HL Deb 07 March 1878 vol 238 cc827-30

Order of the Day for the House to he put into a Committee, read.


said, he wished to make a few remarks in consequence of what passed in the debate on the Bill on Tuesday evening. The noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) had complained that he had not answered all the points that had been raised by the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Ripon). He could assure their Lordships that any omission in that respect had not arisen from want of courtesy. The noble Earl had asked why they were not content to allow animals to come in from healthy countries instead of establishing compulsory slaughter from every country in Europe? As regarded cattle plague, all persons were very much agreed as to the necessity of getting rid of it in the manner proposed by the Bill. At the present moment cattle were altogether prohibited from Russia, Germany, and Belgium. All animals from Prance and the Netherlands were slaughtered at the port of landing. Cattle were slaughtered at the port of landing from Austria, Hungary, Greece, Italy, and Turkey; other animals from those countries were admitted after 12 hours' delay. The same regulations applied to animals from Portugal and Denmark. All those countries, cattle from which were admitted if healthy, had been subject to foot-and-mouth disease within the last few years. Foot-and-mouth disease came in from Spain in 1871, 1872, 1875, 1876, and 1877; from Portugal in 1871, 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1876; from Denmark in 1872, 1875, and 1877; from Sweden, in 1875, there were four cargoes of foot-and-mouth disease; leaving Norway as the only country from which we had no disease. The importation from Norway in 1876 was only 110 head of cattle; and it would, therefore, be useless to exclude Norway from the chapter of the countries dealt with by the Bill. In these circumstances, with a view to prevent the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease from these countries, the Government have thought it advisable, in the Bill now before their Lordships, to provide for the compulsory slaughter of all imported animals at the port of landing. It was obvious that if severe restrictions were to be placed on the farmers of this country, as to the way in which their stock was to be dealt with for the stamping out of foot-and-mouth disease, it was but justice to them that all possible means should be taken for preventing the introduction of foot-and-mouth disease from foreign countries into this country. Therefore it was that they had proposed to deal with foreign countries in the manner proposed in the Bill.


said, he was sure the House was very much obliged to his noble Friend the Lord President; but as they were only to go into Committee pro formâ that evening, would it not be more convenient if his noble Friend postponed till the stage of actual Committee the observations with which he wished to supplement his speech of Tuesday night?


said, in the course of the debate the other evening it was impressed upon the Government that they should consider the course which they intended to take with regard to the Bill, and especially that part of it affecting Ireland. Having had an opportunity of doing so, he thought it was but respectful to his noble Friend opposite (Earl Granville) who made the suggestion, that he should avail himself of the first opportunity of informing their Lordships what course they proposed to pursue. His object in rising was not to supplement any of the remarks he made on the last occasion; but rather to fill up some laches of his in not answering a few of the points raised by his noble Friend opposite (the Marquess of Ripon). His noble Friend found fault with the Government for setting aside the Report of the Committee of 1873, and acting merely on that of the Committee of 1877. If his noble Friend would refresh his memory by comparing the Report of the Committee of 1873 with the provisions of this Bill on the subject of the cattle plague, he would see that they had done nearly everything recommended by that Committee; for they had limited the ports at which cattle might be landed to those places where proper arrangements were made; they Lad reduced the ports for unscheduled animals from 32 to 19, and for scheduled animals from 16 to 8; they had provided for the slaughter of animals affected with pleuro-pueumonia, and made it compulsory to slaughter animals that had come in contact with diseased cattle. All those restrictions were recommended by the Select Committee of 1873. Therefore, it was incorrect to say that they had not followed the recommendations of the Committee. Then it was suggested that this measure was one that ought to be referred to a Select Committee, and he understood the grounds which the noble Earl stated were that there had been no Irish witnesses before the Committee, though there were five Irish Members serving on it, and that, therefore, the Irish case was not so fully made out as it ought to have been. He understood the noble Earl to say that he suggested the appointment of a Committee, not with a view of delaying the progress of the measure; and that he thought the appointment of a Committee need not retard the progress of the Bill for any time; but that it could be passed rapidly through that House, and be sent down to the other House of Parliament to receive consideration. The noble Earl thought it would be better to refer the Bill to a Select Committee with no view of obstruction. In that case he (the Duke of Richmond and Gordon) did. not know that he should offer any opposition; but it must be distinctly understood that it was with a view of going into the Irish part of the question, assuming that English matters were dealt with by the Committee last year, and that the Committee would not go into the whole question, but would confine themselves to evidence from Ireland. He must remind noble Lords who had spoken the other night that, besides Ireland, they had to consider England, Scotland, and Wales, and that, besides cattle, sheep and pigs were liable to foot-and-mouth disease. There were 36,357,825 cattle, sheep, and swine in the United Kingdom, and only 9,453,204 in Ireland. Lord Monck, President of the Irish Cattle Plague Association, had stated at a meeting of that body, that after examination of this Bill he was favourable to it, and it was agreed, with a few alterations, to accept it. If he was right in his understanding of the views of the noble Lords opposite, Her Majesty's Government would not oppose the appointment of a Select Committee.


thanked his noble Friend the Lord President for his concession; but he reserved any further observations till the Motion for going into Committee to discuss the clauses.

House in Committee accordingly.

Bill reported without Amendment.

Amendments made; and Bill re-committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Tuesday next; and to be printed as amended. (No. 37.)