered and sent away to be bought and sold for human food. This Market had recently been established—he believed within the last three years—for that purpose. Was this a system which ought to be continued? If we must import cattle, surely we ought to see that they were healthy cattle, instead of encouraging the import of diseased animals? He was struck with reading in The Times of Thursday a proclamation of the Government of New South Wales prohibiting the importation of stock from any other colony where disease exists. There was surely wisdom in that; and should we continue in this country, not only not to prohibit the importation of diseased stock, but actually to provide a market for its reception? He feared he might have wearied their Lordships, and he must now leave the matter in their Lordships' hands. It had met with no little sympathy outside the walls of that House, and he felt confident it would meet with no less within. It was hardly possible to estimate the amount of suffering and the amount of loss which might or might not result from the course which their Lordships might pursue in the case of the thousands of animals which were continually imported from Ireland and foreign countries, and he ventured to hope the noble Duke would not oppose an inquiry which could not result otherwise than in the public good, and at the same time tend to awaken the public conscience to a sense of the duty of a proper treatment of animals, which, it was to be feared, had been often too much neglected and forgotten. He begged to move the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into the subject. Moved that a Select Committee he appointed, To inquire into the state of the law with regard to the transport of cattle by sea and land: To inquire into the rules and regulations of the Privy Council, with special reference to the methods of transport now adopted: To receive evidence with reference to such alterations of the law as may he deemed advisable, and to report upon it.—(The Marl De La Warr.)


said, that before addressing himself to the Motion of his noble Friend behind him (Earl De La Warr) he wished to take this opportunity of making a few remarks with regard to a statement made by his noble Friend on a former occasion, when he brought forward a somewhat similar subject. He must express his regret that on that occasion he did not recognize the case spoken of by his noble Friend as one which had been brought forward by Mr. Hall—a case in respect of which he had ordered that a special inquiry should be made at Liverpool. The result of that inquiry had been that some alteration had been made in the system of inspection at that port. Their Lordships must not lose sight of the fact that in Liverpool the docks were of enormous length—he was informed that they were six miles in length—but he had made a proposition to the authorities at Liverpool which he believed would meet the necessities of the case. This was that healthy animals forming part of a cargo in which there were diseased animals should be driven to a slaughtering place in charge of an officer, so that they might be slaughtered almost immediately after they were landed. With regard to a statement of Mr. Odams quoted by his noble Friend, he hoped to show to their Lordships that the representations of that gentleman as to the deficiency of inspection and the treatment of animals were scarcely borne out by the facts of the case. His noble Friend had also quoted the statements of a gentleman named Rose, to the effect that sheep forming part of a diseased cargo had been allowed to go into the market. To that allegation he must give a direct contradiction. An inspection of the monthly Returns of cattle brought into this country would prove to any person that such a state of things could not have existed. He was very sorry to disagree from his noble Friend, and to say that no inquiry such as that which he moved for was at all required. He said so on the ground that all the information which their Lordships could require on the subject had already been acquired at a very recent date, and that the rules and orders in force now were sufficient for the purpose; and that, even assuming they were not, the Privy Council was already invested with ample powers to enable them to issue rules and orders which would be sufficient. As to the inquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons in 1866 to which his noble Friend had alluded, his noble Friend had not given the Reference to that Committee. That Committee was appointed— To inquire into the manner in which the home and foreign trade in animals by sea and railroad was conducted, and to report what regulations, if any, should he enforced with a view to the treatment of animals in transit, and other matters. With regard to the recommendations of that Committee, a great number of them had been carried out. In 1869 the Contagious Diseases Act was passed, and by Clause 76 of that enactment large powers were given to the Privy Council to make orders and regulations in respect to the points which his noble Friend had brought under the notice of the House. The Department had availed itself of the provisions of that section by ordering that food and water should be provided for the animals at the landing places. To ensure that they had food and water during the passage would make it necessary that an Inspector should be on board the ship in which cattle were conveyed; but, inasmuch as some of these vessels were foreign, it would be impossible for the Privy Council to enforce such an arrangement. Pens had been provided at the landing places. But after the Contagious Diseases Act passed in 1869, a Committee was appointed by his noble Friend the late President of the Council (the Marquess of Ripon) to inquire as to how the provisions of that Act were being carried out. His noble Friend was in error when he said that the Committee so appointed was composed of four gentlemen, all connected with the Privy Council Office. The Committee was presided over by his lamented friend Sir Arthur Helps, whom everybody who had the pleasure of his acquaintance knew was a most humane man, and one who was devoted to kindness towards animals, Mr. Goulburn, the Chairman of the Customs Board, Mr. Farrer, Secretary to the Board of Trade, and Dr. Alexander Williams, Physician to the Privy Council. A stronger Committee for the purpose could not have been named, and this was the Reference to that Committee— The Committee are to report to the Lord President of the Council on or before the 1st of November, how, in their opinion, the before-mentioned powers are to be exercised, both with regard to the humane treatment of animals, and the bringing of animal food to market in the most fit state for human consumption. A great number of witnesses were examined by that Committee—witnesses connected with the steamboat companies, witnesses connected with the railway companies, witnesses connected with consignors, witnesses connected with consignees, and independent witnesses, many of whom were well acquainted with the cattle trade. One of the first branches of the subject to which the Committee applied itself was that in respect of which his noble Friend said he had nothing to complain—namely, the transit of animals by land.


