HL Deb 07 August 1876 vol 231 cc666-9

(The Lord President.)


Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.


in moving that the Bill be now read the second time, said, the measure was one which affected very materially both Ireland and this country. In England the law was that animals were slaughtered compulsorily which were suffering from pleuro-pnenmonia, and the person who owned the animals was compensated by the local authorities who were stationed in various parts of the country. The local authorities in England who performed those duties were composed of magistrates of quarter sessions, but in Ireland there was no local authority formed in the various districts of the country, the local authority being the Lord Lieutenant and the Privy Council in Dublin. It was found that mischievous results arose from there being no local authority, because cases often occurred in which the compulsory slaughter of animals suffering from disease was not ordered. In fact, there was in Ireland no compulsory slaughter. Her Majesty's Government had thought that such a state of things as this ought not to be allowed to remain, and had therefore introduced the present Bill for the purpose of affording a remedy. The object of the Bill was to enable the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to confer on the Boards of Guardians throughout the country, some of the powers which he now exercised absolutely, to make arrangements for preventing the spread of disease amongst sheep, cattle, and horses—horses being now included for the first time under the term "animals." Boards of Guardians had no power to make any such regulations under the existing law. The powers proposed to be conferred included the appointment of Inspectors, and the appointment of Valuers; and the latter part of Clause 4 provided that in maritime ports, the appointment of Inspectors should be under different provisions from those under which Inspectors were appointed in the other parts of the country, and that such Inspectors should be under the power of the Lord Lieutenant. The Boards of Guardians were to compensate the persons whose animals were slaughtered under the Act, a portion of the compensation being paid out of the "Cattle Plague Fund." The 15th clause enabled the Lord Lieutenant to frame Orders and take the execution of the Act into his own hands. He did not know that there were any other matters to which he need call attention. He believed that the Bill would be a very useful measure, and if it passed into law it would afford a proper and sufficient staff of Inspectors in Ireland, so as to prevent the importation into this country of diseased animals. That would be beneficial to both countries, because agriculturists in this country knew very well that we were indebted to Ireland for a large portion of the stock imported into England. The noble Duke concluded by moving the second reading of the Bill.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord President.)


thoroughly agreed with the noble Duke opposite (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) that there was a necessity for introducing some measure dealing with the subject, and trusted that the effect of the Bill would be to get rid of the various complaints of which they had all heard so much with regard to the importation of disease into this country. But he confessed that it appeared to him that the mode in which the object was to be arrived at did not seem to be a wise or desirable one. In England a great deal of power for preventing the spread of cattle disease was given to the local authorities. In Ireland the system was a centralized one, and was worked by the Government through Inspectors. He attached great importance to the carrying out of the recommendations of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, of which Committee he had been a Member. That Committee was appointed to consider whether the law in Ireland as to the treatment of animals infected with disease should be assimilated to that in England. The general opinion of the Committee was that the Irish system, a centralized one, was better than the English system, which consisted in giving a great deal of power to the local authorities; that it worked more satisfactorily, and all it wanted to make it perfect was to place at the disposal of the Veterinary Department a larger number of Inspectors. This Bill introduced to a large extent the English system into Ireland. He was convinced, however, that the duty entrusted to Boards of Guardians would not be discharged by them nearly as efficiently as if it were left to the Veterinary Department, and he suggested that the existing system in Ireland should be preserved. He was afraid the mode proposed would give rise to a great deal of jobbery.


approved of the Bill, as he knew well the great importance both to England and to Ireland that Irish cattle should be kept in a satisfactory sanitary state. He had always urged that the same regulations should be enforced in both countries, and during the time he was in Ireland the orders respecting the Cattle Plague were made more stringent. Against that increased stringency there was a strong feeling; but he had always maintained that, if owners of cattle in Ireland would not submit to proper regulations for preventing the spread of disease, they need not be surprised if in England stringent measures were taken with regard to the importation of Irish cattle. He was, therefore, glad to see a measure which was founded upon the Report of the Committee of 1873. When in Ireland he thought the same Orders should be enforced there as in England; but the Law Officers declared that there was no power to levy a compensation rate for the purposes required, and Ireland was therefore left under a different law. He trusted the Bill would be the means of doing great good both in Ireland and in this country. We could not rely wholly on the Board of Inspection, but we must carry into effect stringent orders, as they were carried into effect in England for the extermination of this fatal disease among cattle. Unless power were given to the local authorities to act at once, considerable delay would arise before the cattle in an affected district could be destroyed, and during which the disease would spread. It was of no use waiting for their machinery to be ready before taking action for the repression of disease, and he therefore thought that in Committee some Amendment should be made in order to give a still more speedy operation to the measure. He could see no objection to the Lord Lieutenant having power to constitute those different parts of the country in which the local authorities should be made immediately aware of the outbreak of disease.

Motion agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House To-morrow.

Back to