observed, that he had only gone the length of saying it was much improved.


said, he had understood his noble Friend to say that as regarded the transit of animals by land there was nothing to complain of. He thought, however, that it was desirable he should refer to some passages in the Report of the Committee of. 1870; because if he did not do so, after the charges that had been made, it might be supposed that the steamboat companies, the railway companies, and the Privy Council in the present Government and the last one, had all neglected their duty, and he did not think that would be found to have been the case. In the earlier portion of the Report the Committee stated— We are happy to be able to report that we have found the arrangements made under this head better than we expected, and far better than the public in general, who are influenced by articles that occasionally appear in the public prints, have been led to believe. Taking a general and comprehensive view of this branch of the subject, we can report that there is not much fault to find with the accommodation afforded on board the vessels engaged in the foreign trade. The evidence goes to show— 1. That, as a rule, the foreign-going vessels are tolerably well fitted and ventilated; are regularly cleansed after each voyage, but not often disinfected; 2. That water almost invariably, and food occasionally, is carried for the use of the animals; and— 3. That, except in occasional instances (where the mischief has generally cured itself by the consequent refusal to send cattle by the vessel in which the overcrowding has occurred), they are not, as a rule, overcrowded. Evidence has also been given— 4 That screw steamers are not so well suited as paddle steamers for the conveyance of animals, owing to the far greater tendency to roll at sea; 5. That the best class of vessels are those that ply to London, Liverpool, and Newcastle, from Germany, Holland, Schleswig-Holstein, Portugal, and Spain; 6. That some of the most inefficiently fitted vessels ply to Hull: 7. That the vessels in the coasting trade (from Ireland) are not generally so well fitted as in the foreign trade; and— 8. That the best vessels in this trade appear to be those that ply between Dublin and Holy-head. Some of the boats that ply from Dublin and other ports on the eastern coast of Ireland to Great Britain are also tolerably well fitted, while the worst appear to be those that run from Sligo to Liverpool and Glasgow. As to the treatment of the animals which his noble Friend said were so bruised and injured that their deaths from suffocation was a matter of almost every day's occurrence, he asked their attention to this statement in the Report of the Committee— We see by this Return that in the foreign trade the General Steam Navigation Company, trading between London and the foreign ports of Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Boulogne, Tonning, and Geestemunde, have lost, from all casualties, only 175 animals out of 57,318; that the boats of Messrs. Bibby and Co., trading between Liverpool, Spain, and Portugal, have lost only seven animals out of 5,479; and that the Leith, Hull, and Hamburg Company have lost 165 out of 99,069; while in the coasting trade from Ireland, the London and Northwestern boats, which run between Dublin and Holyhead, have lost but 28 animals out of the large number of 340,849, and the Dundalk Company, which trade with Liverpool, out of 53,733 animals have not lost a single one. We also annex in the Appendix a Return for the year just concluded (1869) of the losses incurred in the conveyance of animals into the port of London (including Thames Haven) from foreign ports. From this Return it appears that out of 590,668 animals brought by all the different companies, only 2,522, or 4 per cent. have been either landed dead or destroyed after landing, on account of injuries sustained during the voyage. If these figures were correct, or anything like it, what became of the allegation that the deaths by suffocation were so frequent as to be a matter of almost every day's occurrence? His noble Friend suggested that vessels carrying cattle should have to be licensed for that purpose. If his noble Friend reflected for a moment on that suggestion he would see it would be impossible to carry it out, seeing that we had to deal with so large a number of foreign vessels engaged in the cattle-carrying trade. He doubted whether, if any such regulation could be put in operation, the Government would not have complaints from a very large class in this country—namely, the consumers of animal food—complaining of the regulation on the ground that its effect was to restrict the importation of cattle. The Report went on to state:— In Great Britain we have found, as far as our inquiries have extended, that the accommodation for landing foreign animals is generally fair; in some places, and especially in London, very good. Of the landing-places approved for the foreign trade in London, the two most frequented (Brown's Wharf and Thames Haven) have been represented to us as organized and arranged in a very creditable manner. There is also good landing accommodation for foreign animals at Liverpool, Hull, Harwich, and Newcastle, This brought him to a remark of his noble Friend on the subject of the Deptford Market, which the noble Earl had described as a market set apart specially for diseased animals. That was not correct. The market at Deptford was one for animals coming from scheduled countries. It did not follow that all cattle coming from those countries were diseased, but, coming from scheduled countries, the animals must be landed at the Deptford Market and slaughtered there. As to what had been done at the railway stations, he would quote two short passages from the Report— That since the passing of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1869, and the issue of Mr. Help's letter to the companies, water and watering accommodation have been supplied, or are in the course of supply, at all the principal stations on all these lines where cattle are received. Again— That water is at present provided at the arrival stations of all the lines in London, and at some of the stations where animals are received. Food may be procured at most of the stations and at the arrival stations, if the owners of the animals require it and are prepared to pay for it. With reference to a suggestion of his noble Friend, to which he had already alluded, there was a passage in the Report so appropriate that, with their Lordships' permission, he would quote it— The first consideration, as to both sea and railway traffic, is the caution that must be exercised to avoid by any hasty or ill-considered conclusion the danger of diminishing the supply of animal food, or raising its price to the consumer, by restricting importation (whether from foreign ports or from Ireland), or impeding the rapid communication between the places where the animals are bred, the cattle-markets, and the great centres of consumption in this country. The next point that we are obliged to keep in view as to the sea traffic is the risk of driving many cattle vessels out of the trade by the imposition of arbitrary rules, or of transferring the carrying of animals from British to foreign bottoms. That was a very important matter to be considered. He now came to another portion of the Report—namely, that which referred to regulations for vessels engaged in the cattle trade. The Committee stated— Again, we have necessarily had to consider the fact that some of the vessels which now bring cattle to this country sail under a foreign flag. It may, indeed, be practicable, consistently with international law and practice, to place these vessels under the same conditions on arrival in British ports as British vessels, and even (though there might be difficulty in this) to require the same fittings. But without international arrangements it would be impossible to enforce, by penalties, regulations the breach of which is committed under a foreign flag on the high seas. Even, therefore, if the difficulty of enforcing very stringent regulations, to be carried into effect on the voyage, upon British vessels can be got over, such regulations could not be enforced on their foreign rivals, which, according to the evidence before us, require regulations still more than the majority of the British vessels. We are satisfied that, as a general rule, the condition of animals brought into our markets, both from abroad, from Ireland, and by inland transit, is good. We have received satisfactory evidence that with respect to Irish cattle, their condition has of late years very much improved. He now came to certain recommendations made by the Committee. They were— 1. All the space used for carrying animals shall be divided into pens by substantial divisions; each pen shall not exceed 9 feet in breadth or 15 feet in length. 2. The floors in each pen shall be provided with battens or other footholds, and ashes, sand, sawdust, or other suitable substance shall be so strewed on the floors of the pens, and on the decks and gangways, as to prevent the animals from slipping. 3. Every space on deck in which animals are carried shall, from the 1st of November to the 1st of May, be protected from weather. 4. If the animals are carried in an enclosed space, provision shall be made for its proper ventilation by separate inlet and outlet openings, of such size and position as will secure a sufficient supply of air in all states of weather. 5. Every vessel, or the parts of it, used for carrying animals, shall be cleansed and disinfected in such a manner as may be from time to time prescribed by the Privy Council. 6. Whenever any of these regulations are infringed the owner or master shall be deemed to be the person acting in contravention of these regulations, under Section 103 of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act, 1869. Most of these recommendations had been carried out by orders issued by the Department. The suggestion that ashes or sawdust should be strewn on the floors of the pens had not been carried out, because it had been found that there were practical objections to it. Subsequently, in 1873, another Committee was appointed—a Committee of the other House of Parliament. It was a very strong one, and was presided over by his right hon. Friend Mr. Forster. In its Report that Committee made this statement— The Orders of Council relating to the transit of animals, both as regards disinfection and the prevention of cruelty and suffering, appear to Toe well adapted for their purpose, but your Committee are of opinion that such orders cannot be satisfactorily carried out without inspection from time to time by the officers of the central authority of vessels engaged in the Irish and coasting, as well as in the foreign trades, and also of railways, lairs, markets, and fairs; and that a sufficient number of travelling inspectors should be appointed and employed by the central authority to give effect to such orders. The Report from which that was an extract was drawn up in 1873; and last year he (the Duke of Richmond), as President of the Council, made an addition of 10 to the number of Inspectors, and appointed one whose duty was that of travelling Inspector. He visited all the ports in the country at which cattle were landed, and all the railway stations, to see that the regulations made by the Privy Council were duly carried out. Reports were received almost daily from the Inspectors, and in no case was a non-compliance with the orders passed over. As very few complaints were made, he believed that the regulations had been found sufficient for the purpose in view. His noble Friend (Earl De La Warr) must remember that the primary duty of the Inspectors was to prevent the introduction of diseased cattle into this country; but if, in the course of their inspection, they observed any acts of cruelty, they invariably communicated with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which had its own Acts, and proceeded against the parties charged with the cruelty. He had referred to the Board of Trade, and asked them for information on the subject. His noble Friend opposite (Lord Carling-ford) would bear him out when he said that the transit of cattle, both by land and sea, must come very much under the notice of that Department, and the opinion of Mr. Calcraft, the head of the Railway branch, and of Mr. Gray, the head of the Marine branch, was that they had no reason for believing that there was any necessity for further inquiry, whether as to the transit of animals by land or their transit by sea—the Orders of the Privy Council appeared to be carried out: at all events, no complaints were brought before the Council which led them to think there was any occasion for further inquiry. He did not undervalue the great importance of the question, nor did he blame his noble Friend for bringing it forward. No one would be more desirous than he himself would be to put down all cruelty to animals; but, after the best examination and consideration he could give the subject, he felt there was no ground for another inquiry. There was a full and ample inquiry in 1866; an Act was passed in 1869; there was another inquiry in 1870; and again a Committee went very fully into the subject in 1873. Under these circumstances, he thought he might almost say it would be a waste of time and an unnecessary diversion of their Lordships' labour to have a Select Committee of their Lordships appointed to take evidence which was already accessible in the Reports of the Committees which had already so thoroughly investigated the subject. For these reasons he must decline to accede to the Motion of his noble Friend.


said, the noble Duke had satisfied him, and he thought had satisfied their Lordships, that whatever else might be wanting in this matter it was not inquiry. Without dwelling on the two investigations which had been conducted in recent years by Select Committees of the House of Commons, he could himself answer for it that the departmental inquiry described by the noble Duke had been of the most thorough-going and valuable kind—one in which the eminent persons who had charge of it took the greatest pains, and arrived at their resolutions and recommendations after receiving the evidence of witnesses who spoke from every point of view. Now, nothing could be more provoking, or trying to one's patience, than to feel, when serving upon a Committee, that one was travelling, without reason or necessity or benefit, over ground which had already been amply traversed by able men, and that the results of the labours of those men were already consigned to a premature burial. Instead of pressing for further inquiry, the object of the noble Earl and of those who took a humane interest in this matter would be much better served by calling the attention of the Government as occasion arose to the facts which came to their knowledge—to urge them to carry into effect the existing law, or, if the present regulations were insufficient, to strengthen them. In one respect, judging from the statement of the noble Duke, the existing system seemed to be imperfect. He should like to know whether the Government had no power to take proceedings against persons for cruelty to animals in transit? It appeared from the statement of the noble Duke that when an Inspector for cattle disease found reason to believe there had been cruelty he merely reported the matter to a private society which existed for the prevention of cruelty to animals. If the officers of the Government had not themselves the power of prosecuting, there was here a deficiency in the regulations.


explained that, though cases were reported to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there might be prosecutions carried on under the existing orders of the Privy Council.


said, that while glad that the noble Duke had resisted the appointment of a Committee, and though convinced that the powers now possessed by the Privy Council were ample, he desired to point out that inspection at the ports was not sufficient, inasmuch as the symptoms of disease brought about by unsatisfactory condition of sea transport might not be discoverable till the cattle had been for some time on land. His own experience was that symptoms of disease appeared in cattle after they had passed the most careful inspection, and while they were in transit over the country. The cattle bought in Ireland were in good health. They were driven to the port, put into a ship, had no food or water, were thence driven to the market at Bristol, showed no outward sign of disease, were sent on by rail, generally in a dirty truck, had no food or water for, perhaps, 24 hours, then were scattered to farmers. The latent fever was soon developed. Foot and mouth disease ensued as the consequence of the fever, and that disease spread all around. But 99 out of every 100 recovered if carefully fed. The only alternative was to slaughter the cattle on their being landed, but that would be a great mistake, as although the cattle lost condition for a time, they recovered their health and were as valuable as before the illness. The case of pleuro-pneumonia was different, but equally difficult to discover at the port of landing.


hoped the Motion would not be pressed to a division, but believed there was great benefit derived from ventilating such a subject. He suggested that there ought to be an inspection of cattle during their transport both by steamer and by rail, and for this purpose some of the Inspectors should have a roving commission.


, in deference to the feeling of the House, desired to withdraw his Motion. He explained that his argument had been, not that the regulations were inadequate, but that they were not sufficiently enforced.

Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.